15. Chapter 15
‘You should take more care of yourself, you might fall ill’, I say to her.
‘I won’t get sick that easily, but thanks for caring’, she says, taking my hand and pulling me down to sit next to her. ‘I think the billy’s still hot,’ she says cautiously feeling, ‘yep, it is, let’s have a cup of tea’ she says, putting the tea, and oddly some leaves into the billy
She pours two cups of tea, and hands me one, her eyes lighting up with humour over her cup rim as she saw me taste my tea. ‘A bit different, isn’t it.’
I nod, and take another mouthful; ‘It is not unpleasant, after the first taste.’
She is still smiling at me, and says, ‘I told you my mum is Australian, and I did warn you about the billy tea’.
She had too, when I questioned her on putting leaves in the tea. She had said it was a special recipe from her mother’s homeland, and the trees planted down the side of the house were eucalyptus or ‘gum’ trees from Australia, and it is traditional to put the leaves in the tea when one is camping.
‘Here, try this, Maglor.’
I take what she is holding out; she has been cooking toast in the fire, and now she offers me some. She has a wicked look on her face, and I take a good look at what she given me, for I have learnt Bronwyn is not above an occasional prank, but then nor am I when in the right mood.
‘It’s only vegemite, it won’t kill you. If you’re going to drink billy tea, you have to try this. Don’t worry, I didn’t put much on, and if you don’t like it, don’t finish it,’ she says, laughing at my worried look. ‘Just because Anita doesn’t much care for it doesn’t mean you won’t.’
Carefully, I take a bite, not because I really want to, but so as not offend Bronwyn. It is not as bad as I had thought, and Bronwyn laughs when I tell her so, especially as I refuse when she offers more.
‘Maglor’, she speaks my name quietly, ‘Thanks for singing for me, you have a very beautiful voice’. She laughs, and I give her a questioning look, ‘I suppose you’re going to tell me that you’re not considered an especially good singer now!’
‘No, for that would be a lie. I am considered to be a good singer’.
‘How good?’ she asks me, curiosity evident on her face.
‘One of the best’, I reply to her.
Suddenly, she leaps to her feet, and runs down to the water’s edge, the blanket trailing behind her. ‘Look, look,’ she says, ‘the whales are here!’
As excited as she, I join her, watching as two whales show themselves by swimming near the surface, slapping their tails and flukes on the water, the sharp sound echoing.
‘That one was here last year’, she says pointing at what appeared to be the larger animal. ‘I don’t think I’ve seen the other one before though’.
For a long time we watch the whales, and as the stars and moon shine overhead I reflect on what a beautiful night it is. The urge to sing comes over me again, and I find myself singing to the whales, as they play just a little way off shore. Bronwyn is standing next to me, and feeling a compulsion to have contact with another living creature, I reach out and take her hand in mine again. She does not object, but curls her fingers around mine. Suddenly, I feel that she is lending me emotional strength, for a mortal’s heart is more resilient than that of an elf, and I feel gratitude for her compassion for me in the torment of my soul. Torment I am never free of, but with Bronwyn’s help it is now bearable.
The night is now nearly over, the whales are gone, and suddenly both Bronwyn and I are aware of time again. We must have stood there for hours, watching the whales, myself singing all the while. My companion sighs deeply, and I take my gaze from the sea, and look at her, noticing a tear trickling down her cheek. ‘Bronwyn, why do you weep?’ I ask her surprised. Of all her reactions, this I had not expected.
‘Who are you really, Maglor? And why is your soul in such pain?’ she asks.
So, she has felt my torment. I suppose it had to happen, but I have been sure she was unaware of how she had been helping me. ‘Perhaps this would be better discussed by the fire’, I say to her.
She agrees, and once again we seat ourselves by the fire, which is now not much more than glowing coals. Bronwyn throws a little more wood on the fire, and tucks the blanket more tightly about her.
‘Well, are you going to say something?’ she asks after a little while
‘Yes, but I was just wondering where to start. This story is not short, and in many parts not pleasant.’
‘Not pleasant for who? Myself as the listener, or you as the teller?
‘Both’, I say.
‘You’re afraid’, she says surprised. ‘Of me?’
I shake my head as I answer her, ‘Not exactly of you, but of what you will think of me, for I have done many evil deeds in my life, deeds I wish with all my heart I could undo.’ Her clear emerald gaze is on me, but I read nothing from her, for a mortal she can hide her feelings well when she chooses. Reaching out to her, for I have found her touch comforting this night, I say softly, ‘I am afraid you will hate me’, and I find an incredible sorrow welling up in me at the thought of the one person in many years who has shown me kindness will very likely detest me by dawn.
Bronwyn takes my hand, ‘Maglor, you’re trembling!’ She moves closer, until her shoulder nearly touches mine. ‘Hey, you don’t have to be afraid of telling me anything; it’s not my place to judge you. That is God’s place; only he can judge your actions, present or past.’
She is holding my right hand in both hers, and gazing intently at me. As when we first met, I have trouble holding her gaze. I realise that I have been holding my breath, and let it out in a long shuddering sigh.
‘You really are afraid! Does this story have anything to do with that scroll?’ she asks suddenly.
She has been holding my right hand folded in hers, and asks another question, ‘This mark in your hand’, her thumb tracing the scar from the Silmaril, ‘it still hurts you, doesn’t it?
‘Not under your touch’, I reply, for that is true, for the first time in thousands of years, my hand is free of pain. Bronwyn’s touch is still feather light in my hand, and I wonder who she is. Once again I ponder if she is the one in the prophecy.
‘What is this from?’ she asks.
‘A Silmaril. It burnt my hand when I tried to hold it, and I feel the pain still’. She gives me a look that holds an unspoken question, and I answer her, ‘It is a jewel, one of three my father made’.
‘This has what to do with the scroll?’ she asks.
‘Much. I do not know where to begin. And I fear you will hate me when I am done.’
‘Maglor, just tell me. You have shown only a kind and gentle nature since I met you, I don’t believe I could hate you’.
She is sincere, I believe, but my courage is failing me. Since we came to the beach this night, I have been meaning to tell her my life’s story, but I feel depressed and too weak to do so.
‘Bronwyn, I would tell you all, for if we are to succeed in solving the riddle of the scroll, you will need to know. I would ask something of you, that you would give me of your strength as you did earlier’.
She smiles, understanding. ‘Does the elf need a hug?’
Slightly embarrassed, I nod. She moves closer, sliding her arms about me. Once again, I feel her strength, and hold her close to me, gathering my courage to speak to her.
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.