23. Chapter 23
Nicky had soon gotten bored with swimming around in circles with George, and had long since fallen asleep in my truck, worn out with the excitement of the day. Maglor had not been intending to join the rest of us in the water, but he soon he was persuaded (pushed) in by Nicky. Once wet, he stayed that way, and of course, proved to be an excellent swimmer. At least I don’t feel clumsy compared to him in this liquid environment; here in the water everyone manages to be graceful.
‘I don’t envy you and your assistants, Aaron, having to stay on all night’, I said as I climbed out of the pool. George was swimming well, and yet again thanks to Maglor and what has to a magical ability of his, seems to be settled and content enough to relax and let the vets tend his wounds. He had even been playing with Maglor at the finish, the two of them having a great time.
Aaron laughed as he handed me a towel, ‘at least we get paid overtime!’
‘True’, I replied laughing at him.
Aaron looked over at where Maglor was standing. He had already found dry clothes, and was leaning on the fence looking into a smaller pool there, where a young killer whale swam. As I watched, I noticed it was hard to tell who was more fascinated most by the other, Maglor or the killer.
‘What is he, your friend?’ he asked
Startled, I stared at Aaron, ‘What DO you mean?’ I asked.
‘My mother is a natural witch, and I grew up around magic. I don’t have her abilities, or knowledge of the Craft, but I do know the use of magic when I see it. At first I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, but when I paid attention on the truck, I worked it out’, he said, startling me yet again. This was turning out to be one of the most interesting days of my life, and I am wondering what will happen next. Anything, I think sourly, up to and including kidnap by Aliens the way things are going.
‘He’s quite harmless’, I said.
‘Yes’, said Aaron, nodding. ‘I meant that it is as if magic were a part of him, not something he learned’.
‘That’s probably a good way to put it.’ I reply, thinking that Aaron has hit the nail on the head; magic is a part of Maglor, as surely as some are born to be great athletes, or inventors.
Aaron gives me a long measuring stare, something I find slightly disturbing, ‘So, he is just a friend of yours?’
Oh ho, I think I know Aaron’s problem now, and feel pleased Maglor can’t hear this conversation. Or can he? Surely even his hearing is not good enough? ‘Yes, just a friend,’ I reply, deciding there is no point lying just because I’m not interested in Aaron. Not that there’s anything wrong with him, in fact he seems nice enough.
Aaron steps closer to me, his hand on my shoulder, ‘I would like to see more of you, Bronwyn. Maybe we should have dinner, or take in a movie one night soon?’
‘Aaron, please don’t feel upset, but I can’t. It’s not that I don’t like you, but even though it’s six years since I lost my husband, I still don’t feel up to dating’, I replied, hoping not to hurt his feelings.
To my surprise, he smiled, his hand squeezing my shoulder a little in a reassuring fashion, ‘It’s Ok. I understand, when my father died, it was nearly 13 years before my mother could look at another man. But if you should change your mind…’
‘I know where to find you’, I said. ‘It’s been a busy evening, Aaron, and I think I’d best get out of this wet suit and think about getting home,’ I said, starting to walk away. ‘Oh, by the way, I hear you’ve been asked to go to Egypt for two weeks to look at all the mummified animals found in the Valley of the Kings?’
‘Yes, that’s right. Do you think it’d be worth going?’ he asked.
I nod ‘yes, from what I’ve seen of you tonight, you’d find it fascinating.’
‘I’ll take that under advisement, Bronwyn.’ As I move off, he spoke again, ‘Nice to have met you, and remember to call me if you should change your mind.’
‘Nice to have met you, too’, I answered him, deliberately not commenting on ‘changing my mind’.
Quickly, I change, and find Maglor. ‘Come on,’ I said to him, ‘let’s get home, and discuss plans for tomorrow’.
He nods, and we head to my truck, where I notice he has already put our stuff in the vehicle.
‘What’d you think of the killer whale? I notice you spent a lot of time looking at it’.
‘It knows about the Silmaril too. Apparently all the whales do’, he said, carefully getting in the truck, as Nicky was sprawled on the seat and we were trying not to wake her.
‘Really! That’s surprising’, I say.
Maglor turns his deep sea grey eyes to me, ‘what surprised me is the conversation between you and Aaron. Why are you not interested in him? You are too young to spend your life alone’, his face is troubled, and I wonder what he is thinking.
‘No, but I told you I can feel some of your thoughts and emotions through our soul bond, and the rest’, he shrugged ‘was not hard to understand’, he said, still staring.
‘I’ve never been a woman who needs to have a guy around all the time. Part of my refusal to Aaron is that I am enjoying my independence, and that rest is that I just don’t feel ready to go there with someone new’, I replied, figuring there’s no point in lying to someone who can read my mind.
‘Is that all, Bronwyn? Are you sure there is no other reason?’ he asked, taking my hands in his’.
He shrugs, and in one of his sudden mood changes, indicates that we should go home. He is silent most of the drive, and when we arrive home, he carries Nicky into the house, as she doesn’t want to wake up. We put her in my bed, and then I make coffee.
Sitting in the kitchen next to Maglor, I ask, ‘You did say the Silmaril is near five mile reef?’
He nods, obviously still in silent mode.
‘Then mid afternoon will be good, as we need to get the tides right out there, or we could get into real trouble. That reef has a lot of wrecks around it, and we don’t want to be one of them’, I say, wondering if I will get a reply.
He is staring off into space; his right hand wrapped his coffee cup, something I have noticed he does when his hand bothers him, for the heat seems to ease it. ‘Hand sore again?’ I ask, holding out my right hand to him.
‘Yes’, he said, hesitating for a second before allowing me to take his hand in mine to ease it for him. He gives me a brief smile as I take his hand, ‘you are a sweet woman, Bronwyn. I do appreciate all you do for me’.
‘Sweet. Now, I’ve been called many things, but never sweet!’ I said, embarrassed, as I watched the tension go from his face as the pain vanished from his hand. ‘Anything else I need to know about tomorrow’s expedition?’
‘The whales both said the Silmaril is in a deep cave that has it’s entrance just off the south- east point of the reef. They said we will find it easily enough by the glow, and they also suggested we be careful of something they called the ‘guardian’.
‘Mmm, interesting. Wonder what they mean?’ I said, mildly curious. ‘You do know we’ll be using scuba diving equipment?’ I hesitated before continuing as the look Maglor is giving me is just a bit unsettling.
‘I have learned to scuba dive. Before you ask why, I worked as a diver 30 years ago.’
‘Well, that’s nice to know. So you can handle the boat, too?’
He nods again, and I get the feeling he doesn’t really want to talk any more tonight.
I finish my coffee, and gave his hand a squeeze, ‘I think I’ll go to bed, if Nicky hasn’t claimed the whole thing for herself. What about you?’
He seems to collect his thoughts with a visible effort, ‘I might read for a while.’
‘You won’t wander off by yourself, or do anything silly?’
‘No, I will stay here. I know that it is pointless trying to see the Silmaril without your help, for I will not be able to get near it without the things you are going to borrow’.
‘Good, now I don’t have to worry,’ I said
‘You thought I would sneak off by myself?’ he asked.
‘A possibility, I know this darned Silmaril has a strong hold on you’.
‘I promise to stay here, and wait until tomorrow afternoon to see the Silmaril’, he said very seriously.
‘Now I can sleep!’ I say, suddenly feeling very tired. ‘Because from what you have told me of yourself, you take a promise very seriously’.
He smiled again, and stood when I did. I put our cups in the sink, and turned to leave, only to find Maglor blocking my path. ‘Excuse me’, I said. He slid the fingers of his left hand under my chin, and tipped my face up to his, and kissed me lingeringly. At my wide-eyed look of shock, he smiled again, ‘just a good night kiss, sweet lady’.
Four hours later……….
I moved out to sleep on the sofa a while ago. Nicky was very restless, and I got sick of her kicking me in her sleep. Maglor was still reading, of all strange things a book on the Turin Shroud. Then I thought about it and decided that is exactly the sort of mystery that would intrigue him.
He comes out to see why I’m wandering around, ‘Are you all right, Bronwyn?’
‘Fine, just going to sleep on the sofa’, I said.
‘Nicky’s very restless, and I’m sick of her kicking me, so I’ll sleep here’.
He gave me a long measuring look, ‘will you be all right, there on the sofa?’
‘Sure will.’ I lay down under the blankets I had grabbed; noticing Maglor is looking worried, ‘See you in the morning’.
He went back to his book, and I lay awake for a long time, thinking. Thinking about the kiss he gave earlier that night. A kiss good night indeed! What I can’t understand is why. At last I fall asleep, only to wake sweating and terrified from a nightmare. As I fought free of the blankets I fell off the sofa with a thud.
Barely had I hit the floorboards when Maglor appeared. ‘What is wrong?’ he asked, kneeling on the floor beside me.
‘Fell off the sofa’, I muttered.
‘You fell off the sofa’, he repeated.
‘Yes, and I hurt my butt’.
By now, having discovered that I was OK, he was having a tough time keeping a straight face. ‘Yeah, go on. Laugh. No doubt elves don’t fall out of bed.’
‘We do not, well I did once as a child, but that was my older brother’s fault’, he gave in to the urge to laugh, trying to stifle his giggles when I elbowed his ribs, reminding him that Nicky was asleep in the other bedroom.
‘What happened,’ he asked when he stopped laughing
‘I had a nightmare, and I woke up scared, and when I tried to get up, I was all tangled in the blanket and I fell down’, I said shivering suddenly with the memory of the fear in my dream.
He lay his hand on my arm, ‘Bronwyn, you are freezing!’ he exclaimed, wrapping the tangled blankets around me. Can’t say that I was sorry, for as usual I was wearing little in matter of night attire, actually just a singlet and knickers.
‘Your nightmare has really upset you,’ he said, ‘what is it that so frightened you?’ Next thing I know he has cuddled me close, and was looking deeply into my eyes, using his telepathic abilities to see what I was remembering.
As always, the dream was the same. Black swirling nothingness that gave way to the sensation of being in a storm tossed sea. Voices I couldn’t really make out, speaking in unknown languages. Vague, frightening shapes and colours, patterns of light like I had never seen or heard of. Something in the water, trying to hurt me, in fear of my life I struggled, trying to reach the surface of the water, and another person I can’t see is helping me. The feeling of a third presence, large, terrifying, and then a sequence I had only experienced once or twice in the twenty five or so years I have been having this dream, the black nothingness is back, this time a very large figure is almost visible, and I hear my Great Grandmother’s voice saying a single word several times, “Sidhe”.
Maglor broke the mind contact, he too has been affected by the fear in my mind, and we sit still for a long moment, I feeling shaky and almost tearful.
‘Indeed a nasty dream’, he murmured softly. ‘You have had this dream for years?’
‘Yes, since I was ten or so. The last part with my Great Grandmother’s voice calling out that one word I have only had once or twice before.’
‘Do you know what the word means?’ he asked, clearly as puzzled as I.
‘No, do you?’ I ask in return.
He shook his head, ‘It is your Great Grandmother’s voice speaking?’
‘Yes, Nana O’Brien. She’s 108 years old. She was born in Yorkshire, but now lives in Scotland with her oldest grandson, my Uncle Bill. I’ll have to ask her what it means’, I answer him.
‘When you go to Scotland next month?’ he queries
‘Yeah. I would ring her, but I feel that this is something I need to ask her face to face.’ Then I realised, ‘aren’t you coming too? Because I thought we had decided you’ll be coming with me?’
‘I did not think you would want me with you when you see your family’, he said softly.
‘Why ever not? Anyway, since I’ve realised it is Nana’s voice in the nightmare, I also feel that you need to be with me when I talk to Nana. I wonder what she’ll think of you?’ I said musingly.
‘Do you know what I think?’ said Maglor, ‘I think that all of this frightened you more than you willing to admit now, and any more discussion can wait until tomorrow. Now, would like a cup of coffee, or maybe tea?’
‘Hot chocolate, please?’ I said, still shivering.
He looked back at me, then came back to crouch down next to me again. ‘Enough of this, you are shivering, your hands are freezing, and you need to be somewhere warmer than here.’ Before I could protest, he scooped me up, and carried me to his room, where he tucked me into the bed, throwing the blankets that had been wrapped around me on top of the bed, as extra covers.
As I opened my mouth to protest, he said, ‘Nicky does not need to be disturbed, and I am not letting you sleep by yourself again tonight. So you will have to have to put up with sharing this bed with me tonight, as I do not think you should be alone’, he said, giving me a quelling glance.
I decided to do the only possible thing, and conceded as gracefully as possible given the circumstances. Actually, I was rather pleased not to be alone again tonight, but I wasn’t going to tell Maglor that!
In a surprising short time, he was back with two steaming cups. ‘I thought I might as well join you,’ he said placing both cups on the bedside table. ‘You are still cold,’ he said, feeling my face and hands, as he climbed back into bed beside me, and gave me one of the cups.
I thanked him as I took the cup, thinking how silly it is that a simple thing like a hot chocolate can be so comforting. He tucks the blankets around me, frowning when I loosen then a bit to free my arms.
‘You need to keep warm’, he said, apparently worried that I might freeze to death or something.
‘Well, I can’t drink my chocolate if I can’t move my arms’, I point out.
He laughed and helped me untangle myself so I could move. ‘Are you feeling better now,’ he asked quietly as I put my cup down.
I nod ‘yes, thanks, much better’.
‘You are warmer, too’, he said, his hand on my face. ‘Sleepy?’ he asked.
‘Yes, actually, I am’, I replied, yawning a bit. ‘Mind if I go to sleep?’
‘Not at all, in fact you should, for you look very tired’.
‘Ok, good night again, Maglor’, I said.
I snuggled down in the bed, and after a moment, so did he, switching off the bed light. He was facing me, and carefully he moved a little closer, and I felt his hand stroking my hair gently. ‘You will have no more bad dreams, tonight Bronwyn’, he said, as he kissed my forehead. I remember no more of that night, except that I slept very deeply.
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.