28. Chapter 28
This is a confused chapter, but that’s because Maglor is confused, and very depressed, so it has to come through in this chapter. Bronwyn put down her reading glasses and gave me her other hand. I sat carefully on the edge of her bed hoping for a hug. Bronwyn did hug me, careful now herself not to touch my sore right side, and she even gave me a quick kiss, her lips soft and sweet in their brief contact with mine.
‘You look much better, you have colour back in your face tonight’ I said approvingly, as my hand brushed her cheek, ‘but now I need to know why all the hugs and kisses from you, Bronwyn,’ I said to cover the fact that I had not wanted her to stop kissing me.
‘Mmm, you told me elves are affectionate people.’ She laughed and punched my arm lightly, ‘Pay back, Maglor, though somehow I think you don’t mind!’
‘Not at all, it has been a long time since anyone has touched me.’
She sighed, her breath warm on my face, ‘You really have wandered about all by yourself for all those thousands of years?’
‘Yes,’ I said, reluctantly pulling myself from her embrace and picking up the bag Anita had given me to hand on to Bronwyn. ‘Anita gave me this bag, she said it contains all the things you asked her for.’
‘Great!’ she said, smiling at me as she took the bag and opened it, pulling out a blue cardigan which she tossed over her shoulders before settling back against the pillows. ‘Where is Anita anyway?’ she asked, as she took my right hand in hers, her fingertips drawing little circles on the scarred part of my hand.
‘She and Nicky went to see a movie on dinosaurs. They will be here after that.’
‘Nicky and her dinosaurs! That girl’s hopeless,’ she smiled. ‘She and two school friends actually helped on a dig site last year. You should have seen their faces when the little Allosaurus was put on display in the museum. You’d have thought the kids did it all by the themselves!’
‘Where is this Allosaurus?’
‘The University Museum just round the corner from here. Why? Do you want to see it?’ she asked
I nodded, ‘I might. I have not seen such a creature and I would like to see for myself how big it is!’
‘Pretty big, and if you go with Nicky she’ll tell you all about it,’ said Bronwyn, her green eyes laughing. ‘Why don’t we all go to the museum when my leg’s better, it’d be nice to look around the old place again, haven’t been for a while and we could have lunch on the beach too.’
‘That would be nice,’ I agreed. ‘For that means you would out of hospital and home.’
‘You don’t like me being in here, do you?’ she asked
‘I do not, I wish you were at home where I could take care of you. That is the least I can do for you, as you were injured in helping me.’
She laid her head on my shoulder, her voice holding an almost caressing quality when she spoke, ‘you don’t have to do anything for me, Maglor. I know you’re sorry about my leg, but I’m responsible too. I didn’t have to go with you.’
I kissed her cheek, ‘No, you did not, and I am very grateful you did accompany me, I do appreciate your friendship.’
‘I know you do,’ she said, somewhat to my surprise snuggling up to me, ‘it’s queer though, how much I’ve missed you. Would that be the soul bond, or is it just because I miss hearing you sing first thing of a morning? Or both?’ she was laughing now, teasing me a little.
‘Neither, you miss me answering your phone calls,’ I said.
‘You brat! Don’t you know you shouldn’t pick on injured people!’ she said, a bit put out that I was teasing her back.
‘Now, my sweet lady, that applies to me too, for am I not all bruised and battered?’ I said, watching to see how she would react.
‘True, I’d forgot that for a second, so I guess we’ll just have to call it quits then.’
I slid off the bed, and back into the chair for I wanted to hold my mortal friend close and never let her go. But I no longer trusted myself in such close physical contact with Bronwyn; we were in a public place. There was a statement my cousin Finrod once made, that Mortals comfort and Elves bewitch. I have no idea how I could bewitch anyone, but I certainly found Bronwyn comforting. Even now she was more concerned for me, for my bruised back and my right hand, then her own injuries and I found her gentle touch very soothing.
‘There have been two phone calls for you, one from the Marine Institute, asking how you are, and another from the State University about a dinner. I have all the details written down at home for you. Little Cherie cat and the horses are all fine, Nicky and I have been feeding them for you,’ I said, as I found I could not resist any longer and leaned back into her.
‘What’s wrong, Maglor? Are you ill or something?’ she asked, concerned.
‘No, elves do not suffer from illness as you know it. I have missed you, Bronwyn, I have been lonely for your company.’
A surprised expression was on her face as she looked at me, and as on the beach several nights ago, she asked if I was in need of comfort. ‘Yes’, I said, ‘I am.’ I was now sitting on the bed beside her again, and I did not resist as her arms slid about me, hugging me tightly. I sighed, my head resting on her shoulder, suddenly feeling whole again. That was it, I had been feeling as though part of me was missing, and now I felt the missing part was back again, and it was Bronwyn, or rather the touch of her fea on mine. Most unusual, I thought, that sort of extreme closeness normally only existed between a man and a woman who were wed.
Bronwyn’s voice jolted me back to reality. ‘Hey, Maglor, you’ve gotten me worried here, are you sure you’re Ok.’
‘Yes, I am fine.’ Carefully I again pulled free of her embrace, and again slid into the chair. Her little hands were clasped in mine, and she looked worried.
‘You have no need to worry about me, Bronwyn, I should not be bothering you with my troubles,’ I said trying to soothe her concerns.
‘If there’s something bothering you, you can talk to me about it, I’ll help you if I can,’ she said, worry clear on her face.
‘No, now is not the right time or place; and yes I know I can talk to you. Bronwyn, you are very kind and understanding lady,’ I said kissing her hands.
‘You mightn’t be ill but something is wrong and I can’t force you to tell me, so I have a question to ask you,’ she said.
‘Yes, what is it?’ I asked, happy to have something to talk about.
‘I’ve read most of your journal up to where you took the Oath, and I noticed you have translated the words of a song, from,’ she hesitated, ‘what is your native language called, anyway?’
‘Quenya, the language of the Elves of Aman. There are other elvish tongues, but that is the first I spoke,’ I said, wondering what her question was.
‘Ok, you translated this song from Quenya into English.’ She showed me the page, and the song she meant, ‘Did you write this song, Maglor?’
‘I did, before the shadow of Morgoth fell on Valinor,’ now she had me really puzzled.
‘What’s the tune?’
Even more puzzled I sang part of the song very softly. We were in a hospital, and I did not want to disturb others. To my astonishment, she appeared to recognise it, a song I had not sung in maybe 25 years!
‘Have you ever been to Australia? Bondi Beach?’ she asked when I finished singing.
‘Yes, over the years I have been to most places, but the last time I sang that song was on Bondi Beach, nearly 25 years ago. Why?’ I asked her, curious.
‘A hot summer’s day’, she said, ‘I was just 10 years old.’ I felt a chill wash over me at her words, and knew what she was going to say next.
‘That was you, wasn’t it? By the sea wall that day, the guy I gave the bottle of coke Mum had just bought me,’ she said this as a fact of memory, not a question.
‘Yes, it was me,’ I smiled at the memory. ‘I remember a red haired girl in a yellow dress worrying that I was sitting in the sun singing for money, and that I had not had much luck that day and so I needed a bottle of coke more than she. I thought then that you were a kind and sweet little lady, and you have not changed.’
‘I think I have changed, or that perfect elven memory should have recognised me,’ said Bronwyn.
‘I was born in Aman, Bronwyn, and I have the ability to see into you, your soul has not changed. You have known great sorrow in your life and yet you have the same sweetness about you that I remembered a long time after that day on Bondi Beach. When you handed me your drink that day, you touched my hand and my soul. This is where our soul bond has come from, a hot day when a little girl felt sorry for a thirsty singer.’
Bronwyn’s voice was a little shaky when she spoke, ‘I had dreams about you for years, and I went back every day for the next two weeks looking for you. Mum thought I just wanted to walk on the beach, but it was you I was looking for, I didn’t know why.’
‘I do, it is the soul bond, for your caring and concern touched me deeply too. I have often thought of you over the years, and wondered where you were. I am happy to have found you again,’ I said smiling at her. Now that we had remembered each other, I remembered too the cheeky smile she now gave me.
‘Now it all makes sense,’ she said, her voice back under control again. ‘Will you sing that song for me one day, please?’
‘It will be my pleasure to do so when you are home, perhaps to celebrate,’ I said, pleased that she would want me to sing for her. Such little things were the least I could do for her. ‘When will you be allowed home?’ I knew what Anita had said, but I wanted to hear what Bronwyn had to say
‘Possibly tomorrow, and only because Anita will be keeping an eye on me, and the fact I’ve healed extraordinarily quickly; no one seems to have an answer for that. Can’t say as I’m sorry because I really loathe hospitals,’ she said.
‘Uh, I might be responsible for you healing so fast, you see first on the boat, and later in the car I used my, well you would call it magic, to give you extra strength, and I had to give you that from myself. So, probably I gave you some of an elf’s ability to heal quickly too,’ I said, a little embarrassed, for what I done was an intimate thing, done only between family or lovers, and I knew that it had deepened the bond between us considerably, though Bronwyn did not as yet.
‘Oh,’ she said, softly, ‘I thank you for that Maglor, because, I think now that I was worse than I thought. Honestly, I was close to dying wasn’t I?’
‘Yes, you were, I was very frightened you would die. I would never have forgiven myself,’ I said in a shaky voice, the fear I been repressing breaking through a little, and I felt a tear slide down my cheek.
‘Hey, it’s Ok, I’m right here, I’m going to be just fine.’ Her voice was very soft as her hand brushed away my tears, ‘Now no more getting upset,’ she folded her arms and glared at me. ‘That’s an order! I smiled then at her words, and she looked more approving.
‘That’s better. Now, this design here, what is it?’ she asked, showing me another page in my journal.
‘It is my father’s emblem, and used by myself and my brothers too,’ I answered her, looking at the page she indicated.
‘And this,’ she asked, turning the page.
‘A smaller version of the same thing, used on such things as weapons, harness and clothing. Which reminds me, I was looking at some of the books and papers on your desk, as you had asked me to. I saw a drawing of a dagger, an old one that you found on a site in Europe. Do you know what became of it?’ I asked.
‘I have it at home, in my safe. I’ve been studying it and some other stuff found on the same site which doesn’t match in with other artefacts, it’s really weird, these half-dozen or so things that just don’t fit in. Don’t tell me I’m right, you know all about this stuff?’
‘Yes, the dagger at least. If you tell me what else was found with it, I might know about it too,’ I said curious to see what else was found.
‘A belt buckle, a broken sword, a spiral armband, what we think is a cloak clasp and two arrowheads of a design no one could recognise. And yes, it’s all in my safe at home.’ She was staring at me, green eyes filled with curiosity. ‘I guess I’m right in thinking there’s a fair chance all this stuff once belonged to you, aren’t I?’ she asked.
‘Without seeing it is hard to tell, but I do think so,’ I said wistfully. Knowing my things still existed lead to me wanting to possess them again.
‘Let me guess, you’d like to have those things if they were really once yours?’
‘Is that possible?’ I asked.
‘I’ll see what I can do for you. The stuff’s not really that valuable from an archaeological viewpoint, the museum who owns them owes me a favour so I might be able to get it all for you,’ she said smiling.
Curiously, I felt better knowing these things might again be mine for I had regretted throwing away the dagger almost as soon as I had. The rest might not be mine, but I felt they could well have been, and all I knew was any lingering doubts I had still harboured that meeting Bronwyn again was not fate had been erased. Happier now I asked, ‘Is there anything else you wish to ask me tonight, my lady?’
Her green eyes were wide and innocent as she asked me, ‘Who is Nandawen?’
A shock of almost physical pain jolted my mind. I must have looked shocked because Bronwyn was now apologising for upsetting me. ‘No, I will tell you. You deserve to know what happened,’ I said, as I drew a deep breath and prepared to speak of something I had told only my older brother, Maedhros, and he only got part of the tale, what I couldn’t avoid telling him. The rest, the shattering of my heart I had kept to myself.
Before I could gather my scattered thoughts and speak, Bronwyn spoke first, ‘I gather I’m right, she wasn’t just a close friend?’
‘We were to have been wed’, my voice was a whisper.
‘You don’t have to tell me, Maglor, if it hurts you too much. I shouldn’t have mentioned it,’ she said, cross with herself for upsetting me.
I shook my head, ‘you are the one person I can talk to. For you too know what it is like to lose someone you love.’
‘Is Nadawen dead then?’ Bronwyn’s manner was careful, she did not want to cause me more pain.
‘No’, I shook my head again. ‘But from my perspective she might as well have been, for there was no question of our marriage going ahead after the Kinslaying. Despite the fact she had refused to go to Middle-Earth with me, and had broken our betrothal I stubbornly clung to hope until then,’ Bronwyn spoke not, but her eyes held a thousand questions. ‘I can hear your mind asking why?’ I said. Still Bronwyn stayed silent, but her manner encouraged me to speak if I wished.
Then it was as though I were reliving that dreadful day. Only my grip on Bronwyn’s hands seemed to keep me at all aware of where I really was. The story spilled from my lips without song or verse, crudely, words seeming an unsuitable medium for such a tale. The Kinslaying itself I had spoken of to Bronwyn, but not the details. Of how the Teleri fought back, armed only with light bows, fishing knives, whatever they had to hand. They could not of course defeat mail-clad warriors armed with swords and shields. In their desperation they did well, and the slaughter might have been greater had not many of the Teleri men been at sea that day, and most of the host following father would not draw steel on women, certainly I would not. Then the worst moment flashed through my mind, for I had killed Nandawen’s father. Then Nandawen herself had wrenched my sword from my hand as I stood in shock over her father’s body and had all but killed me with my own sword, but sorely wounded though I was she could not deal me a death blow. I remembered no more of the slaying of the peaceful mariners except the waters of the beautiful harbour were run red with blood, blood from Noldor and Teleri alike. My brothers carried me aboard a ship and healed me, I carry the scar still.
Bronwyn had not moved or spoken except to tighten her grip on my hands. Finally she spoke, ‘I don’t know what to say, except that you didn’t recognise who it was you killed until it was too late?’
I nodded, ‘I did not. And before you ask, no I did not blame Nandawen for what she did, I killed in defence of my father and brothers, and so her actions were entirely understandable. I just wish she had killed me, for I suffered far more staying alive.’
‘You mean separation from her?’ Bronwyn asked.
‘Yes, I do. And the on going effects of the Oath, and the Doom of Mandos.’ At her questioning glance I said ‘ a curse. The Noldor were cursed, and forbidden to return to Aman, my family especially.’ Deciding to be completely honest with Bronwyn, I continued, ‘That was my first bout of madness, I cared not what became of me, I was constantly drunk.’
‘I know what that like,’ said Bronwyn. ‘Been there, done that myself. And you know what, it doesn’t take the pain away does it?’ She seemed to come to decision about something, ‘neither does trying to kill yourself.’
Shocked, I stared at her. She shrugged, ‘now you know why I don’t like hospitals much. I swallowed most of a bottle of sleeping pills, Anita found me in time, and I spent nearly a year in a hospital for people with mental disorders,’ she explained.
‘Oh Bronwyn, how you must have been hurting!’ I exclaimed, ‘ I do not know what else to say,’ I finished quietly.
‘You don’t need to say a thing, I know you understand how I felt,’ she said.
Bronwyn buried her face in my shoulder, and we sat in silence for what seemed a long time. Then I heard voices, Anita and Nicky; of course Bronwyn could not hear them yet so I said nothing until they were close enough for her to hear.
‘Here are the rest of your visitors,’ I said, and Bronwyn sat up. I knew she had been crying, but made no comment as she dried her eyes and smiled as her friends entered the room.
‘Look, look Bron, look Maglor,’ Nicky was almost squealing with excitement as she held something out to us. It was piece of paper, cinema advertising for the film she and her mother had just seen; a picture of several people standing beside a dinosaur skeleton, one of them was Nicky!
‘How,’ Bronwyn began, only to be interrupted by Nicky. ‘We didn’t know, I mean we knew there were cameras and stuff about, but we didn’t know they were filming part of the IMAX movie. Me and Fay and Lee were in the movie for nearly five minutes, working on the dig and being asked how it was we were there. I never thought we’d be in a movie, we thought the museum just wanted a filmed record of the dig,’ she said in a slightly awestruck voice.
Bronwyn smiled and winked at Anita, and I realised the women had known Nicky and her friends were in the film, and had not told her as a surprise. No wonder Anita had taken her daughter to see the film, and no wonder Bronwyn was not surprised they had gone to see it.
‘I guess this means we might be going to see our little movie star on the big screen tomorrow if I’m allowed out in time?’ asked Bronwyn
‘Will you be well enough?’ asked Nicky
‘I think so, I’ve only got to sit in a chair,’ said Bronwyn smiling at Nicky.
‘Mum?’ asked Nicky
‘We’ll see, the doctor has to let Bron go home tomorrow yet, and I don’t want her to get too tired,’ answered Anita.
Nicky’s face fell a little at her mother’s words, but Bronwyn spoke again, ‘All I’ve been doing in here is resting, I’m sure I can manage to sit through a movie. Besides, it’ll do me good.’
Anita caught my gaze for a second, ‘We’ll see,’ she said again. But I had the impression she intended to go if Bronwyn was well enough, and had just asked me to tell her truthfully how Bronwyn was when the time came. I was a little of Bronwyn’s opinion, that she would benefit from some entertainment, if she wasn’t too tired.
We all chatted and laughed for some time, I noticing that Bronwyn seemed to be improving all the time. The rest of visiting hours went by in a rush, and soon enough we had to leave, Anita promising to ring the hospital at ten o’clock the next morning to see if Bronwyn was to be allowed home tomorrow or not.
Again, a taxi was our method of transport, and as we drove Anita ventured the opinion that Bronwyn would be allowed home the next day.
‘And I’m sorry Maglor, for being so defensive as first tonight, at home. I really didn’t mean it,’ she said.
‘I know. If had not been aware of your past, and why you are like that I might have been offended, but I was not. I am just pleased that you are my friend too,’ I said smiling.
She smiled back and Nicky piped up, ‘Good, about time you two decided to get along!’ which made Anita and I both laugh.
Back at home; Anita insisted that I have a coffee with her, as a yawning Nicky decided she was going straight to bed. She kissed her mother good night, and to my surprise, me too, and when Anita checked on her was fast asleep in minutes.
I finished my coffee and excused myself as Anita was now trying to suppress her own yawns. I kept failing to consider that mortals need more rest than elves. For myself, I was not in the least tired, and intended to keep my earlier resolution to sing most of the night outdoors, but first I asked Anita if I would disturb she and Nicky.
‘Not likely, my ex and some of his buddies used to play loud music all night so we’re fairly hard to keep awake when we want to sleep. I must say, I won’t mind being sung to sleep by you if your singing is half as good as Bronwyn says!’ she laughed.
I bade her good night and left, something Bronwyn had said about Anita and Nicky in my mind, that since Anita’s experience at the hands of the Black Robe both ladies were subject to nightmares. That I would take care of, for like all elvish minstrels I could bring the images in my songs to life, and could easily cause mortals to ‘dream’ my songs. Only happy songs tonight I thought, as I found a nice spot to sit, and waited for the moon to rise. As it did, I remembered the beauty of the Two Trees in Valinor, and the many songs I composed of them. A fitting subject, I thought as I raised my voice in song.
Yeah, I know, we all thought we were going to see an example of elven culinary expertise this chapter but it was getting too long. Maglor got awful chatty you see. So we must wait till next chapter, but I will tell you the elf has the menu all picked out, and his lady friends are in for a treat!
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.