A Time For Change: 8. Disaster for The March Warden

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8. Disaster for The March Warden

The talan remained shrouded in darkness even as the day advanced into late afternoon. Orophin hesitated as he stood near the door and then frowning he went from room to room looking for his brother. There was no sign of Haldir but his weapons were hanging on the wall and the bed was rumpled. There were dirty dishes sitting on the small table and an opened bottle of wine stood nearby. Puzzled he turned to leave when a sound on the roof caused him to pause and then grin. He swiftly crossed to the balcony and reaching up grasped the outer edge of the roof, then with a flip rolled himself up on to it. Perched further up the tree trunk on a limb was his brother. He sat eyes closed leaning against the trunk his head resting on a smaller forked branch.

“Go away, little brother, I am not fit company for anyone right now.”

Orophin grinned at first until he saw the strained expression and sunken eyes of his older brother. “Haldir, what is this all about? Why have you not joined Rumil and me for the morning meal? Why is your talan in such a mess?”

For a long time Haldir said nothing then with a huge shudder he opened his eyes and looked at his brother. Normally a clear blue frost, they now were deep pools of shadowed muted greyed blue filled with pain and misery.

“I am no longer March Warden of the Golden Woods. The lady says I am incapable of performing my duties and that I provide a substantial danger to our people.”

Orophin stared visibly shocked at his brother’s pronouncement.
“She has not stated this just now. Only that you have been placed on special assignment for a short time and will return when it is completed.”

“That is merely a cover. I have been banished to a talan over near the joining of the two rivers. I must remain there until she sends for me.”

This stunned Orophin even more. “You are going to their private royal retreat? No one has ever been allowed there, no one! This is a great honor.”

“Some honor, to be sent there in disgrace with a healer in tow.” Haldir slammed his fist into the tree trunk and grimaced with the pain.

“A healer?”

Haldir nodded.

Orophin moved up the roof and settled down beside his brother. He was silent for some time as he gathered his thoughts before addressing Haldir carefully.

“I believe, my brother, she is showing great care to allow you to preserve your dignity while giving you the opportunity to recover. We know she was concerned about your well-being before sending you to Imladris and since that did not resolve the matter, she is doing as she threatened to do.”

“The fact that you are not going to be sent to the healing talan here, shows her sensitivity to your pride and your need to preserve your strong image as March Warden. Because you remain high in their favor she is making their own private retreat available to ensure your privacy. Additionally, she is sending a healer with you, even though we have do not have enough to fully cover the patrols out on the fences. To me that shows she values you enough to take such a risk.”

Haldir shrugged.

“That does not sound to me like an order of banishment, rather a reward for a valued subject. All you need to do is go and follow the instructions of the healer and relax. The quicker you resolve what ever it is that has you so tied up in knots the sooner you can return to duty.”

“If all that is true why has she assigned the healer she has”

“What healer?”

“She has assigned Nurael.”

“Nurael?” Orophin looked puzzled. “There is no Nurael among the healers. The only Nurael I know of went with her family to Imladris all those years ago when we were children. Unless…” He paused. “She has trained and returned?” He looked quizzically at his brother.

Haldir nodded gloomily. “She has returned to torture me again.”

Orophin grinned ignoring his brother’s comment. “Why didn’t you tell me she was back? When did she get here? Did she travel back with you? Now that she is all grown up what does she look like? Has she changed much or is she still the same fun to be with elleth she use to be? Rumil will be delighted and I know he will want to introduce Ori to her as well. All the tales of our misadventures have amused her for years and she is quite curious about Nurael.”

Haldir looked at his brother. “Yes, she travelled back with us. She looks much the same but I will admit she is more mature now. She proved a capable healer after an attack of yrch and I suppose she will work out when she is assigned to the fences.“

“Hmmm, guess I will go seek her out. Do you know where she has been assigned a talan?”

Haldir looked nonplus at his brother’s string of questions and slightly miffed at the loss of his sympathy. “No, I delivered her to the healing talan and left.”

“Haldir, would it have hurt you to be a little more welcoming then that? She has returned after three hundred years and a healer is always welcome.” He slid down the roof and rotated back to the balcony. “I guess I will have to check with Master Maenestad to find her.”

Just before he completely disappeared from Haldir’s sight, he grinned back at him. “If she grew up to look anything like her mother’s youngest cousin, she will have all the warriors seeking to have her services as a healer, wounded or not. I just may go courting myself.”

Haldir stared after him a horrified look on his face and groaned.

Nurael was just leaving the healing talan after completing her days’ shift. She was finding the work exhilarating and much more challenging than what she had done at Imladris. She was glad she had returned. She turned down a small pathway that was a shortcut to her talan and paused when she heard a male voice call after her.

“Mistress Nurael?”

Turning she waited until the ellon caught up to her and when he grinned down at her she grinned back in delight.

“Phin, is it really you?”

“The one and only.” Grabbing her up in his arms he whirled her around laughing until they collapsed on the grass their sides aching.

“Why didn’t you let Rumi and I know you were coming?” he demanded between gasps.

“I wasn’t sure how welcome I would be, especially now that Haldir is the March Warden. I was less then his most favorite elleth when we were all parted.”

Orophin sat up and looked down at the slender figure beside him. “That was a very long time ago. All of us are all grown up now.” He swept an appreciative look down her figure. “You have turned out quite nicely.”

Nurael grinned and studied her old playmate. “You also have grown up quite nicely.” She sat up and reached across to squeeze his hand. “I would not at all be surprised to find out that you are just as popular with the ellyth as Haldir is.”

“I manage to find favor with one or two occasionally.” He grinned cheekily at her.

“It must run in the blood.” She responded dryly, than chuckled when he waggled his eyebrows at her.

“What about you, Nurael, anyone special back in Imladris?”

“No, I am afraid I was too busy with my training to allow anything serious to happen.”

“It is said that the twin sons of Lord Elrond are most handsome and very popular with the ellyth. Did they not catch your attention?” Orophin asked interestedly.

“Yes they are, but they have no intention of allowing any to capture their hearts permanently. They love the ellyth then leave a string of broken hearts behind. They are worse than Haldir was before I left. No, I have no time for such childishness.”

“You have changed. You used to love teasing him and interrupting his love life. You could be quite evil.”

She shook her head. “I have grown up.”

She looked at him seriously, “We have all grown up and put away those childish things. Someday if the Valar permit, we will meet the one who completes us but until then I do not intend to become involved with casual affairs. Ellyn never seem to realize how much hurt they leave behind them when they move on to their next conquest. I do not find those kinds of fun and games enjoyable.”

Orophin blinked at her comments. “You have become very serious.”

Laughing, she shook her head again, “I will be happy for friendships, but no love affairs. Speaking of love, tell me who is the brave elleth who snagged Rumi’s heart. When can I meet her?”

“Come to dinner at our talon this evening. Rumi and she will be there.”

She hesitated. “Haldir might not be pleased to see me.”

“As you said we have all grown up. Orophin and I no longer share a talan with him. He has moved into one set aside for the March Warden.”

“Then I will be most happy to come. Are you still in your old one?”

“Yes, but I will come for you just before the seventh hour.”

“I will be waiting.”

Elleth-female elf
Yrch-orc (p)
Ellon-male elf
Ellyth-female elves (p)

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.

Story Information

Author: Gilnaur

Status: General

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Romance

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 09/08/07

Original Post: 03/13/07

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