19. The Renegade
Chapter 19 – The Renegade
The next morning, Legolas awoke to an empty space beside him when he rolled over to greet his love. He sat up and glanced around the room, but Rhavaniel was not there. He thought she must have gotten up early. Maybe she was at the bathing house. He laid back down and let his mind wander to the activities of the night before. Oh how he would miss lying next to her, feeling her body contour to his and experiencing her untamed desire.
He stuck his arm out to the side, stretching his muscles and noticed a parchment on her pillow. He smiled thinking it was a love note, picked it up and began reading…
My dear sweet love,
I will miss you dreadfully while you are away and will pray every night to every star in the heavens that you return safe and unharmed. You know I love you.
I have made a decision that you may not agree with. I do not want to hurt you but this is something I feel I must do before I can let my heart and soul belong to you completely. I will not be going back to Mirkwood. I cannot take another day not being able to fulfill my dream. If we were to bind now, a part of me would resent it. I cannot be with you with this uncertainty hanging over my head. I hope you will understand and find it within your heart to forgive my brash decision. Please try not to worry, though I know you will. If Mirkwood will not have me then I will find a place that will appreciate my talents.
You told me your decision to join the fellowship was not only for Frodo and the others, but for us. This is exactly my same reason. I want us to be completely free of any doubts. And so I must prove my worth. I will be a warrior Legolas. I will see this through and honor my mother in doing so. I know she is with me, looking down and encouraging me like she once did. Besides, she did not give me this name without a good reason. A part of me will always be wild, but you know this.
Take care my love. If we should ever be together again someday, it will be with contentment that we both followed our dreams. I love you Legolas. You will always be on my mind.
Legolas finished reading the letter and let it slip from his fingers. He no longer wore a smile. The crease between his brows was prominent. Anger was the first emotion to develop. Why would she leave and not consult him first? And where would she go? Did she not know of the dangers in the world? She should be back in Mirkwood where she would be safe.
Then he thought about her words about marriage. Why wasn't it enough to know that he loved her, worshiped the very ground she walked on? Why did she need to prove anything to anyone?
"Stubborn elleth." he yelled. "Since the day she was born has she been a pain in my side. She takes me for a fool."
He paced the floor then looked at the note lying on the floor. He picked it up and plopped down on the bed, reading it through a second time. "Oh Rhavaniel, what have you done? Where have you gone meleth?" he said quietly.
* * *
Rhavaniel rode on late into the night. She wanted to be as far away from Rivendell as possible. She knew Legolas would consider going after her. Still, he would not abandon the newly formed fellowship. He had sworn an oath and she knew he would not break it.
She decided to go to Lothlorien. She would meet with them and convince them to let her reside there. This was where she felt she could make the greatest impact, though she was not sure how the Lorien elves would accept her.
On she went until she came to the outer borders of Lothlorien. Suiauthon had warned her about how to approach when unannounced. She was to keep her smaller weapons hidden, keep her sword sheathed and her bow on her back. The Galadhrim would find her and question her purpose for trespassing. She needed to appear as non-threatening as possible.
She leapt down from her horse and approached the tree line cautiously. As soon as she entered the forest, she had the feeling she was being watched. Rhavaniel walked on deeper into the forest where the trees grew close. No sound could be heard but for the rustling of leaves every now and again as a light wind blew. Where were the fearless Galadhrim that Suiauthon spoke of?
An hour passed and still she walked alone, or seemingly so. She still had the eerie feeling of many pairs of eyes following her every move. She was becoming slightly irritated, as she was tired from her long journey. Why did they not confront her already? Rhavaniel stopped and sat down on a fallen log to rest a moment.
'Finally', she thought to herself as she sensed movement behind her. She stood up and turned around only to find an arrow point aimed at her forehead. At the other end was a very tall, broad shouldered elf with a face that seemed to be made of stone. He eyed Rhavaniel with a deadly stare.
"What business do you have here." he said. Rhavaniel instantly noticed he spoke another elven language, Quenya. Luckily, she was well educated in the different languages of Middle Earth being she was a negotiator.
"I come from the Woodland realm of Mirkwood." she answered.
The Galadhrim looked at her questioningly. "You speak the same tongue though your accent is odd. We did not think the Wood elves spoke anything but their own native tongue."
"I am learned in many languages. My job is to communicate with those who would do business with my king. I can safely say we have not had dealings with Lothlorien yet."
"We do not look to trade. We are very self sufficient and do well on our own." He eyed her through slanted eyes. "You have still not answered my question. What is the purpose of your trespassing so far beyond our borders?"
"I thought you would have met me already. An hour I must have walked through your woods and no one stopped me. Tell me, if I was an enemy would I have gotten as far? I thought these woods were well protected." she said bravely.
Suddenly she was answered by another voice, deeper and with much authority. "You trespass upon our lands yet you question our ability to protect our home."
She turned to see who spoke. He was very tall, even taller than the first elf. His hair was long and silver, tied back on the sides. Obviously, this was their Captain. "I do not question your abilities, only the amount of time it took to do so." she said holding her own.
"Answer the question before we decided to turn you out and set you back on your way home." said the leader.
"I am not returning home, rather I search for exile somewhere new." she stated plainly.
"And what makes you think Lothlorien would suffice?"
"Because I was trained by one of your own. Do you know of the elf named Suiauthon? He lived here and trained with your warriors before leaving to live in Mirkwood."
The first elf was now joined by a new elf and they both looked at the leader with question. Rhavaniel could not help but see a resemblance between these three and wondered if all Lorien elves were similar. They stood silent for a moment watching the Captain ponder. Finally, he turned to leave but not before regarding Rhavaniel. "You will come with us. The decision to release you or make you a captive is no longer in our hands. You must now answer to the Lady of the Light. She will know what to do with you."
Rhavaniel watched the tall leader walk on. Then she felt a nudge in her back and looked over her shoulder to see the other two nod for her to follow. They no longer held their weapons upon her which was a relief. Deep down she was excited to know she was being lead to the city of Caras Galadhon. She had only heard of it in stories or from the accounts of Suiauthon, but she knew to see it with her own eyes was something much different. It was said that words did not do its beauty justice.
As they walked along, Rhavaniel became a little braver. She caught up to the leader, who seemed to like to stay out front from the rest. "So, will you not tell me who it is that I am being held captive by?" she asked.
"I am Haldir, Marchwarden of Lothlorien. These are my brothers, Rumil and Orophin."
"I knew it. I knew you were brothers. You look so much alike." she said quite pleased with herself.
"I do not think I look anything like my brothers, no offence." said Rumil from somewhere in back.
"And thank goodness for that." Haldir retaliated.
Orophin caught up to Rhavaniel. "You say you have left your home. May I ask why you no longer find yourself at peace with Mirkwood?"
"My guess is that it is the King that has driven her away. They say he is quite cruel and cantankerous." Rumil whispered to Haldir.
Rhavaniel laughed. "I would say he is passionate for his realm. Mirkwood is not in a position to be as welcoming as other elven homes. For too long has evil dwelt at our back door. We are cautious."
"Why does he not vanquish this evil then. Why does he sit by and let this threat grow?" Haldir asked with no hint of remorse for their situation.
This upset Rhavaniel. She stopped as did the others and looked Haldir directly in his silver-grey eyes. "King Thranduil does not sit by. Every day our warriors fight this filth at our borders. Many have laid down their lives trying to protect those who dwell in peace within its protection. This is our sacrifice to make for those that we love. Never speak to me again of my king in such a manner, Haldir of Lorien."
She noticed Rumil and Orophin reach for their bows but Haldir waved them off. "It is alright brothers. It seems I have struck a nerve with our company. Tell me. You say 'we'. Are you among these warriors you speak of?"
Rhavaniel stepped back and turned her head to the side, looking off into the woods. "I trained for many years and planned to join the guard when tragedy struck. It changed my life and the lives of many others. Alas, I was given the job of court negotiator instead. But this was never in my blood. I am a soldier through and through, yet they do not see me as such."
Haldir watched her body language and listened to the tone of her voice. It was obvious that there was more to her story. This elleth intrigued him and he hoped to one day know her story. There was a fiery spirit about her. "What is your name if you don't mind my asking?"
"My name is Rhavaniel." she answered looking to the ground.
"It suits you well." Haldir answered and then turned to continue walking. "It will be half a day's journey to the city Rhavaniel. I hope you will be pleased with our company. We do like to make an effort to have our captives feel comfortable in our presence, especially those who we do not foresee to be a threat." He stopped and eyed her with slanted eyes. "I hope I am correct with my assumptions."
"I only seek residence among your beautiful home, since I no longer feel needed in my own." she said submissively.
And so they went on long into the night. Every step brought them closer to the city and Rhavaniel was anxious to arrive.