4. Growing Attraction
So the days past and a routine developed. When Lilium worked at the Warrior's Den, Hesgar was there to walk her home. During the day he worked hard at either the mill or the homestead, quickly working through the repairs. Two weeks passed and Hesgar left for patrol; he made arrangements before leaving, however, for Fréarid or one of the other married Riders to see Lilium home. He also promised to return to the mill upon his return. The Rider held true to his word and fourteen days later, was back to the repairs. If the Miller was surprised (and he was) he did not let on; however, Hesgar was slowly earing the stubborn man's respect.
Soon the Miller began to invite the young man to stay for supper and often Hesgar accepted. While Lilium's father was still skeptical, he could not fault the Rider's perseverance or work ethic. It was becoming clear to the Miller that Hesgar's interest in his daughter was not lust; he was going to far too much trouble for a tumble with a virgin. The Rider even managed to convince a few comrades to help with the larger repair to the water wheel. That gave the Miller pause; for it said much about Hesgar and how he was viewed by those he worked with. Well, perhaps it was time to learn a little more about this Rider of the West-mark.
For his part, Hesgar did whatever task he was set to without complaint or comment. He looked forward to the quiet walks home from the Warrior's Den and the conversation he shared with Lilium. They became close friends and confidants. He quickly discovered that he could share just about anything with her. She listened and offered support. The Miller's daughter was as beautiful inside as she was on the outside. In no time, he was hopelessly smitten. He wanted nothing to do with any other woman and Hesgar knew he was the butt of many a joke, for most knew the Miller's opinion of the éored; they all thought the young Rider was fighting a losing battle.
Lilium, in turn, trusted him with her concerns and worries and even a few dreams. She found the young man witty and charming, always a perfect gentleman. While she did not judge all riders as her father did, she did see how they behaved with the women and she wanted no part of those kinds of men. No, she liked Hesgar and the circle of friends he moved in. Actually, she found herself thinking about Hesgar often. Lilium often caught herself staring out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of the handsome young man. Hesgar had made quite an impression on her and she found herself drawn to him. The Miller's daughter knew she was young and inexperienced and, well, not even old enough to really have any experience; but she could dream. And dream she did! Hesgar had awoken in her something she thought would never awaken—desire! She had not reached her majority yet, it was not too early for her to begin thinking about a possible match. Lilium found she like the idea of a relationship with Hesgar, if only the rider could win over her father.
Lilium watched him now, from the kitchen window, as he chopped and stacked wood. The days had gotten warm and the young man had shed his shirt. She licked her lips as she watched the play of muscles in his back, so strong, so lean. When he turned and she glimpsed his firm chest, and rippled abdomen, her heart skipped a beat. She needed to be near him, talk to him, do something to keep him coming back. Taking a moment to smooth her hair and straighten her skirt, she grabbed a pitcher of cool tea and a mug and headed to the yard. Slowly she approached Hesgar.
"I thought you might like a refreshment; the day grows quite warm," she said softly, her cheeks stained pink.
The Rider stopped his work and looked at the enchanting young woman. She was so lovely in her innocence yet she was no flighty maiden. He smiled at her warmly and her blush deepened. "I would love a drink," he said, laying the ax down carefully. Lilium poured a cup full and handed it to Hesgar. The man accepted the cup and drank the contents in one shot. The mug was quickly refilled.
"I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for us," Lilium said shyly. "My Da may not say it but I know he is grateful. He really is a good man."
Hesgar leaned back against the wood pile. "I am happy to help and I know your father is a good man. I never doubted that. It is obvious in the way he treats you, loves you."
Lilium blushed and kicked at the dirt. She suddenly felt very young and very shy. Hesgar reached out and tucked a lock of burnished gold behind her ear. The look in her cornflower blue eyes when she glanced up at him took his breath away. She was worth any trial her father might set before him. He would do whatever he had to, wait as long as necessary, to win both Lilium's favor and the blessing of her father.
From his place in the mill, Lilium's Da looked across the homestead and watched the two younglings interact. He watched his daughter's body language. She liked the Rider—a lot-- yet kept her actions chaste. For the Rider's part, he was attracted to the young woman, the care and tenderness with which he tucked the lock of hair behind her ear made the Miller smile. It was an intimate action, but the Miller noted that Hesgar did not draw it out, his hand did not linger on her; he did not step closer or draw her in. It was innocent yet, even at this distance; the Miller could feel the charge in the air. His little flower was falling in love…with a Rider.
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.