In the Winter Garden. Chapter Seven.

Aug 17, 2010 19:27

Author; curiouswombat
Rating; 13
Fandoms ; Buffy/Lord of the Rings
Word count for this chapter 2,950
Chapter 7/9
Disclaimer as chapter one.

Chapter Seven

They made love and then lay, as they often did, with Tindómë’s head pillowed on his chest. As his wife slept, Rumil again sang quietly; a song to both Lord Namo and his sister asking for their guidance. Then he lay, his breathing in time with Tindómë’s, and let his mind drift down the dream paths he knew she already trod.

When he awoke he almost expected to know what they should do - but his memories of their dreams were pleasant, very pleasant, but not enlightening. Tindómë awoke quickly after him, and he knew that she, too, had not been given the guidance she had hoped for.

“It may take some time, meleth,” he said, “or we may not get help in the way we expect it… Legolas arrived unasked because he felt it right, and he has already helped us - who knows; someone else, who knows even more, might simply arrive over the next couple of days.”

Tindómë sighed. “If no-one, or nothing, does, we are so going to have to tell Éowyn - she’s not stupid. But she won’t be happy to have an undead elfling in her garden - you just know she won’t.”

“We could hope Faramir returns home soon,” Rumil suggested, “he would be more interested than worried, I think, and he is something of a lore-master himself…”

“I guess.”

She didn’t sound all that convinced that Faramir would be a lot of help but, before their conversation could go any further, Haldirin appeared at the doorway from his small bedroom.

He was looking at his hands with a puzzled expression on his face.

“Has your hand healed, Nana?” he asked.

Rumil could feel Tindómë stiffen slightly. He knew her mind had gone back to the time that Radagast had cut Haldirin’s finger, to use The Key to reach her in the other place, and then used her own blood to close the portal.

She held her hand out to Haldirin and asked him, “Why do you ask, gwinig-nín?”

“Because you cut your hand when you cut mine, before we took my friend to the boat,” was the, rather confusing, answer.

Suddenly Rumil’s words of only a few minutes before echoed in his mind. ‘We may not get help in the way we expect it…’

“Haldirin, little one,” he said, gently pulling their son to sit with them on the bed, “I think Nana did not walk the same dream path as you did - and so she cannot remember. Come and tell us what you remember.”

He could feel Tindómë’s emotions. She was trying to exude calm interest so that Haldirin would not be upset or confused - but it was not easy for her!

“We were walking, me and Nana, in the big tall trees in Lady Éowyn’s garden,” the elfling began.

Tindómë had settled him into his bed the night before - it was almost exactly what Rumil would have expected Haldirin to remember from his dreams. He waited and Haldirin went on.

“The lady in the grey cloak was walking there too.”

Tindómë’s eyebrows rose as she looked at Rumil over Haldirin’s head. Nienna was described, in the stories, as wearing a soft grey cloak.

“We went to my friend’s garden, and then Nana took her boot-knife out and cut my hand with it, here…” Haldirin held out his right hand out palm uppermost, looking at it, again, as if he couldn’t believe there was no sign of the cut. “But it didn’t hurt,” he added.

“What happened next, my brave son?” Rumil prompted.

“Then Nana cut her hand too, and my friend’s hands, both of them. He was brave, too. Nana told him, didn’t you Nana?”

It was difficult for elflings to always know what had happened when they were awake and what happened when they were walking dream paths.

“Uh… you and your friend were both brave…” Tindómë said. Rumil could tell she had to work to answer totally calmly.

“Then Nana took one of my friend’s hands, and I held his other one, and we walked out of his garden and into the sunshine!”

By now Rumil could both see and feel Tindómë suppressing growing excitement; he had to do the same thing himself.

“What did you do next?” he asked his son.

“We walked through some more trees and then there was a lot of water - with a big, big, boat floating on it. And…” he paused, looking a little worried, “there really was an elf with a beard like Gimli’s, ada! Honestly. He held out his hand, and my friend went with him onto the big boat, then me and Nana waved to him, and came home… only when I woke up we were here, not home, and my hand is not cut…”

Neither Rumil nor Tindómë had ever met Círdan - neither had Haldirin, of course - but he was the only elf they had ever heard of who had a beard. A clearer sign that Haldirin had pictured a boat sailing West from the Havens could not have been given to them.

Tindómë hugged Haldirin hard and then went over to the open window.

“Thank you, thank you!” she called out into the still morning.

Let the early risen members of the household make of it what they would…

gwinig-nín - my baby.


Legolas had spent the night singing soft prayers to Lord Namo and, as Tindómë had suggested, to Lady Nienna. He had rested for a little, concentrating his mind on the Winter Garden as he stepped onto the dream path, but roused himself as the bright light of Gil-Estel was seen in the guise of the morning star.

There was, he decided, nothing to be lost by trying to attract the attention of the twins’ grandfather as he guided Vingilot across the sky. He climbed as far up the tallest tree as he could and then steadied himself to raise both hands in the air.

“Eärendil, Great Mariner. You must know what it is to be separated from your son - you were so long without Master Elrond before he was restored to you when he sailed west. If you can hear me, all I request is that you ask the Valar for a sign, so that we can reunite the small, lost, elfling with his parents. Surely they would listen to you…”

He waited, as the grey light paled, and Eärendil’s star faded from sight. Then he smiled at himself - if it really were that simple the twins would request their grandfather’s help regularly. But, then, perhaps they did…

He stayed in the top of the tree, felt the kiss of the sun’s early rays, and heard the sounds of the first members of the household stirring to begin their morning tasks. Just as he decided it was time to return to the ground, and get washed and changed, he heard Tindómë’s voice.

“Ni 'lassui, ni 'lassui!”

He leapt down quickly, hurried into the house, straight to the door to the suite the family shared.

Almost as soon as he knocked, the door opened and she pulled him into the room saying, “We were looking at it backwards again, atheg! We were trying to send him to Mandos Halls, but he needs to take a different route west.”

Before Legolas could ask any questions, Rumil brought Haldirin into the sitting room and Tindómë went on, “Haldirin knows the answer to the puzzle. He saw it as he walked the dream paths, and he was able to tell us all about it just now.”

Quickly she explained what Haldirin had seen, finishing, “So what we need to do is not get Lord Namo to come back for him, or maybe it would be go back for him? Whatever... anyway, we need to help him across the portal into our time, and then he has to sail…”

Legolas felt the familiar small stab in the pit of his stomach, the pull on his fëa, at the thought of walking up the gangplank onto a great grey ship. To leave the safety of the river, feel the swell of the waves lift the ship… the wind would blow in his hair, the air would be full of salt… How long, he wondered, would the journey be before they saw the land, before they saw their new home?

Tindómë’s finger touched his cheek.

“Atheg… come back to me… come back to here, now, Ithilien.”

He shook his head a little and listened to Rumil speaking to Haldirin.

“Sometimes, ion-nín, when you walk down the dream paths you see things that have already happened but, sometimes, you see things that are going to happen. I think you have seen something that is going to happen; Nana may still be going to cut your hand with her boot-knife, but you are a very brave elfling and she will try not to let it hurt.”

The elfling stood for a minute or more, head tilted to one side, so like his mother.

“M’kay,” he said (also, Legolas thought, so like his mother!). “My friend looked happy when we are going to come out where it is sunny, and he didn’t cry when Nana is going to cut both his hands so I will try to not cry when she did it to me.”

Legolas could see Tindómë struggling to not correct that mixture of tenses - she was a natural teacher, he thought.

Instead she answered the elfling, “We know you will - and you can help me to explain to your friend, if he is frightened.”

Turning to Legolas she went on, “But when can we do it? And what can we tell Éowyn, if we just produce another elfling? Or should we sneak back after we’ve gone home? Only then the guards would notice and there would be a fuss…

“Then,” she continued before either of the ellyn could think about answering, “I think we just have to know that he needs to sail, I don’t think we have to go all the way ourselves - Haldirin only saw it as a short journey, not a long one - although if he’d had to dream the whole journey he’d have been asleep for a week or more…”

Rumil, as always the perfect, calm, unflappable, foil for Tindómë, took his wife’s hand and pulled her towards him.

“I think I know the answer to that last thought, meleth. Lord Celeborn said that my drawings, of Gilraen and young Boromir’s wedding, would go straight to Lady Galadriel and Gilraen’s grandparents; that a party was leaving East Lorien for the Havens before the end of Iavas*. The elfling can go with them.”

“Oh, yes! That would work really well. So, we’ve just got to figure out a way to get him to them without upsetting Éowyn…”

“I will think about that, nethig,” Legolas said, “but first I will go and wash before breakfast, I will see you there.”


* Iavas - an elven season basically August and September.


“We really can’t tell Éowyn, or Faramir, where the elfling came from, even after we bring him into ‘our’ Ithilien,” Tindómë said to Rumil, a little later in the day, “because it would lead to talking about The Key, and we promised Gandalf that the only non-elf who would ever know about it is Aragorn.”

He said nothing, but clearly agreed.

“So we might have to wait to do the… ceremony or whatever, until we are due to leave,” she went on.

“I need to see Lord Celeborn,” was Rumil’s answer.

This time Tindómë waited - the relevance would become clear eventually.

“I could go to Minas Tirith… or simply send him a message to let him know the pictures are ready. Perhaps he could call here… I am sure he will be very happy to take the elfling to East Lorien. To prevent questions we could bring the elfling out, not into the sunshine immediately, but into a warm night…”

“Mmm… as long as it was the night directly before we were due to leave,” Tindómë answered. “Then we could all go together - although we’d still have to hide him somewhere for a few hours, which seems cruel when he would have only just come out into ‘our’ Ithilien - he might be scared, or think that we’ll never come back, like his parents. But it’s almost the right answer, I think…”

She discussed Rumil’s idea with Legolas a little later.

“I have been thinking about it, too,” he said. “I did wonder whether we should ask Arwen to invite Éowyn back to the city for some reason… The servants would be less likely to questions us if we produced another elfling.

“But Rumil’s suggestion of bringing the elfling out of the garden at night gives me an idea. We will, most certainly need to either talk to Lord Celeborn, or send him a message, so that he knows about the elfling… a letter would work, I think…”

He paused, mouth slightly pursed, and Tindómë waited. She had, she thought, become very good at waiting for elves to consider before they said anything.

“Yes…” he finally said, “I think I have it.”

He did not, however, go on to tell her what ‘it’ was. She waited a little longer before pointing this out.

“I will explain tonight,” he answered, “I will come to your rooms after the household has gone to sleep for the night.”

“Aaargh! I can’t wait that long!” Tindómë almost yelled at him.

There was a hint of a smile as he said, “Consider it good practice, nethig! I will explain when I have it straight in my mind.”

No matter how hard she might try, she knew that would be that. She would have to wait… impatiently.


Haldirin was settled in bed when Legolas knocked on their door. Soon the three adults resumed the conversation about how to bring the Winter Elfling out of the Winter Garden, have him travel with Lord Celeborn to East Lorien, and thence to the Havens and the west - all without Éowyn needing to know that he had been a ‘ghost’, or about The Key.

“I think,” Legolas said, “that we need to ‘discover’ him some distance away and present him to Éowyn as an elfling who has somehow got lost very recently.”

“Mmm - makes sense… would we send word to Eryn Ithil for someone to come here with a message for you? You know… Elfling X is missing… which reminds me, he’s going to need a name, at least one to use until he is reunited with his parents,” Tindome finished.

“A good thought,” Legolas replied, “a task for later. Rumil or I could ride to Eryn Ithil and return with news of a missing elfling… then we could set out to look for him…”

“If we were out until after the household had gone to bed, we could then explain in the morning that we have found him,” Rumil contributed, but then added the dampener, “but there would be guards on duty who would see us return without him - and then hear next morning that he had returned with us.”

Tindómë thought back to when she had been kidnapped from the stables at Minas Tirith years before.

“Guards often see what they expect to see….” she said.

It took her a few minutes to draw her thoughts together, but the others were elves - they waited patiently.

“I think,” she said, “that you could search for a few hours before dusk, and then return empty-handed. Say that you will go out at very first light. Ride out before dawn, wrapped in cloaks, and come back a couple of hours later with you cloaks off and the elfling….”

“Who was under my cloak when I left,” Rumil concluded.

“Perfect,” Legolas said. “All I need is to hear of a missing elfling, now, and we can put everything into place.”

“Uh - not one of ours, I think,” Tindómë said, “now that I think of it, Éowyn would be bound to ask about him next time she visited.”

“We need only a story that a mortal would believe, not another elf,” Rumil said, “and so I think I have it. Word has reached Eryn Ithil that an elfling went missing from a group making for the Havens. His mother is very… what is your word, meleth? ‘Traumatised’… by something else and, like Lady Celebrian, needs to sail before she fades.

“They looked for a couple of days, but needed to keep going…”

“Or they’d miss the ship sailing!” Tindómë contributed.

“So they have asked the elves of Eryn Ithil to look for him…” Legolas completed.

All three looked at each other - it should suffice.

“Once we have sent word to Lord Celeborn, I could go back to Eryn Ithil saying all usual farewells to Éowyn, and that I will see the three of you in a week or two,” Legolas said, decisively, “then I will return the next evening, with Orophin, as he knows about The Key, and a search party of three would seem better than two.”

“I can explain it to the elfling,” Tindómë began, “which reminds me - like I said before, he needs a name…”

There was much discussion about the best name for the elfling - much harder than it had been to decide on Haldirin’s, for sure.

His parents would know his name - and they would, hopefully, be awaiting his arrival in Valinor - but he needed to be called something in the meantime. They had been calling him the Winter Elfling - so ‘Rhîw’ with a male ending? Except that Rhîwel or Rhîwon sounded very much like Legolas infant niece Rhîwen’s name.

“Tharhîwon?” Rumil suggested.

The others considered it - it would have the meaning of someone who is ‘beyond winter’.

“Yes,” Legolas said.

“Yes,” Tindómë agreed. “Tharhîwon will be a good name for him when we bring him out of winter.”


Ni 'lassui; 'thank you'.

Chapter eight is here.

c: legolas, f: buffyverse, c: dawn, a: curiouswombat, c: rumil, f: lotr, c: eowyn

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