In the Winter Garden - Chapter Eight.

Aug 18, 2010 18:36

Author; curiouswombat
Rating; 13
Fandoms ; Buffy/Lord of the Rings
Word count for this chapter 2,930
Chapter 8/9
Disclaimer as chapter one.

Chapter Eight

There was only one more thing to do before they put their plan into practice. The guards were used to the adult elves staying outdoors well into the night, or all through it - now they took Haldirin, too, out in the moonlight after everyone else had gone to bed.

They went to the Winter Garden and Haldirin called quietly to his friend. If he only came to them in the daylight they might have to rethink the plan.

At first nothing happened, and then the air became chilled, the fountain began to freeze, and a small figure appeared. Soon the two elflings were playing ball; the three adults sat, quietly watching.

After a little while Tindómë called the two elflings over and persuaded the Winter Elfling to sit between her and Rumil.

“Mellon,” Haldirin said, “Nana has a surprise - she has a name for you!”

“Little one, we would call you Tharhîwon, if you would let us,” Tindómë explained gently.

“It is a good name,” Haldirin added.

“Tharhîwon…” the elfling seemed to be considering it. “Tharhîwon… me?”

“Yes, you. We would call you Tharhîwon,” Rumil confirmed, “That is your name, for now.”

The elfling smiled.

“Haldirin,” he said, pointing to Haldirin, “Nan…” he corrected himself, “Tindómë… Rumil?”

Rumil nodded.

“Tharhîwon!” The elfling pointed to himself. “I am Tharhîwon!”

“And I am Legolas,” the Lord of Ithilien pointed out.

“Mae govannen, Legolas,” the newly named Tharhîwon said politely, and then danced around the fountain; Haldirin joined him, and it took some time before the two elflings settled down again.

“I think he is happy to know who he is…” Rumil said, dryly.

It took a little longer to explain that they had a plan to help him to come out of the Winter Garden, and be in the sunshine, and that he would have to trust both Haldirin’s Nana and Ada.

Fortunately he had no problem about not wanting the mortals to know where he had been - his parents had told him to hide from mortals… It might be more difficult to help him face Éowyn and her household than to hide his presence from them until his official ‘discovery’.

Tindómë also explained to him that he would only stay with them for a short while; then he would travel with Lord Celeborn for some days and, eventually, with some other elves who would take him over the straight path west. This was the only way he might get back to his own Nana and Ada.

He looked at her with big, rather fearful eyes and she wanted, desperately, to not only hug him now, but take him home and keep him with her.

Eventually Haldirin was asleep on his father’s lap, and Tharhîwon had disappeared again; as usual, none of the adults had seen him leave - he simply wasn’t there.

In their room that night Rumil sat with Tindómë tucked against his chest.

“We cannot keep him, meleth,” he said.

She should have realised that he would know she felt like that.

“His parents may have waited a very long time for him, in Valinor. We cannot keep him from them,” he said, gently.

“He could sail when we do…”

“But, meleth, then he would be an adult; his parents would have missed his childhood,” Rumil pointed out. “We would not want to lose Haldirin and only have him restored to us as an adult.”

She knew he was right, but Tharhîwon tugged at her maternal instincts.

“What if they aren’t there when he arrives?”

“I know not. But I do not think that Haldirin would have dreamt of waving Tharhîwon off on the ship if he was meant to wait and sail when we do. If his parents are not there to greet him then surely someone will be waiting for him.”

Rumil said no more for some time. Tindómë was equally quiet; she knew he was right, but didn’t want him to be. She was almost sure that he, too, would really have liked to keep the elfling with them rather than send him into the unknown.

Then she could feel Rumil having a ‘Light-bulb’ moment.

“Meleth, the little one will travel with elves from East Lorien - Galadhrim. Her Ladyship will be there to welcome them. She will surely ensure that Tharhîwon is cared for and reunited with his family.”

Tindómë could feel her own worries lifting; he was right, Lady Galadriel would certainly make sure the elfling was cared for.

Lady Galadriel had personally ensured that Tindómë had settled into life among the Galadhrim and, even with all the other things going on between the young Tindómë’s ‘arrival’ at the end of the Ring War and her ladyship’s departure for the west, had always had time for her. Rumil was right; if by any chance Tharhîwon’s parents were not awaiting him, Lady Galadriel would make sure he was loved and cared for.

Actually, Tindómë thought, it would be good to send her Ladyship a long letter, giving her their news, and one of Rumil’s drawings of Haldirin, maybe one of their home in Eryn Ithil…

“And, meleth,” Rumil added, breaking into her thoughts, “it will not be all that long before we can see him again when we sail west ourselves.”

That, his wife thought, was very much a double-edged sword.


A letter had been written to Lord Celeborn, and sent as part of the routine traffic between this household and the Citadel, telling him about the discovery of the Winter Elfling and the plan to bring him to present day Ithilien using The Key. Now Legolas made his farewells, setting off back to Eryn Ithil as if he did not expect to see any of the others for a little time.

Rumil retired to put the finishing touches to the paintings of the recent wedding. Some were to be sent to the king and queen; others were to be packed for travel, with other pictures, west to Master Elrond and his wife, and to Lady Galadriel. The final one was to be framed and hung, here, in the home of the groom’s parents.

Éowyn spent the morning giving Haldirin riding lessons on the small pony, saying the exercise was good for the little animal, and Tindómë, watching, realised the lesson was enjoyed equally by all three. After lunch Éowyn had meetings with members of her household, Tindómë sat in the garden reading, Haldirin played with the pups. All was normal.

Then, as they sat at dinner that night, a servant arrived to announce the arrival of Prince Legolas and a companion. Éowyn was clearly surprised; if her guests seemed less so, it was just as would be expected from elves.

As planned, Legolas was accompanied by Orophin who greeted both Éowyn and his brother’s family formally and calmly. Only after a slight nod from his mother did Haldirin get down from the table and go to his uncle to be picked up and swung into the air.

Plates were brought for the extra guests and, as they ate, Legolas told Éowyn the tale of the lost elfling who had somehow strayed from a small family party heading to the Havens. He turned down her offer to send out men to help in the search - the elfling, he said, had never met a Man and might be inclined to hide from them. It was, he added, unlikely that the missing elfling was anywhere near here, but the two elleth with whom he had been travelling, his mother and grandmother, were unsure of exactly where they had been when he had gone to look for firewood and not returned.

Legolas, Tindómë thought, was a very good ‘story-teller’…

Rumil volunteered to ride out with his brother and Legolas. Tindómë stood with Éowyn to wave them off and felt rather guilty about the way that they were deceiving their hostess. She knew, however, that Éowyn would be somewhat disturbed if she knew that her Winter Garden had been haunted by an elfling or, if all went well, that she was meeting an elfling who had been dead for maybe a thousand years or more. Better to tell her this fabrication…

The ellyn, of course, returned after dark empty handed.

“We will leave again before first light,” Legolas told Éowyn, “and spend all of tomorrow searching. If any of the other search groups find him they will send word.”

‘A very good story teller indeed…’ Tindómë thought.

As the household began to retire for the night the elves met in Rumil and Tindómë’s rooms.

Orophin was fascinated by the idea of the Winter Elfling; Haldirin was very happy to tell his uncle all about his new friend. Orophin had also brought something very useful.

Legolas had explained what Tindómë and Haldirin would need to do, to rescue the elfling, and Lithôniel, Orophin’s not-yet-betrothed, had given him a salve to numb the hands of the elflings and another to help heal the knife wounds as quickly as possible. They might well need to concoct a story to explain why all three had similarly cut hands…

Orophin insisted on checking that Tindómë’s boot knife was as sharp as possible; if that was what she had used in Haldirin’s dream then that is what she must use now.

They all rested a little, waiting for midnight to pass; finally it was time. Haldirin was so excited that he jumped and skipped all the way to the Winter Garden.

“Tharhîwon, Tharhîwon,” he called, “come and see - uncle Orophin is here.”

“See, my brother,” said Rumil, “you are much more important than it being time for him to come out into the summer…”

“Actually,” Tindómë said, “it makes sense to let him know who the person is that he hasn’t met before…”

It was Orophin who stuck his tongue out at her.

“He is here,” Tindómë said quietly, a moment or two later, as the temperature dropped.

Haldirin took a few steps towards a bush and, then, Tharhîwon was beside him.

“His fëa shines brightly,” Orophin said, quietly. “I had though it might be dim. He is a beautiful elfling.”

With her ‘mortal eye’ Tindómë thought he’d be a lot more beautiful once she’d had a chance to wash his hair properly and put him into some of Haldirin’s spare clothes… but her ‘elven eye’ knew that Orophin was right and, also, that the elfling’s fëa shone more brightly than it had when she had first encountered him. He was, surely, ready to be properly alive again.

“Tharhîwon,” Tindómë said to the elfling, “this is the night that we will take you out of this garden into the rest of the gardens; the night that you can come out into summer. Do you remember what we told you about this?”

The elfling nodded before speaking.

“I have to trust you and Rumil…”

M’kay, well that covered the important points… Tindómë explained, now, exactly what she would have to do.

“It does not hurt,” Haldirin told him, confidently, and Tharhîwon nodded again.

Rumil rubbed a little of the numbing salve onto the elflings’ hands; not Tindómë’s, as she needed to wield the knife.

The adults stood quietly, looking skyward, Legolas simply said “Thank you for showing us what to do…” and Tindómë drew her knife from her boot.

First she put a cut into the palm of Haldirin’s hand, then into her own, and, finally, she cut the palms of the Winter Elfling. She took his right hand in her own, bleeding, left; Haldirin took his other hand, blood to blood. They walked together towards the gateway, Rumil held it open…

Tindómë schooled herself to keep breathing steadily as they stepped across the threshold; there was the slightest shimmer of green light… and they were outside. The air was warmer, scented with summer flowers - Tharhîwon was beyond winter.

They moved quickly out of sight of anyone who might glance out of a window and then carefully wiped away the blood from hands and knife. Tharhîwon looked around with his mouth open; Tindómë knelt down and took him in her arms.

“Well done, little one - you were a very brave elfling,” she said.

He was warmer. She could feel his heart beating; he was, certainly, a living, breathing elfling.

The cuts were tended. The adults shared wine, which Legolas had brought out with him, and the elflings were given milk, bread, and honey acquired from the manor kitchen. Tindómë wondered how many years it had been since Tharhîwon had tasted food.

The elfling seemed both excited, and slightly bewildered, to be walking on grass, summer flowers around him - he kept stopping to touch everything.

It was well after midnight before Haldirin began to look drowsy; Tindómë settled down with her back to a tree and he lay with his head on her lap. She gestured to Tharhîwon to come and sleep, too, but he seemed wide awake. Soon, despite his cut hands, he was up in the trees with Legolas and Rumil whilst Orophin sat and talked to Tindómë until she, too, slept.


The elfling sat with his back to the trunk of the oak, eyes closed and a smile on his face. Rumil and Legolas looked at him and at each other - he was, clearly, not frightened to be out of his long winter.

“The tree is awake,” he said after a little while, “the other trees were always asleep…”

He must, surely, Rumil thought, be Silvan to be so pleased to hear the gentle song of the trees. But, as he spoke Sindarin he must have originated in a time and place where Sindar and Silvan mixed. He hoped, some day, to know the Winter Elfling’s background…

As morning approached he spoke to the elfling.

“Tharhîwon, we are going to get down from the trees now. Haldirin and his nana will go into the house, and you will come with me, Legolas, and Orophin to meet my horse. Her name is Annarîn. You will ride on her with me, under my cloak, so that the men do not see you yet.

“But we will come back later and then you can stay with Haldirin and his nana, at least until we meet other elves who are travelling in the right direction to help you find your own nana and ada. Do you understand? You are not frightened to ride on Annarîn with me?”

“I don’t remember horses very well… but I will try to be good.”

“Come then, little one, and meet Annarîn. I will hold you tightly to keep you safe.”

They met no-one as they went to the stables and, as expected, when they rode out in the darkness the guards waved them through, from a distance, wishing them good luck in finding the lost child. Rumil pulled back his cloak, once away from the settlement around the manor house, to allow Tharhîwon to feel the fresh air and watch the sunrise.

“Are you all right, little one?” he asked.

“I… I don’t think I remember riding a horse at all.” There was a slight quaver in the voice.

“She is a very good horse,” Rumil said, in reassurance, “and neither of us would let you fall.”

Even so Tharhîwon seemed happier when, some miles later, Orophin lifted him down and put his feet onto solid ground, amongst trees, again.

Rumil wanted to take the elfling to bathe and then comb his hair until it shone; he was sure that his companions felt the same. But Tindómë had pointed out that a lost elfling would look exactly as Tharhîwon did and so, instead, they waited amongst the trees. Rumil drew the scene, as Legolas played a ball game with Tharhîwon, and Orophin whittled a small horse, as a gift for the elfling, to help him get over his fear of them.

Once the sun passed noon they remounted and rode back the way they had come.

“We have found him!” Legolas announced to the guards. He waved a hand at the dishevelled little figure, in front of Rumil, who peered at them with a rather scared expression - just as they might have expected.

Soon there was a crowd around them and the elfling was clearly frightened.

Rumil spoke soothingly to him, reassuring him that Haldirin was waiting for him and soon they would be away from almost all the mortals, but Tharhîwon’s heart was still beating quickly and his eyes darting from side to side as if looking for a means of escape.

Rumil realised how different this would be if the frightened elfling had been Haldirin - with no bond between them it was much harder to comfort the little one. Ai, Elbereth! He wondered how mortal parents coped.

Éowyn cleared everyone away with great efficiency and, obviously, realised that the elfling was equally frightened of her when she lifted arms to take him from Rumil. She stepped aside with a slight nod of her head.

Orophin dismounted and took the elfling in his arms. Tharhîwon clung to him.

‘He will be a good father.’ The thought came out of the blue and made Rumil smile fleetingly.

“He is very scared,” Legolas said. “He has never met anyone other than elves, and even we are not his own people; he knows not where his family are, and has been surviving alone, hiding in bushes. Let us take him indoors and let Tindómë tend to him - he has cuts and scratches, and is in need of a bath.”

This clearly made sense to Éowyn. She waved Orophin through with his small, rather dirty, bundle.


Mellon - friend
Mae govannen - well met - polite greeting.

Final Chapter and Epilogue is here.

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

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