*COMPLETE* (side story to Taming the Wild) Two Mirkwood elves take a chance on love.
Categories: Fiction Characters:
August 14, 2011 Updated:
August 14, 2011
1. 1 Antien by L8Bleumr
2. 2 Glandur by L8Bleumr
3. 3 Friends by L8Bleumr
4. 4 Lovers by L8Bleumr
Chapter 1 - Antien
Antien was a young and handsome elf, with long dark chestnut brown hair, very thick and straight. He was lithe like most Mirkwood elves, lightly toned muscles in his chest and stomach. He had arms of an archer with just enough muscle to know he worked hard at his job. His eyes were round and hazel, a striking color lined in silver when caught in a certain light. His skin was as fair as any of his kind.
Many young elf maidens had tried to capture his attention to work their magic on him. He was always very polite and sometimes played into their fantasies, but none had ever captured his heart. He was always looking for that one soul to connect with his own. He had felt love many times, love for a parent and love for a friend, but never true love. There was another elf out there somewhere; he just hadn’t found the one yet. Sometimes he felt another soul calling out, looking for the same thing and he wondered if this was his other half. Could there really be another out there, looking for him? Antien truly believed in fate. He felt sure that every elf was born into the world with a matching soul mate; one only had to listen to nature’s song to find it. He had helped quite a few find their soul mates. He’d always thought of this as a gift from the Valar. He enjoyed being the matchmaker, the love guru. Now if he could only find his own. It seemed he was better at helping others than finding his.
This part of his personality Antien kept quiet. It was not something he openly discussed with his other guardsmen, unless they asked him for advice. Yet, sometimes he felt he needed to intervene. His latest project, as he liked to call it, was his best friend Rhavaniel. She was a strong and determined trainee like him. They had connected right away. She was unlike any elleth he had ever met. Rhavaniel had a wild spirit that longed to be set free. She also had a long lasting rivalry with Prince Legolas. To anyone else, it seemed these two could not stand to be anywhere near one another. Antien felt something entirely different. Underneath all that animosity and competition was the greatest love he had ever felt. These two were destined to be together and he made it his number one priority.
* * *
It was a clear and beautiful morning in the Great Greenwood, the kind of day that was good for lying amongst the ferns and daydreaming about anything that came to mind. However, Antien would not get the chance for such a morning daydream. He had graduated from basic training and was moving on to the next level. Today was his first day. As he walked along the path leading to the training grounds, he noticed that his stomach was tied in knots. He was nervous and did not know what to expect. He had heard all the stories about the captains and their strict rules and even harsher punishments. It was his dream to become a palace guard. Most dreamt of being on the borders where all the action was. Antien was not so anxious for battle. Though he knew he always wanted the chance to protect his people and his land, he had a much softer heart than most. He felt he would be of better use at the palace.
Seeing his best friend up ahead he sped up to catch her. “You are in a hurry this morning, Rhavaniel. Is there someone you wish to see before the day gets started,” he jested.
The she-elf rolled her eyes. “It’s more like there is someone I wish to avoid. Did you know that we must train with the first round guardsmen? It will be their last test before they enter into the army.”
“And you have a problem with this?” he asked, as if he did not know who she was referring to.
She regarded him with the slits of her eyes. “You know who is a part of that group, Antien. My worst nightmare has just come true. Now I can only pray to Eru that I will not be placed with Legolas.”
Antien smiled to himself. “There are many you could be put with. The chances of the captain pairing you with the Prince are slim,” he said reassuringly. Still, he could not help hoping for such occurrence. Knowing they had a sort of underlying connection, he thought this would give them the opportunity to know each other better.
As they walked along together, Rhavaniel complained about Legolas’ latest comments to her. They slowed their pace as they strolled along. Antien listened attentively until someone caught his eye. A very tall, very muscular ellon passed them. Antien did not recognize him and wondered who he was. He was built a little stronger than the typical Mirkwood elf with broader shoulders and darker shades of blond in his hair. It was very long, almost to his waist and had a slight waviness to it, not at all straight like his own. His upper torso went into a V-shape, as his waist was slim. He was dressed in the dark greens and tans of the border guards. That explained why Antien did not recognize him. He must spend most of his time on the outskirts of their woodland realm.
Antien’s eyes scanned his body from behind. His uniform fit tightly against his body, accentuating his shape. Antien’s heart beat just a little harder as his eyes wandered even lower. The tunic hung low and he wondered what might be hidden beneath it. He scanned on down to where his legs started at the bottom of the tunic. The tight dark tan leggings revealed strong muscular legs and he wished the thick wool material did not cover them.
He looked back up only to find the handsome elf had turned his head and was glancing back at him. The warrior’s playful smile let him know he had just been caught gawking, and Antien felt the heat of embarrassment spread to his cheeks. His breath caught as he looked at the ellon’s eyes. They were green like the young spring leaves and bright like the stars. Antien’s heart leapt forward with a strong thud. This elf was gorgeous and unexpected, an elf among elves. He knew he must know more about this godly creature.
The ellon nodded his head at Antien before turning back and continuing to walk. Their eyes had met for only a moment, but for Antien, it had seemed like forever, etching the other’s eyes into his memory. There was something about him, and if Antien could help it he would not let the exchange he had felt slip away.
He slowly came back to reality and heard Rhavaniel calling to him. “Antien, did you hear me?”
He mentally shook himself. “I. . . I’m sorry Rhav. I guess I’m just nervous about the next step we're taking. A lot rides on this part. It will determine if we will move on to join the army.”
“That is what I just said. So you can see my concern about being assigned to Legolas. He could ruin this for me,” she said worriedly.
Antien grabbed her hand. “The Prince will do no such thing. As much as you might not want to admit it, he is fair. He would never deliberately sabotage you. Besides, like I said, the odds of you two training together is a million to one.”
They continued until they came to the training grounds. Trainees lined up on one side and trainers on the other. Antien quickly scanned the crowd for the ellon he had seen earlier, but there was no sign of him. He must have only been passing through. Besides, he was already a member of the army. He would not be here and probably was headed to his duties on the border.
The captain started pairing up elves. He walked along the line of first round guardsmen. As he approached each one, he looked to the trainees and picked the ones he thought would be most suited for each other.
Suddenly, the dark blond ellon appeared in the line. Antien’s heart skipped a beat. He watched him scan the line of trainees until his green eyes fell upon Antien. That same sly smile appeared upon his lips as his gaze took hold of Antien. He was the next elf the captain came to. The captain nodded to the handsome ellon then looked at the trainees. He pointed to an elf standing only two places away from him. How Antien wished it were him. Now he may never know who this beautiful ellon was. The elf took a step forward to join with his new instructor when the captain held up his hand to stop him.
“No, I’ve changed my mind,” said the tall captain. Then he looked at Antien. “You, come and meet your tutor.”
Antien suppressed a smile and merely nodded. Then he approached the mysterious ellon. He silently said a prayer to the Valar and used every bit of will power he possessed not to let his legs go out from under him. His heart was pounding wildly within his chest with every step closer. Soon they stood face to face. The ellon placed his hand over his heart and bowed his head. His face was still and serious, almost emotionless, but his eyes spoke volumes. Was that excitement Antien saw dancing behind shining green irises?
It was Antien that spoke first. “Suilad. I am Antien,” he said bowing his head with hand on heart.
“A strong name indeed,” the ellon answered. “I am Glandur.”
Antien dared to let a slight smile escape the corner of his lips. “I look forward to training with you.”
Glandur’s green eyes bored into Antien’s hazel ones. “As do I,” he said simply, and Antien could have melted at the sound of his strong voice. It seemed Antien got his morning daydream after all.
Chapter 2 - Glandur
Glandur was late. He had been called for an early meeting with one of the training captains. Normally he would be at the borders, but this was his time off from his duties. Actually, he was looking forward to some quiet time for the next two months. Now he was being summoned again. That was just how life was in Greenwood. It was part of his job. He was always on call. At least this time it was not a call to battle.
As he hurried along, he passed the new recruits on their way to the practice grounds. He was reminded of his first time to the training grounds and how nervous he was. He watched their faces as they walked along. Some seemed anxious, some looked overly sure of themselves. None would be prepared for what was about to happen.
Then, his ears perked up at the mention of Prince Legolas and an elleth’s voice stating her concern. Glandur looked up to see two new students walking arm in arm. Although it was not unheard of, it had been some time since a female joined the ranks. But what interested him more was the ellon walking with her.
Glandur slowed his pace and observed the couple. They seemed very happy in each other’s company. Still, there was something striking about this ellon. He had an air of youth about him and Glandur knew he was much younger than himself. But he also felt a certain confidence emanate from him and that was a quality Glandur always looked for in any of his acquaintances. This elf intrigued him and it confused him. He had not been looking for anyone lately. Though he was not promiscuous, he had never lacked for companionship. Glandur was busy at the borders most of the time. There was no room for a relationship at this point in his life. Besides, this beautiful ellon seemed to already be taken, or at least his interest was with the elleth he walked beside. It was for the best anyway. The times were darkening lately, and he was needed more along the outer edges of the southern side of Greenwood.
The tall broad warrior picked up his pace once more and passed by the couple. Just as he swept any thoughts of the ellon from his mind, he heard the slightest gasp. It was not the elleth, for she was still complaining about being assigned to the Prince. His heart leapt once then twice in his chest as he felt eyes upon him. A shiver ran through his spine, warming his very core. Glandur turned and gave the ellon a sidelong glance only to find that he was examining him from head to toe. The ellon’s hazel eyes roamed up to finally come to rest upon his own green ones. He felt his breath hitch but held his composure and allowed a slight smile knowing it would embarrass the student. It worked as he noticed cheeks flush to a pink tinge.
The elleth started calling his name but he did not hear. Antien she called him, and Glandur filed the information away for later use. He turned away from Antien before his friend caught on to the stares they were giving each other. Could it be that they had just felt an exchange of some deep emotion between them? Glandur mentally shook his head. Of course not. It was not uncommon for one ellon to notice another. Besides, these were students, trainees who still looked upon the warriors as mentors. He must have mistaken desire for awe. That was it, nothing more, he told himself and went on to meet the captain.
* * *
“Glandur, I need your help,” said the captain. “I’m afraid we are short one instructor but for how long I do not know.”
“If there is anything I can do to help I will,” Glandur answered.
“That is why I called you here. You are at the start of a reprieve are you not?”
“Yes, Captain. I have been given a two month leave.”
“Then can I count on you to act as a trainer to one of the new recruits, just until our regular tutor returns to his duties?” the captain asked.
Glandur wondered why he was asking him. He pulled rank over the warrior and no one refused a captain. “Certainly, I will be glad to help.”
“Good. You can follow me to the training grounds. Today we are assigning trainees to the first years. I know you are well beyond a first year but as I said, it is only temporary. Besides, whichever student is placed with you is lucky indeed. To be able to train with one of our seasoned warriors at such an early stage in the process is a privilege. I will make sure to choose wisely,” the captain said.
“Thank you, Captain. After being stationed at the borders for so long, it will be a welcome change of scenery to work with these young and vibrant elves.” Glandur answered and bowed respectfully.
After a little more discussion about what to expect, they left the captain’s office and headed to the training grounds where the trainees were already lined up and awaiting their assignments. Glandur hung back and waited until he was called upon. The trainees would not expect to see a border guard here.
Glandur watched as the captain paired up students and tutors. That was when there was a break in the line in front of him and he caught sight of Antien. He saw the nervousness on his face and felt his anguish, remembering his own first day of training, but that had been nearly four hundred years ago. His hand came up to his head and his fingers combed through his wavy dark blonde hair as a thought came to him.
The captain came to a trainee and looked to the line of teachers. This recruit would need a little more help than the others. He recognized his hesitation and fear. Turning to Glandur, the captain called to him. The warrior stepped forward, ready to accept his position when the captain stopped him. Suddenly, he turned to Antien, changing his mind. The captain felt a connection between these two. They would work well together which would mean the young ellon would learn much.
Glandur felt his heart leap a second time after letting his eyes fall upon the ellon. He held his composure but could not hide the joy in his eyes. To his surprise, Antien spoke first, telling him his name. Glandur greeted him properly even though he already knew his name, then commented on its meaning. He held Antien in his gaze, maybe longer than he ought to have, but there was a shimmer that captured him and he could not look away. Had Glandur found his one? He secretly thanked the Valar for the chance to find out as they would train together over the next several weeks.
Chapter 3 Friends
During the next few weeks Antien trained hard with Glandur. They put aside any feelings that surfaced when they met. This was not the place for such a personal setting. Glandur kept his teachings at a professional level and showed Antien everything he needed to know to be able to advance to the next level. Actually, throughout their time together, they learned much of each other and became rather good friends. If nothing else came of it, they would be satisfied to know their friendship would continue after training.
Still, they both hid their true feelings deep inside. Antien’s favorite thing was to watch Glandur as he showed him certain moves. His body was hard, muscles toned from years of fighting at the borders. Every motion was connected to the one before it. He moved with such fluidity as he had never witnessed before. It was very difficult for Antien not to let his mind wander to other ways Glandur’s body might move. Whenever those thoughts surfaced, he pushed them away and saved it for when he was alone in his bed.
Glandur’s favorite time was when he stood close to Antien, positioning an arm correctly or making sure his feet pointed in the right direction. This gave him the opportunity to stand close enough to feel the heat of Antien’s body or lightly touch him as he moved him into proper position. Once, Glandur was lining up Antien’s aim with a bow. In order to do this, he had to stand directly behind him and place the side of his face very close to Antien’s. It took every ounce of will power not to bury his face in his young trainee’s neck and breathe in his scent. It took even more strength not to let this warm feeling spread any lower than his heart.
Antien was very good at keeping his feelings at bay. He never let on his attraction for Glandur. So far, his trainer only seemed interested in one thing-- training. Maybe Antien was wrong to think someone as beautiful and seasoned as Glandur could be attracted to him. Maybe this was only a crush and he would never know his true feelings. Glandur never gave him any reason to think that he might also be interested in something more than friendship. Besides, how would it look to the others if they thought there was something between them? He thought of Rhavaniel and how she worried about the same thing with Prince Legolas. Some might see it as a way to advance in ranks and that was frowned upon. Soon though, his training would come to an end and Glandur would go back to the borders. He may be gone for months at a time, depending on the activity there. It would be a shame to spend all this time together and not tell him how he really felt. Could he do it Antien wondered? When his training was over, could he actually tell Glandur that he cared for him, maybe even loved him? And what of their friendship? If Glandur did not return these feelings, it could mean an awkward moment and the end of such wonderful company. Would he risk it?
* * *
And so the day of graduation came. Trainers stood next to their trainees and recommended either advancement or more training. Glandur stood proudly next to Antien. He felt his nervousness. There was no reason for it though. Antien passed with excellence and there was nothing left to do but recommend a position as a palace guard. He could feel Antien’s anticipation and wished to calm him. Oh how he wanted to whisper to him to calm himself, then nuzzle Antien’s ear with his nose. The thought of performing such a display in front of all these fellow warriors almost made Glandur laugh aloud. Instead, he granted himself a quiet laugh.
Antien felt Glandur’s body jump slightly. Was he laughing? There was no laughing at a time like this. What could he possibly be thinking? Antien turned his head slightly, looking at his trainer from the corner of his peripheral vision. Before he could look him in the eye, Antien felt a warm and gentle hand on his lower back. He almost jumped at the sensation. Glandur had never touched him in such a way. It was only a hand on his back, but it felt like so much more. There was an exchange between them that instantly calmed Antien’s nerves. Suddenly, he did not care what the outcome of his training status was. He only wanted to revel in the feel of Glandur’s touch. Not being able to help himself, Antien looked into Glandur’s eyes. They had softened around the edges as he looked back at him and Antien could have lost himself in those green depths.
“No worries melon nin,” Glandur whispered.
Antien allowed a slight smile and to his surprise Glandur answered the same. They found they could not look away from each other. Antien was reminded of the first time he looked at Glandur. He had captured him with his stare then too. It was at this moment that Antien decided he would throw caution to the wind and tell Glandur of his true feelings tonight at the celebration. He finally tore his vision from Glandur and came back to focus on the moment at hand. Yes, he would tell him tonight, if he had a reason to celebrate.
Nothing was lost on Glandur. He felt Antien’s body relax at his touch, saw the longing in his eyes. He noticed how the corner of his mouth upturned in a smile he tried so hard to hide. There was something there, something Glandur wished to know more of. He decided on the spot that he would give Antien his time to shine at the celebration, but before the end of the night, he would make his feelings known. He had no more fears or doubts that Antien would return these feelings.
Glandur lowered his hand back to his side as he saw the captain only a few trainees away from them now. As soon as he broke contact, he felt Antien’s nerves tense again. He smiled to himself once more, knowing the effect he had on him. Tonight, Glandur thought to himself. Tonight he will know.
Chapter 4 Lovers
The recently promoted trainees stood before the King and accepted their gifts. Each one was given a dagger with a special rune carved upon the hilt, a reminder of the one thing they needed to work on the most. Antien accepted his gift and glanced at the rune. ‘Self-confidence’ was inscribed on his. It was true. Though he was very confident in many things, the one he needed to remember most was confidence in himself. Then he was gifted a bow, the most treasured weapon of Greenwood. Antien was indeed granted the position of palace guard along with his best friend Rhavaniel. Now would begin their last session of training before they started their new positions. Unfortunately, Glandur would not be his teacher this time.
Antien glanced around the grand ballroom. He hadn’t seen Glandur much so far this night. He was busy meeting some of the current palace guards who had many interesting stories to tell. Now he was feeling a little anxious as the night was coming to an end. After a quick look around, he found him by the wine table. Antien watched as he picked up two glasses. He turned and instantly locked eyes with him. Antien’s heart raced. Glandur looked so handsome in his warrior attire. His hair shone like gold against the contrast of his green tunic. Loose braids held his hair back from his face. It was a very relaxed look, different from how he usually seemed. Glandur approached him and handed him a glass.
“Congratulations once again, Antien. You will make a fine addition to the palace guard,” Glandur said.
“I could not have done it without your help,” Antien answered holding his glass up. Glandur did the same and they clinked glasses, each nodding his head.
Antien was even more nervous than he had been waiting to hear of his training status. Tonight he would tell Glandur his true feelings. He hoped he was right in his assumptions. They hadn’t connected on a personal level too often but when they did, it was the strongest most reassuring feeling in the world.
They spent the evening talking and getting to know each other much better. They told stories of their youth and of their families and friends. Antien swore Glandur to secrecy and told him about Rhavaniel and Prince Legolas, of how he thought they were made for each other. Glandur had a hard time believing him at first, especially after the scene on the training grounds when Rhavaniel had bested Legolas then gloated.
“How can you think they are meant to be together?” Glandur asked after some discussion.
“How can you not? It is that fire and determination that fuels a hidden love between them,” Antien answered passionately.
Glandur studied Antien’s features as he spoke. He was not old, not by elf standards but Antien was five hundred years his junior and brought out a youthfulness he had not felt in years. He caught Antien with his eyes. “And something I hope to find one day.”
Antien could not look away and became bold himself. “You never know when fate might just be around the corner.”
This is my chance, Glandur thought to himself. He would put it out there and hope Antien responded well. “Antien, I--”
A messenger interrupted him. “Word comes from the borders. We have received information about another attack on the way. All troops are needed by order of the King. Prepare to move out and pack heavy. This next wave may be ongoing. It could be quite a while before you are relieved of your duty,” said an anxious messenger.
“I’m sorry Antien, but I have to go. Duty calls,” Glandur said as he stood up from the table where they sat.
“What did he mean by ‘pack heavy’?” Antien asked.
“I will probably be gone no less than six months, maybe longer if the spiders and Orcs’ numbers have increased.”
Antien seemed to stare past him. Six months seemed a long time to be on patrol, but he knew the life of a border guard was not easy. For a brief second, he thought of what a life with Glandur would be like. He would be away quite often. Was that something he wanted? Was that something he could deal with, being away from the one he loved? Then the worst thing that could have happened did. Glandur gripped Antien’s forearm in an elvish handshake. There was no warmth or gentleness in this gesture. It was like two old friends saying goodbye.
“Again, congratulations, Antien. Maybe when I return we can get together for more conversation. I really enjoyed myself tonight. Unfortunately, I must go now. War does not wait for the warrior.” And with that, Glandur turned to leave the hall.
Antien stood there a moment, not moving and wondering what might have happened if they weren’t interrupted. Maybe it was for the better. Maybe he was mistaken about Glandur. Of course he was. This was only infatuation. Surely Glandur did not feel the same way. Antien looked back at the table where they were sitting. “I guess that’s it then,” he said to himself. He realized he left his new dagger lying next to his empty wine glass; the one Glandur brought him, the same one he slowly sipped from as they spoke of their personal lives. He picked up the dagger and examined it before sheathing it.
“Self-confidence.” he said reading the rune. “Self- confidence,” he said again. Suddenly, Antien stood a little taller. “Self-confidence,” he said once more, this time a little louder and a little bolder. “Confidence in myself. Yes, that’s it,” he spoke aloud leaving a couple elves within earshot to wonder if he had lost his mind. Antien felt their eyes on him and turned to look at them with a smile. “If I don’t do this now, I might very well regret it.”
The two by standers gave Antien confused looks then turned to each other and shrugged their shoulders.
“That’s exactly my point,” Antien said to them. He sheathed his dagger and took off, leaving the grand hall to carry out his mission.
He burst through the doors and looked left then right. He caught sight of a particular blond head just disappearing around a corner and took off in a sprint to follow. A few more corners and a few more sprints and Antien finally caught up to Glandur. He put a hand on his shoulder to stop him. Glandur turned around. “Antien, what are you . . .”
“My rune,” he said, out of breath.
Glandur thought he misunderstood him. “Your what? Did you forget something?”
Antien smiled and laughed and Glandur looked at him as if he were drunk. “The rune on my dagger says self-confidence. That’s why it is there, to remind us of what we need to work on most. Tell me . . . what did yours say? You never told me.”
Glandur wrinkled his brow and questioned Antien’s sanity, but he went along anyways since he seemed determined. “Mine said ‘Trust.'”
Antien looked around and noticed that there were a few too many ears about, so he motioned for Glandur to follow him to a small alcove between doors. When he was sure he had a private moment he spoke. “I am taking this opportunity to work on my weakness,” he said and then took a hold of Glandur’s arm. Then he took a deep breath. “You have helped me so much over the past few weeks and . . .” he paused and tried to swallow but his mouth was as dry as cotton. “. . . and I feel like I have gotten to know you very well as a friend. But . . .” Now he lifted his eyes to meet Glandur’s. “But now I need to tell you how I really feel, and if this hurts our friendship then so be it. If I don’t tell you before you leave for the borders then . . .”
Glandur suddenly gripped Antien’s arm and pulled him close, stopping his rambling. He brought his face close to Antien’s and looked deep into his eyes. “I wanted to tell you too,” Glandur whispered, his lips just inches away from Antien’s.
Antien was stunned, almost speechless. “Tell me what?” he asked, his voice wavering.
“No . . . no, you started the conversation and you are the one who needs to work on his self-confidence,” Glandur teased. “Go on then, what is so important that it could not wait until I returned from the borders?”
“From the moment I first laid eyes on you, I have wanted you,” Antien said looking like a frightened chipmunk in a trance. Then he closed his eyes and shook his head. “No, that’s not what I was going to say. Well, in a way yes but . . . well, what I was going to tell you was that . . .,” he said stumbling over his own words.
Glandur’s heart soared with joy at that moment. So he was right in assuming that Antien had felt the same connection. And now look at him, he thought. He’s so nervous he can’t get the words out.
Antien was still rambling when Glandur captured his lips and kept him from digging a bigger hole for himself. It was a simple kiss of just lips on lips but it spoke volumes. There were no words to explain the feeling. They felt the connection and reveled in its warmth and spark. Finally, Glandur released Antien and came back to gaze into his eyes. “You were saying?”
“Do I really need to say anything more?” Antien said.
Glandur smiled and tapped Antien’s dagger, which hung at his side. “Self-confidence,” he jested.
Antien looked down and took a hold of Glandur’s hand. “I want to be with you and I want you to be with me. I don’t know what may come of this, but I care for you a great deal, much more than as a friend.”
“And I care for you also,” Glandur answered. “I too felt something when I first saw you. I put my feelings aside as we trained, but they were always there just below the surface. I only hoped that you felt the same way.”
Antien lifted his face. “That is exactly what I was trying to tell you.”
Glandur leaned in once more and kissed Antien, this time with more passion and this time Antien responded to him. Then they pulled apart once more.
“I hate to do this now Antien, but I really must go. But if I had my way, I would not leave you anytime soon,” Glandur said.
Antien glanced to Glandur’s side. “And what of your rune, ‘Trust?’ Do you trust that I will be here waiting for you when you return?”
“I do Antien. I trust you whole heartedly,” Glandur said, his fingers trailing along Antien’s jaw before drawing him in for one final kiss. And with that, he was off to gather his supplies and leave for the border. Antien had never felt as elated as he did now. He had found his self-confidence and possibly the love of his life.
* * *
The next six months should have passed quickly for an elf and especially for an elf in his final training session, but for Antien, it dragged on and on. He kept telling himself that nothing lasted forever, which was an odd thing for an immortal elf to say in the first place. Soon, word reached the city that the troops were returning. Antien kept his news a secret until he was sure it was real. Just as he promised, Glandur returned to him and Antien was waiting. They took their relationship slow and steady . . . at first, but they knew they loved each other and confessed their love quickly. They were inseparable and eventually Antien told Rhavaniel his good news. She was so happy for him, though it came at a time of despair for her. Legolas had invited her to a dance, which she accepted. Then she found out that he only did this because of his rather rude friend who was interested in her.
Antien told Glandur what happened to his friend, but Glandur only shook his head. “I’m telling you, those two are like oil and vinegar.”
“And I’m telling you that you should never question my premonition,” Antien argued.
Glandur said nothing more on the subject. Antien was very confident in his predictions and he would never give up on Rhavaniel and Legolas.
* * *
A few more years passed, some of the most wonderful years either elf had ever experienced. Tonight was Legolas’ maturity celebration and of course, Antien and Glandur were there. And just as Antien predicted, Rhavaniel was finally with the young Prince. Glandur never doubted him again after that.
It had been a wonderful evening. They both danced with Rhavaniel as well as each other and were in need of a break. Antien used this as an excuse to lure Glandur outside and to the gardens. They walked along hand in hand, but separated when they saw an approaching couple. Finally, they found a quiet secluded spot and stood beneath a beautiful beech tree. After a while, their conversation changed course.
“Why must we hide our outward feelings towards one another?” Glandur questioned. They did not go out of their way to hide their affection, but they were careful how much they let show. “I do not care what others might think. It will not hurt our status. Besides, you are in the palace and I am at the borders. It will not get in the way of our work. It is not fair to either of us to hide our love any longer.”
Antien could tell this hurt his lover. Maybe he was right and maybe it was time to take this relationship to the next step. He took a deep breath and swore he would not stumble on his words as he did the last time they had this kind of a conversation.
“Then let us not hide it any longer, my love,” Antien said. “But if we are going to do this, then let us do it right. Let us claim our love right here, on this night. I freely give you my soul. There is no other who makes me feel so complete. Glandur, bind to me this evening, so that our love may be blessed by the Valar. I love you and I want to be with you for all eternity.”
Glandur took Antien into his arms. “Yes . . . yes my love. I freely give you my soul this night to be blessed by the Valar. You are all I have ever wanted, all I have ever dreamed of and nothing has felt more right. I love you now and forever until the last grain of sand is turned into ash.”
And so, on that beautiful moonless star-filled night, somewhere deep within the forest of Greenwood, beneath an ancient beech, Antien and Glandur bound to each other, to never be apart and to love one another for eternity. Antien never again doubted his own confidence and Glandur’s trust never wavered. They were soul mates and lived every day to its fullest. Never again did they hide away their love. Never did they feel lonely. They were truly blessed by the Valar because theirs was a love like no other.
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