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.
Morning Daydream by L8Bleumr