Chapter 4: Try to Keep the Faith

Legolas and I turned away from the celebrating Rohirrim and started back towards the Deep. As we walked back, I grabbed the helm I’d removed earlier and set on a low wall. I started to tuck it under my arm, but Legolas gently pried it from my hands.

“How did this happen?” he asked, tracing an indented crease along the top with a long elegant finger.

“Oh, a grappling hook glanced off my helmet as I went to help Gárwine,” I commented.

Legolas immediately halted and grabbed my arm, pulling me to a stop as well. “Turn around,” he commanded, gesturing with a twirl of his hand.

I childishly rolled my eyes, but did obediently turn around. His fingers cleverly found the bump along the top of my head that corresponded with the rent in my helm. Though his probing fingers were gentle, I barely managed to keep from flinching.

“The skin is not broken,” he pronounced, “though I deem it shall ache later.”

I turned back around to see his frowning worried face. “It’s no big deal, Legolas. A bump to the head is nothing compared to how many men were lost in this battle.”

He looked off into the distance. “This battle is fought and hard-won, yet it is rather the battles to come that cause my heart to fear for your mortal body, not the battles already passed.”

I opened my mouth to promise him I’d be all right, but quickly shut it. We didn’t lie to each other, and I wasn’t about to start now. There was no guarantee I could make to him that I’d come out of this war alive, and it pulled me up short to realize the story was changing enough that I couldn’t even guarantee the fates of my friends any longer.

Legolas was still staring off into the distance, so I tried to find something to give us both some needed comfort.

“I’m not an overly religious person,” I told him in a quiet voice. He glanced back at me curiously as I continued. “I never have been. I guess my mother’s family would have been considered more Pagan than Christian, and my father’s people don’t really believe in religion in that way. They believe they go to the Blessed Fields of Bounty—though that’s a poor translation from Silva—when they die. So, I’ve never really been sure what I was supposed to believe in. What I should put my faith in.

“I guess when it comes down to it, I just have Faith. Faith that there is something better after this life, and Faith that I’ve been through enough in the years I’ve been living to deserve a bit of happiness before I go on. You make me happier than I’ve ever been, so I have to have Faith that when this war is over, we’ll get our chance to be happy together. It’s better to have Faith in something than to have no Faith.”

He lifted his hands and lightly brushed them over my cheeks, unshed tears catching the light in his eyes. “You are mortal and I am elf-kind. When your mortal years are spent, your faer shall go where mortal souls dwell, and we shall be ever parted.”

I reached up and grasped his hand against my cheek, turning my face briefly into the warmth of his touch. “If you’re saying you don’t want—”

His hand suddenly gripped my chin, tilting it up to look intently into my eyes. “Even if the choice were laid before me now to turn from the path my heart has already taken, I would not turn from it. Perhaps others of my kindred shall think me foolish, but I would not trade even a moment of your love for all the long years of loneliness I have already known. Having tasted that love, I cannot give it up; no matter the cost I shall one day be asked to account for.”

I stared up at his eyes, lightened to a slate gray by the wetness of his tears. “I know that there is supposed to be different destinations for the souls of man and elf here, but I have to have Faith. I have to have Faith that any gods, or the Valar—if there is any justice within them—they won’t part us in death. I have to have Faith.”

He leaned down and brushed his forehead against mine. “Then I too shall have Faith.” But the words seemed hollow and not as heartfelt or sure as mine had been.

I only prayed my Faith would one day pay dividends.

We continued walking hand in hand, each lost in our own morose thoughts brought on by the sight of so much death.

I feared the very thing Legolas did. I knew as well as he did that they said elves and mortals were not meant for each other, but where did that leave me?

I’d never been strictly human, and my mother’s mostly Celtic family followed a strange mix of beliefs: a combination of paganism, and Druid and Saxon beliefs along with others. They tended to believe that people were given new lives to live again when they died. I wasn’t sure I ascribed to reincarnation like that, but I knew I also wasn’t Fae enough to go to the Blessed Fields of Bounty.

There was no special afterlife for partly Fae humans like me. Just as in life, I belonged nowhere.

Legolas tugged on my hand and pulled me closer, wrapping an arm over my shoulders, heedless of the stares and whispers of the Rohirrim.

It brought a smile to my face as I wrapped my own arm around his waist in return. I’d follow Legolas’s lead. I couldn’t know what our future would bring, but I’d be happy with what I could grab onto now.

“Legolas! Lass!” Gimli called, jogging up to us. I stepped away as elf and dwarf fondly embraced one another and began comparing their tally from the battle.

Gárwine caught my eye, waving me over from where an older woman gratefully embraced him, along with two little girls still clinging to her skirts. He spoke quickly and quietly to her in Rohirric, throwing a few gestures my way.

Then, the woman broke away from her son and threw her heavy arms around me. It was so sudden, I didn’t have time to step back and avoid her embrace. She squeezed me tightly, speaking grateful words in broken Westron and Rohirric, but my mind had been so submerged in her thoughts at her touch, that my ears couldn’t focus on her words.

Sadness and fear still permeated this poor woman, though she was also wrought with joy that her son lived. And grateful. My ears finally registered that the words she was repeating were broken thank yous.

Suddenly, Legolas’s gentle hands descended on my shoulders, slowly pulling me back from the woman’s arms. His touch offered an instantaneous calming effect. I was able to let my mind pull away from the onslaught of forceful maternal emotions and retreat into the gentle thoughts and feeling of Legolas’s mind, and eventually rebuild my guard so I could focus wholly on what was being said in the moment.

My eyes opened again—I hadn’t even noticed when they’d clenched tightly shut—and I realized Legolas was speaking politely to the woman as I gathered myself, smoothly hiding my moment of weakness.

He’d stepped close behind me, his arm spanning from shoulder to shoulder across my collarbone, and I reached up to gratefully squeeze his arm in thanks.

As I looked back at Gárwine’s mother, I realized she was glancing curiously back and forth between the elf speaking to her over my head and myself.

At a pause in Legolas’s polite explanation of how I had fought by her son’s side, I tried to explain to her, “He’s my—” but then I stopped. What exactly was Legolas to me? It had been a long time since I’d felt or even been young enough to use the word boyfriend with anyone—besides, that would likely confuse people here—and I was nearly as certain that the word fiancé was just as foreign. Hadn’t that been French or something anyway? “We’re going to hopefully get married someday. When these dark days have passed,” I finally settled on.

She still looked somewhat confused, but I wasn’t certain how much Westron she spoke or even how most of my English words seemed in Westron. Legolas happily squeezed my shoulders and cheerfully explained, “We have plighted our troth to be wed when this war is over.”

His wording she seemed to understand, but I could still see the puzzlement in her eyes as she looked between us. A human and an elf. Talk about your extreme mix-race couple.

As we walked away from Gárwine and his family after a polite goodbye, I squeezed Legolas’s hand between us and whispered, “Thank you for pulling me away.”

“Of course,” he returned. “You seemed almost in pain. I had not realized mortal’s thoughts would be so troubling to you. Yet Gimli tells that you experienced difficulty with them before the battle upon arriving at the Deep.” I smiled, pleasantly surprised to know that he’d so accurately known what my problem was.

“Aye Lass,” Gimli added, startling me because I hadn’t realized he’d been walking on Legolas’s other side. “I hadn’t known they would bother you so either. It’s a wonder you were able to fight at ‘tall.”

“Oh, the adrenaline kicks in—” I caught their confused looks, “—that ah, rush of energy you get. Anyway, it kicks in and I’m able to block it all out pretty well. Physical contact just makes it stronger.” I shook my regretfully, realizing that as my adrenaline rush from the battle dissipated, the thoughts of the Rohirrim were starting to press down. “I thought when I first got here that I was able to keep your thoughts out easier in this world than in my own, but as it turns out, it’s just you guys. The thoughts of humans are just as hard to block out. And now I’ve gotten out of practice doing it.”

“I din’na realize it was such a struggle, Lass,” Gimli offered in an apologetic tone.

“Not your fault. We can’t help the way we’re born.”

Legolas squeezed my hand in sympathy. “If ever there is a way I might help you, know that I shall do so.”

I laughed. “You’re already doing more than you know,” I said, raising our clasped hands. “Besides, it made me who I am. And it’s been useful too. I doubt I’d ever have become a solider or a cop without it, or risen as far as I did within the ranks of the military. Being a woman soldier isn’t easy. You have to be able to do anything the men can do, and having my telepathy made me do it better. It sure made me a better sniper and for sure a hell of a lot better scout. It gave me the edge I needed to compete with and best the men.”

We walked a few paces back towards the Keep in silence before Gimli cleared his throat nervously. “So, the two of you are troth-plighted. Congratulations.” His cheeks flushed pink as he spoke and his eyes darted away. “I had not realized the two of you had become so serious so swiftly. But this dwarf could’na be happier for ye.” As he finished, he resolutely looked us in the eye, even through his blush.

I grinned but it was Legolas who spoke. “Thank you, Gimli.” He turned and looked curiously at me, “Though in truth, it came as a surprise to me as well. We had not yet discussed such a step or formally plighted our troth.”

I felt my brow rise as I teased, “Oh? If I had gotten the wrong idea from you, just let me know.”

He laughed at my teasing and brushed his lips against my forehead. “Nay, I had merely thought you requested more time. It had been my intent to wait before I asked for your hand. Until you were ready.”

Shrugging, I answered, “Life’s short. And anything could happen. Even to an immortal. I know I’ve been—casual with men in my past, but I care for you more than I ever cared for my first husband. You know the things that make me—me. You know me better than anyone else ever has.”

“You were married, Lassie?” Gimli asked, nearly stumbling in his surprise. “I’m sorry for your loss,” he hastily added.

“Nothing to be sorry for. He’s not dead. Long story, but, our marriage was dissolved because he had married my best friend.” I laughed at Gimli’s shocked face. “I told you, long story. He thought I was dead after I’d been captured by enemy troops and held captive for a few years, so he got married again. Not that it mattered, we were headed for divorce anyway,—ugh, that’s a legal way to end marriages in my world.”

Gimli shook his head and angrily growled, “The man must have been the lowest sort of scoundrel to forsake you so quickly and marry again.”

I smiled, bolstered and pleased by his faithful support of me even though he didn’t know the details.

“It was for the best, Gimli. We weren’t happy and we were never going to be happy together.”

Gimli stopped walking and we all stopped with him. “You knew about this, Legolas?” he asked, looking the elf curiously in the eye.

“Yes, Gimli. I had known,” Legolas laughed. Then his expression turned serious. “I would have known if Elaina had given her heart to this man.”

We started walking again.

“Again, as I said, congratulations to you both,” Gimli repeated.

It didn’t take long for King Théoden to regroup his forces and order them mounted for the ride to Isengard. His soldiers cast cursory glances my way, but seemed to accept for now that I would be riding among them.

The ride was long and hard, especially considering the battle that had been fought through the night and into morning. At least I hadn’t had to make the long ride before the battle like Erkenbrand’s men had had to make. And even now, Erkenbrand and many of his men were journeying with us to Isengard.

I sat gazing into the fire long after we’d stopped to rest that night, the piece of bread for my supper long forgotten in my hand as I watched the embers pop and flare in the dancing flames. Gimli snored noisily beside me, having long since eaten and found his respite. Aragorn and Gandalf had gone to further meet with the king, and Legolas had slipped away saying he was going to scout the area. I’d considered going with him, but he’d be much faster and more efficient without me as dark as it was. Not to mention the exhaustion that had settled over me once I’d slipped from Lightfoot’s saddle.

Yet, an hour later, here I sat. Staring into the flames, unable to find my own sleep. My body ached from its various cuts, bruises, and general fatigue, but the warmth of the fire eased it somewhat.

Hands gently descended onto my shoulders from behind. Startled, I looked over my shoulder to see Legolas kneel behind me.

“I should have thought you would have long since found your rest,” he whispered to me.

“Couldn’t sleep.” I shrugged.

Legolas reached around my body and lightly grasped the hand resting on the knee pulled up to my chest. Sliding the piece of bread from my grasp, he pulled a small piece apart and brought it to my mouth. “At the very least, you should finish your meal, Elaina love.”

My head shook ruefully but I obligingly ate the piece of bread. It was strangely comforting to have him fuss over me and somehow primordially satisfying to eat from his hand. Something in my head said the feminist in me should be alarmed, but maybe exhaustion had gotten the better of her too. For I could only feel comfort and satisfaction at his closeness and attentiveness.

My first husband had certainly never been that way. I leaned back into his warm chest, my head resting against his shoulder as I basked in the feeling of his strength. The feminist in me would probably reassert herself come morning, but for now, I’d cherish what I could in her absence.

I glanced again at all the sleeping soldiers around us. Now that Legolas was nearby, I could hopefully join them in slumber. Most of the Rohirrim were sleeping, but there were still enough of them awake taking their turn at guard duty that I couldn’t sleep for the pounding of their thoughts in my head. Legolas’s hands on my arms and his chest at my back, along with his soothing elvish thoughts finally allowed me some much-needed relief.

We sat together in silence for some time. Simply staring at the fire as he fed me the last bits of bread and curled some stray hairs from my braid around his fingers.

I had known for some time that elves seemed to have less physical barriers between themselves and those they cared for, but it continued to surprise me how kind and attentive he’d been towards me. Given his longstanding celibacy. Somehow, in this world, and given his lack of prior relationships, I had expected his behavior to be more circumspect and chivalrous. Not that Legolas wasn’t courteous.

From the furtive glances thrown our way by the humans, I hadn’t actually been far off in my assumption. At least as far as humans were concerned. The Rohirrim certainly seemed surprised by the lack of so-called felicitous behavior.

“Do all elves behave this way?” At his inquiring noise, I elaborated. “Maintain such physical closeness and such,” I said, gesturing to the arm once again spanning my collarbone.

His grip instantly loosened as he sat away from me while leaning further over my shoulder to look me in the eye. “If I have overstepped my bounds and made you uncomfortable, I apologize. You seemed to find comfort in my touch and to be quite truthful; I find that I too have found great comfort in touching your skin. In holding you close.”

I gripped his forearm before he could pull further away from me. “No. You’re right. I do find comfort in it. You help me to focus my mind in ways you can’t even imagine. And I’m thrilled by the thought that you get any kind of comfort from it as well. I’ve just been curious I guess. I knew humans in my world who were always seeking physical closeness and contact with others. Those who cuddled—I guess for lack of a better word. But I was never one of those people and I guess I figured everyone would be that way here. I mean—I saw that elves in Lothlórien were very comfortable with touching each other, and we’ve certainly held hands many times on our journey, but I still hadn’t expected you to so casually embrace and touch me when we aren’t married yet.”

He slowly wrapped his arms around me again, as though giving me plenty of opportunity to pull away. “Elves are not as mortal man. We behave as we feel natural. We do follow proper decorum, especially when in the presence of mortals, but elves amongst other elves invariably act in accordance with the emotions of those around us, not the strange customs that prevent man from offering the comfort of even a single touch to each other. However, elves are also taught to refrain from such closeness when mortals are near. Giving and receiving an embrace is understood amongst elf-kind as a gesture of friendship and comfort, yet we know mortals interpret actions differently and thus misconstrue actions that seem only natural to us.”

He was silent for several moments, lost in silent contemplation, but then he continued. “Perhaps I am not as other elves. Others of my kindred would invariably say that I have been too forward in my actions with you, given that I have not yet properly gone about plighting our troth, let alone wedding you as I should before I act so boldly, but I cannot bring myself to stay from you. There is a closeness I feel when I touch you that leaves me feeling hollow and alone when your skin is not beneath my fingertips. And there is such a deep satisfaction I experience when I touch you and see just how much your mind is eased by my presence.”

He shook his head and chuckled lightly, leaning over my shoulder to peer around into my eyes. “You said you had been more as the mortals here,” he said, gesturing to the sleeping Rohirrim, “and I knew you were often uncomfortable along our journey when I took your hand. Are you certain you are not uncomfortable with my closeness?”

Shaking my head, I smiled at the notion that the virgin between us was unperturbed by such closeness, while I had been uncomfortable, and so I answered him as honestly as I could, “I was uncomfortable at first, and to be honest, I am actually kinda surprised at myself. Like I said, I never was a ‘cuddler’ before, but it seems easy with you now. I feel like something has clicked into place between us. And honestly, after nearly losing you, I’m almost afraid to let go of you. It was different when I wasn’t sure what was between us, or even what I felt about you, but things have changed so much. Ever since I nearly lost you, I guess I finally realized just how much I nearly lost. And given how much I do feel for you, I guess it only seems right to be so close with you.”

I ducked my head and looked away, knowing I was copping out by not saying the words now. I’d said them earlier when I was ecstatic at Legolas’s return, but I couldn’t bring myself to say them now. Not that I didn’t feel them. But he’d wanted to hear them when they were spoken only with joy. And during a conversation about the vast differences in our races didn’t seem like the right time.

And just maybe, I was being a bit of a coward. Afraid to say the words now that I’d had time to think.

I remembered the destitution in my mother’s eyes when she’d finally come to see the man she loved for the monster he’d always been.

Maybe it made me cautious. Or maybe it really did just make me a coward.

“What are the customs of your people for engagements and weddings?” I asked curiously, remembering him saying something about not properly plighting our troth, and wanting to change the subject.

I could hear the smile in his voice as he pulled me back against his chest again and spoke quietly in my ear. “There are no set traditions followed by all elven couples. Some follow traditions passed through generations of families, while some couples plight their troth and wed almost upon first meeting. Love happens very swiftly for many elves. But in cases where elves do not wed so quickly and wish to give their families time to come together and accept their union, there can be a feast to celebrate the plighting of their troth before the couple comes together as one. At the feast, it is typical for their friends and families to bestow gifts for their new life together. In the cases where ellon and elleth join beforehand, a celebratory feast is often held after to bestow the same sorts of gifts.”

“You don’t have wedding ceremonies like humans do?”

He shook his head. “Nay, not normally. At times, high-born elves or prominent elves of different clans have wed in similar ceremonies as those of mortal men but it has been many long years since such a ceremony was held.”

“But you’re a prince. Will your father expect some kind of ceremony?”

Again, he shook his head. “My father knows I have no interest in the crown and that I would never care for such formalities.”

Silence fell again.

Legolas gently nudged my shoulder with his chin. “What of your people’s customs? I would be happy to honor whatever traditions you would wish, Elaina love.”

I shrugged. I’d already done the typical white-dress-in-a-church American wedding. “I guess it’s typical in my country to have an engagement period before the wedding, marked by an engagement ring given by the man to symbolize the woman’s promise to marry him. Then the wedding ceremony is usually a gathering of close friends and family where the couple swears to love, honor, and obey each other. Although, I never did allow the word obey in my wedding ceremony. And there are lots of other traditions I guess. But that’s the gist.”

Legolas considered my words, and then I felt him move around behind me. He spoke as his arms came back to encircle me. “It is also a custom of elves to mark the union of two souls with a ring given by the ellon. My own mother left me a ring to give to my match before she departed for the shores of Valinor. I have carried it with me ever since.”

He opened his hand in front of me and I finally glanced down at his open palm. A silver band with a brilliant red stone sparkled in the firelight against his skin.

“Are you—” I managed to choke out before my voice caught.

He brought his palm closer to my face, waiting for me to claim it. “Yes, I am asking for your hand,” he responded, a smile and laughter in his soft words.

It wasn’t the traditional getting down on one knee from my world, but being wrapped in Legolas’s soft touch and his comforting embrace felt infinitely more intimate. And I found myself thinking that every woman should have a man propose to her in that fashion.

“Yes,” I whispered in a choked voice. Gingerly plucking the beautiful ring from his palm. It wasn’t a sparkling diamond, but I found I preferred the radiant red stone. It seemed to light in color to be a ruby, but richer than any garnet I’d seen. The gleaming silver was intricately etched with vines and flowers to wrap around the band, the prongs that held the stone appearing more as flowers blooming around the stone than securing it.

I continued to hold it for several moments. Almost afraid to take the next step and slide it onto my finger.

Legolas had no qualms. His left hand gently took it back as he carefully maneuvered it down my ring finger and past the joint.

“It fits perfectly,” I marveled. “Almost like it was made for me.”

Satisfaction laced his voice as he spoke, deepening his timber. “Perhaps it was. Elves believe there is only one other made for each of us.” As he spoke, his left hand held onto mine, his fingers soothingly caressing the rough skin of my knuckles and fingers.

“Are there any other customs of your people? I like this tradition of a ring to mark our troth.”

I thought about all those typical traditions. The white dress, the veil, the throwing of rice, the cake. I’d done them all before. Following all the typical traditions with my first husband that was expected of me.

“My mother’s family is Celtic, so they always followed a few different traditions in accordance, but I remember one of the most important ones that stood out in my memory of a cousin’s wedding before my mother died was the handfasting.”

“Handfasting?” he repeated curiously.

I looked down at his left hand still entwined with my own. “There were lots of Celtic traditions I don’t remember very well at my cousin’s wedding—I was only about two-years-old—but the hand-fasting was what stood out in my mind the most. At the ceremony, the bride and groom stand together with their hands clasped and a ribbon is tied around their joined hands. The tradition varies from family to family, but I remember my cousin had her hand joined with her new husband’s throughout the entire wedding feast and then it was supposed to remain tied throughout the night as a symbol of their eternal unity. Come morning, the ribbon was cut and placed above the mantel with other wedding tokens that were meant for good luck to the couple. Celts believed in doing a lot of things like that to bring the couple luck.”

“What of your father’s people? Did they have any wedding customs?”

I stiffened at the question, but Legolas soothingly stroked my hand and arms. “I don’t know,” I answered shortly. “I’ve never known as much about those kinds of customs among the Fae I guess. They don’t really believe in love, so marriages for them are strictly political alliances meant to further their standing and their family’s standing. Children are born to the Fae both in and out-of-wedlock and it’s never really mattered to them. The Celts have more wedding traditions concerning fairies than the fairies have for themselves. It was said that fairies especially liked to steal brides on her wedding day and so Celts developed many traditions intended to ward the Fae away on the wedding day. There’s supposed to be old magic in many of the old Celt clans, and the Fae are said to like both breeding with Celts and eating them best.”

Legolas could no doubt hear the bitterness in my voice and continued to soothingly stroke my skin, not saying anything for several moments.

“I am sorry for bringing the matter up. I was merely curious. Your tradition of handfasting sounds very lovely to me,” he whispered softly.

I nodded. “It always seemed lovely to me too.” Though I’d never done anything in my first wedding other than the typical wedding customs, I found I liked the idea of a few of my mother’s family’s old customs. It had been a long time since I’d thought about them, but I had as much of my mother’s Celtic blood in me as I did my father’s Fae blood. Maybe it was time I stopped dwelling on the Fae blood and remember the better side of my heritage.

Exhaustion finally claimed me, causing me to sink back further into Legolas as my weary body shut down.

The day had been long. A battle hard-fought to save the lives of innocent women and children, and the night had ended with a sudden engagement.

Sleep was sparse for all that night. Darkness ever encroached and even the men could hear the swooping flight of the great beasts flying overhead, unnerving them, and keeping them from their sleep.

Yet dawn came again, and our journey was once more joined.

Legolas and I parted that morning without any words. Only a soft kiss goodbye.

I knew by his look that he would rather I ride by his side at the front with the van, and he knew by my own that I would not. Words were not necessary.

As grateful as I was for Legolas’s quiet and comforting presence, I needed to be able to stand on my own. It had become difficult to block human minds out because I’d gotten out of practice, and I needed to force myself to endure the thoughts of the Rohirrim.

No matter how much my own mind reminded me that retreating into Legolas’s soothing thoughts was easier. Sometimes we had to force ourselves to do the hard things in order just to remain sane.

Throughout the next day’s ride, I caught many of the curious thoughts of the Rohirrim around me. I may not have spoken their language, but I understood the emotions and imagery behind many of their thoughts. The suppositions circulating in their thoughts concerning me were common. Even in the world I’d come from.

I’d seen a taste of it in Lórien, but the humans surrounding me didn’t have quite the same tact in their private wonderings about the lone woman traveling such distances with a group of all males. I didn’t blame the Rohirrim. Their wonderings were in their minds. I’d been used to having those accusations thrown at my face.

But as the wonderings of the Rohirrim passed from idle thoughts to whispered claims, I wondered why I didn’t feel the need to address the men here, as I would have once handled them.

In the Marines, and even as a detective on the Chicago police force, I’d have confronted any such gossip head on with my own verbal attack, or even some kind of physical challenge to prove to the men that I more than earned my place and rank based on my own merit alone. That no other kinds of physical wiles were necessary. I’d even been known to throw lewd comments back at them to make them uncomfortable.

Yet as I rode, I felt no urge to engage them in any of my previous ploys. Legolas had heard and seen the glances as well—though I doubted he understood the extent—and had coolly ignored it.

Just as I was.

It was startling to see such a change in myself. That I didn’t feel the same urge to so prove myself as I had before.

Startling—and more than a bit unsettling.

Did I really want to let a man—err, elf—so change me?

And was it him changing me, or was I changing myself?


A/N: Eeeekkkk! I am SO SORRY for how long it took me to get this out to you guys. I never intended to let it go this long!

I raise Welsh Corgis along with all the other many things I do, and the two litters I had this spring both had to be weaned shortly after I wrote the last chapter, and then they become quite the handful until they’re ready to be sold and go to new families. And even after the last one went to her new home, I suddenly found myself in summer with all the busy things that go along with that.

*Sigh* But I finally got this chapter finished and the next one is already partly worked on. Just need to finish writing the rest of it. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get out!

And I’m sorry that there wasn’t a lot of action in this chapter. It was more transitional and some important steps had to be taken with Legolas and Lane. The next chapter should be the last chapter of the second book (I know this book always seemed shorter to me) and it’ll have a lot more action.

So, sorry again for my sudden absence. I can’t promise I’ll be able to maintain a great posting schedule throughout the summer. Summer is usually chaotic at best for me, but I’ll do my best not to leave you hanging like this again.

And again, WOW, thanks to all the new followers of this story, and thanks so much to those of you who graciously leave me some feedback on the story to kick my butt into gear and get me writing again. You guys are all great!

Happy Memorial Day! And let me know what you thought!


Chapter 5: The Parting Glass


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