Challenge; Dun, Chestnut, Dappled.
Characters: Tindómë and Haldir.
Disclaimer: The characters in this story do not belong to me, but are being used for amusement only, and all rights remain with the estate of JRR Tolkien.
If she could have chosen any one elf to accompany her on this journey, her husband’s eldest brother would have been her last thought.
Even Haldir’s severe single braid and stiff back, as he rode ahead on the tall dun, managed to look disapproving.
Suddenly he clapped his hand to the back of his neck and swore loudly.
He turned, a large, dead, bloodsucking insect in his hand.
Tindómë felt an urge to giggle at his affronted expression.
“I have always assumed these to be Melkor’s work – and now I find that even here, in Valinor, they still torment me!”
Heavy summer showers were clearly not Melkor’s work either for they, too, occurred here in the Blessed Lands.
Haldir had called a halt, to shelter beneath a stand of chestnuts. At least he had stopped telling her the name of every type of tree as if she didn’t know them. It had been more annoying than the stiff-backed silence.
He didn’t look as if he wanted to chat; that was fine with Tindómë. She let her thoughts drift to the pleasant hours spent beneath chestnuts when her daughter was conceived.
Haldir wondered why, when he did speak, his companion blushed.
It was that moment between sleep and wakefulness. Tree dappled light on her face told Tindómë she was not at home in bed.
Now the sunlight caught familiar pale hair. She reached up saying “Mmm… pretty elf!” but no sound came. Her head hurt. Where…? What…?
She added Who…? when, “Praise be, you are awake,” said… not Rumil!
Then came memory. The falling rock, pain… Haldir!
Thank goodness she had not been able to speak aloud.
He smiled. A genuine smile. “I hope you thought me Rumil when you called me ‘pretty’!”
‘Huitho!’ She thought, ‘he can lip read!’
The phrase 'Pretty elf' was something of an in-joke between Tindómë and her husband - first coined when she was somewhat inebriated....