Talathiel had always wanted to be a healer since she was just an elfling. She would spend hours watching her mother mix this and that or crush up the dried leaves of plants. Healing was in her blood. When she reached her majority age, she began her training right away. Her most favorite thing to do was to gather the herbs needed. This was how she started her training. She would go out in the morning and collect the leaves, berries and roots of certain plants. She already had a good understanding of them and knew how to identify them clearly.
One bright morning, she was in the woods collecting the basics needed for the simple cures. She had been out most of the morning but her basket was only half full. Soon she would need to move on to a new area where the supplies were not quite diminished yet. This place had been picked clean.
Talathiel was on her hands and knees, digging up some roots when she heard a rustling of the nearby bushes. She stuck her head up to see what was approaching and came face to face with a blond blur. She was suddenly knocked backwards as she was run over by someone. Her basket went flying, her dress was soiled and an out of breath ellon lay on the ground next to her. He quickly realized what had just happened and stood up.
“Are you alright my lady? I am sorry. I did not see you there.” he said rather concerned.
Talathiel was furious. “Foolish ellon.” she said looking about the ground. Fresh picked leaves were smashed. The berries were squashed into the ground. “Do you know how long it took me to collect this small amount? Ruined. Absolutely ruined. Now I must start over. You have cost me half a day’s work. I will not hear the end of it from the Master Healer.” she ranted.
The ellon immediately kneeled down beside her to see if anything could be salvaged. “Truly I am sorry. Please let me help you.”
“There is nothing left here. Now I must search for a new place.” she complained. Talathiel looked the ellon up and down, daggers flying from her angry eyes. “And just where were you going in such a hurry?”
He smiled. “Why, the cooks are just about done with a batch of sweet rolls. If we are not there as soon as they come out of the oven, there will be none left.”
Talathiel rolled her eyes and stood up, dusting off her dress. “So I am to be reprimanded over sweet rolls. Next time I suggest you watch where you are going.” She picked up her basket and found the handle to be broken. She sighed and looked at the kneeling ellon again, extending a hand to him. “What is your name so that I will know what curse to put upon your head?” she said helping him up.
He chuckled under his breath just in case she was serious. “I am Haldir. And what is your name so I will know who cursed me when things start going wrong?”
“My name is Talathiel.” she said still looking around the ground at the damage.
“That is an odd name.” he dared to say to an already angry elleth.
“First you run me over and destroy my mornings work and now you make fun of my name? Has no one ever taught you any manners?” she countered.
“Your name means plain and you are anything but.” Haldir said charmingly.
Talathiel was in no mood. “Haldir, I can’t say it has been a pleasure meeting you and now I must get back to work. Go on before your ‘sweet rolls’ are all gone.” she said putting emphasis on the word. She turned to leave mumbling under her breath. “It must be nice to not have a care in the world except for sweet treats. I never get sweet rolls. And now I may not have a job anymore.”
Haldir heard her complaining and started to follow her when someone called his name. “Haldir, what are you doing? There will be none left if you don’t hurry.”
He turned to see his brothers Rumil and Orophin standing there. “I was just…”
“Let’s go dear brother. We can wait no longer or we will go without you.” Rumil said.
Haldir stood a moment, looking back at Talathiel as she walked away, still mumbling about losing her job. Then he looked at his smiling brothers as they gestured for him to follow. He could not resist his brother’s pleas or the enticement of sweet rolls and followed them. Still, his mind was feeling guilty for not helping Talathiel. After all it was his fault she would get in trouble.
- ^ - ^ - ^ -
Talathiel arrived at the healing talan with less than half of a broken basket of herbs. She found no berries and little in the way of roots. She stood before the Master Healer, dusty dress and a smudge of dirt on her face. The healer eyed her. “You are late. You should have been back hours ago or at least with a full basket for the length of time you have been gone.”
She knew there was no excuse that would be good enough and didn’t bother telling him about her run in with Haldir. “I am sorry Master Healer. The supplies were becoming depleted in the one area I frequent so I had to look elsewhere. I did not find much there either. I will try harder tomorrow.”
The Master Healer shook his head. “Tomorrow then.” he said.
This gladdened her heart for she knew she still held her job. Then the Master Healer smiled. “It seems you have an admirer. I know what happened this morning. A very worried ellon came here earlier with his arms full of herbs and such. He apologized on your behalf, saying it was his fault you were late. Seems he wanted to help and took it upon himself to collect a few things.” Then he laughed. “Though some of this… well, most of this is not useful. I hope he does not look to train as a healer for it does not seem to be within him.”
“Thank you Master Healer. Tomorrow I will bring back a full basket, two if it will please you.” she said eagerly.
“Talathiel, you have nothing to worry about. Though I do not say it often, I think you have quite a future as a healer. You are talented and have an eye for it. As a matter of fact, I think you are ready to advance to the next step of mixing and preparing the medicines. This will be a more extensive training and will require many hours in the Healing House. Are you up to the challenge?”
She smiled. “Yes, of course Master Healer. When should I start?”
“Go out once more and collect. Then we will begin.” he said bowing his head to let her know he was done for now. “Oh, I almost forgot. This ellon left you a gift.” he said handing her something wrapped in a cloth.
She carefully opened it to find a sweet roll inside. She smiled to herself. Talathiel bowed and thanked him once more, leaving the talan. What started out as the worst day ever ended on a bittersweet note. Now she was feeling slightly guilty for yelling at Haldir. It seemed he had done more than enough to try and make it up to her. She would be sure to speak to him about it the next time she saw him.
- ^ - ^ - ^ -
The next morning she set out bright and early. She would stop here and there to pick this and that but still hadn’t found that one spot where she could fill her basket. As she leaned down to pick some berries, she felt a presence behind her. “I know where you might find a fresh supply of herbs.”
She spun around rather quickly. “Haldir, I did not expect to see you again so soon. Come to run over a helpless elleth again?” she giggled.
“Still, I am so sorry. It troubled my mind and I could not just sit by and not help. I hope you did not mind.”
“Thank you so much for your kindness. I am sorry if I was so upset with you. You did not have to help you know.” she smiled slightly.
Haldir noticed a faint blush on her cheeks. She really was a very lovely elleth. “Did you enjoy the treat?”
“Very much so. Now I see why you were in such a rush.”
“And was the Master Healer pleased with my collection?”
“Well, he was grateful but hopes you do not seek a future in healing.”
They both laughed before their eyes locked. Talathiel thought Haldir was quite handsome. She had not noticed the day before. He had the most charming smile and his laughter was contagious. “I would like to thank you properly. Would you care to join me for dinner tonight Haldir? This may be the last time you will see me for a while.”
Haldir looked concerned. “And why is that?”
Talathiel smiled. “Because tomorrow I start my training in preparing the plants. I am one step closer to becoming a healer in Lorien.”
Haldir was glad that was all it was. He had just met Talathiel but already felt an attraction to her. He would not have wanted her to leave. “Congratulations Talathiel. This is surely wonderful news. As a matter of fact I would love to join you tonight. I have my own bit of good news to celebrate.”
“And what is that?” she asked curiously.
“I have been chosen, along with my two brothers, to train as a Galadhrim. We are to become guards of the city.” he smiled proudly.
“This is wonderful news. I feel safer already, as long as you stay away from the herb gardens.” she laughed. Haldir joined her.
“Tonight then. I will meet you outside the dining hall. I look forward to more conversations with you Talathiel.” he said, his voice very smooth. Talathiel couldn’t help but notice a shiver that ran through her spine at the sound of his voice.
Later, Talathiel arrived at the hall and there was Haldir just as he said he would be. He looked even more handsome as he seemed to have put on his best tunic and loosely braided his hair at the sides. He smiled as she approached and she thought she might melt. There was a definite attraction developing between them.
Haldir held his hand out to her and captured her fingers lightly. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it. “You look very lovely tonight Talathiel.”
She blushed and thanked him. Then they entered the dining hall where they found a quiet table for two. There they ate and drank, enjoying each other’s company. They shared stories and laughs. It was a wonderful night, but it ended too soon.
“Haldir, you have been the most enjoyable company tonight, but I’m afraid I must get back to my home. Tomorrow starts a new journey for me. Maybe we can share in another evening like this one again soon.” she said and laid her hand on top of his where it rested on the table.
Haldir looked down to where they made contact. He felt the electricity and warmth of her skin on his and smiled. “I would like that very much Talathiel, though it may be a while. I head out for training tomorrow and will be gone for some months. But I will make you this promise. When I return, you will be the first one I visit.”
“And I look forward to it.” she smiled back.
They stood looking at one another. There was some recognition between them. Something wanted to surface between them. An underlying desire to stay together took them over. However, they were to follow different paths for a while.
“Until then Talathiel.” Haldir whispered.
“Yes, until then Haldir.” she answered and leaned forward, kissing him on the cheek. Then she slowly walked away.
Haldir reached up and touched his cheek as he watched her leave. He could still feel the tingle on his face where she kissed him. Now he had something to look forward to during his first reprieve from training.
Author's Chapter Notes:
This is my first story. I hope it is well recieved. Enjoy.
Chapter End Notes:
I would really appreciate some feedback. Thank you for reading.