Summary: Does it really matter if I admire him? she wondered. I know he'd never look twice at me. One maid watches, unknowing she is watched in return. Haldir/OFC

The Forest Maiden's View

Taurwen sighed and leaned her chin into her hand. What a fabulous backside that ellon had! She stood leaning against the talan railing, watching that tight arse until it moved out of sight, blending back into the forest, then she continued to lean, lost in fanciful imaginings.


She jumped and spun around, staring wide-eyed at her mother who stood just behind her. Maeneth stood with her hands on her hips, glaring at her daughter.

Taurwen gulped and clasped her hands primly before her, managing a small smile. "Yes, Naneth?" she asked, trying not to grimace at her mother's sour expression.

"Tell me you are not still pining after that warden!" When Taurwen could not stop the wince, her mother continued her lecture. "He doesn't know you exist, child! He is a warrior, and you are just a forest maiden!"

And well do I know it, Naneth, for you never fail to let me forget it! Taurwen knew she was no one of consequence, nor was she a great beauty such as the Lady's granddaughter, Arwen. She had no great skills with thread or instrument, and held no place in the Lady's affections or doings. No, she was just plain, ordinary Taurwen, a simple forest maiden with a simple forest life…who also happened to be rather enthralled with the backside of a certain warrior who frequently passed by. She bit back a grin.

"I saw that!" her mother snapped, eyes flashing. "Don't you think for one moment I don't know where your eyes stray when that one walks by! It's not proper!" And with that Maeneth stormed back to whatever she had been doing before so rudely interrupting Taurwen's daydreams.

Does it really matter if I admire him? she wondered. I know he'd never look twice at me. She sighed. Really, she just could not help admiring that fine arse of his when his path took him past her family's talan. It was not HER fault he had such a fine piece of anatomy! Her lips curved upwards as she wondered about the rest of his anatomy.

"TAURWEN!" She grimaced, and realized her mother had returned. "Enough, child! Back to work!"

"Yes, Naneth," she murmured, but inwardly she continued to see him walking past her section of the talan, his tunic – split in the back for ease of movement – giving her an eyeful, it was NOT her fault she had developed this obsession. One simply could not miss those taut muscles as they bunched and bulged under his tight leggings! Why, the branches he took on his patrols led him past at just the right height for her to enjoy the view! And what a view… Absently, her fingers continued with the mending. If only…

But while she enjoyed many fantasies of 'if only', deep inside she knew such encounters would never happen. She was a nameless entity of the Goldenwood, just one of many he happened across on his forays to and from the fences. One day some ordinary forester would ask for her hand, and she would accept and all such dreams would have to be left behind, but for now… For now, she dreamed as her fingers moved, and oh! Those dreams left her with a healthy flush to her cheeks and a warmth in her belly…and a longing in her heart that she knew would never be fulfilled. Why, she did not even know his name!

Haldir sat silent as Lothul spoke on and on about… Well, he really had no idea what she was speaking about. The elleth was the most boring creature he had ever encountered! He had long learned to block her out. So long as he smiled, grunted and nodded at the right places – easily discerned by her tone of voice alone – he could allow his thoughts to roam to other things. Since his introduction to Lothul, he had thought of better strategies for patrolling the wood, invented a new method of bending the wood to make new bows, and this evening, considered the best way to extract himself from the sticky situation in which he found himself.

His mother had been most insistent that he spend time with Lothul. She wished him to settle down and wed and had picked a likely maiden to distract him from his duties. Beautiful with her pale gold hair and sparkling blue eyes, skin like fresh cream and a figure to make any man stop and smile (or leer), Haldir had at first been eager to spend time with Lothul. Now he would do almost anything to remove himself from her presence!

He knew his mother wished an announcement to be made, but nothing would persuade Haldir to offer for this maiden. With the exception of her looks, she lacked anything to hold his interest, and for him, looks only distracted him so long. Oh, he supposed other ellith might find her ramblings about dresses and hairstyles to be interesting, but he could care less about what color she wore, or how she styled her hair, or whether or not…well, whatever she was blathering on about this eve. He really could not be bothered to listen and bit back a yawn.

Finally, he felt the time had come when he could politely take his leave. He stood and bowed. "If you will be so kind as to excuse me, I must depart. I have duties to attend…" His voice trailed off as instead of coyly lowering her head and fluttering her eyelashes up at him, she stood up and smiled at him.

"Stay," she breathed, leaning close, her eyes slipping closed as her rose-colored lips pursed.

Haldir's brows shot up and his eyes widened as they focused on those lips moving closer to his drew back, appalled. The woman was too forward! She continued to lean towards him, but instead of coming up against him, she found only air and stumbled. Her eyes snapped open and she frowned at him.

He smiled stiffly. "I really must be going. It was a pleasant evening, Lothul. I wish you a good night." And with that, he turned on his heel and marched out of the room, determined not to accept any further invitations. Perhaps he could persuade his captain to assign him to the far fences for a time. Let his mother fret! It would serve her right for making him endure so many boring evenings!

Slipping out into the cool night air, Haldir took to the trees. He quickly made his way from the city of Carad Galadhon, feeling as if he were fleeing an enemy. He made no note of his direction, only ran lightly across the branches, feeling the wind tease his hair and the moon urge him on.

The faint sound of singing slowed his steps. He looked around, recognized where his feet had led him and smiled. How many times had he come to hear her sing? She had the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, clear as a bell and soothing to his heart. She sang of flowing water, of trees tall and the wind singing through the branches.

He moved closer, taking care not to be seen. When he reached a certain spot, he pressed his back to the trunk of the tree, and slid down it, leaning back with his ankles crossed on the wide limb on which he had taken refuge. Just ahead, through the darkened trees, he could see the lights of her family's talan; and there, at the railing, looking up at the trees above, stood the forest maid that had captured his interest many moons ago.

Since that first night he had stumbled across her singing, he had changed his path through the woods, so that he would pass her talan on his way to and from the fences. He had yet to build up the courage to stop and speak to her. What would one such as she wish to do with him? She was wild and free, her heart given to the forest. He was nothing more than a warrior, a simple warden of no rank, one among many. He would more easily win the affections of Lothul than this slender sprite of the wood. But how could he sentence himself to such a life? He preferred the forest to life in the Lady's city. He could not imagine Lothul running through the trees with him or bathing in a quiet forest pool.

As he watched his forest maid, she glanced over her shoulder towards the talan, then slipped over the rail to balance easily on a branch. One more glance and then she was off, racing along the branches as nimble as a squirrel, her bare feet and legs a flash of white against the dark trees a she raised her skirts in her flight. With a grin, he followed at a distance, never close enough to be seen. When she descended, he remained further up in the branches, watching as she made her way to the forest floor and to the silvery pool, shining under the waxing moon.

Her dress slipped from slim shoulders, revealing her slender back and hips. His eyes caressed her rounded backside and then traveled down her shapely legs as her toes dipped into the pool's surface. He watched over her as she swam in the moonlight, her dark hair becoming a shimmering river down her back when she stood. How he longed to run his hands through those thick tresses, to feel her body pressed against his own. Oh if only he could bring himself to speak to her! Would she laugh at his jokes? Or would she smile coyly and flip that long hair flirtatiously over a shoulder? Would she listen to his concerns? Praise him when he invented new things? Enthrall him with tales of her own life?

He swallowed as she stood and made her way out of the pond. She sat beside the pool as the night air caressed her body, drying it. Oh, to be the air! To be the wind running its fingers through her hair or the moonlight kissing her shoulders – to be the drops of water trailing over her skin.

Disappointment filled him as she donned her dress and slipped back up into the trees. He hated to see her go. She would return to her home and retire for the night, and he would be left alone. Sadly, he followed her back, watching to make sure nothing hampered her way. When she slipped from his sight, he sat back against the trunk of his watching tree and just stared at the talan railing where she usually stood. He felt as if something important were missing.

He missed her song, the sound of her laugh and the hope he found in her eyes.

Taurwen once again stood at the rail, waiting. She hoped she had not missed him. It was usually this time of day that he passed by, heading towards Caras Galadhon. Today she would gather her courage and she would speak to him! Just a greeting in passing, she told herself. She was determined to make some effort. He would never see her as more than a simple wood-maid paying him greetings as he passed, but if he looked her way and smiled, she would cherish the moment in her heart.

The slightest rustle warned her of his approach. She turned, her eyes alighting on him as he strode towards her talan. She inhaled, preparing to send out a greeting.

"Good day to you!" He smiled and slowed as he offered greetings.

Taurwen blinked. He had called to her! A smile tugged at her lips. "And a good day to you!" she returned. For a moment their eyes met, and then he was past, continuing on through the trees.

She was only a simple wood-maid, but he had stopped and greeted her. Perhaps one day she might engage him in further conversation, but for now, Taurwen watched him go, her eyes fixed on his tight arse, watching it bunch as he moved. She really did have the best view in all the wood.

I have not yet decided if this is the end, or if I shall continue with this tale. It all depends on the muse.


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