A fanfic about an adventurous hobbit and her elf rescuer.
First: A hobbit in trouble
Mentha pushed herself through another bush and tried to keep up with the swift elf. She was used to go through the forest off road, but this. This was something else. Panting she stumbled forward wondering where they were headed. She had completely lost her sense of direction and as she looked up to locate the sun, her foot was caught by a nasty root and she fell hard to the ground. Again. She was like a noisy and clumsy boar next to that elf.
“Wait!” she called from the ground as she pulled her foot lose and got up.
With a few light steps he came back to her.
“You have to slow down,” she said and felt awfully embarrassed. “I can’t… I can’t follow that speed. Short legs you know.” She stretched her leg at him, and he stared at it like he had never seen a leg before.
“I… My apologies, new friend. I didn’t realize… I’ve never travelled with one of… Of your size.” He looked like the last word tasted bad and her heart fell. Was she really so awful in his eyes?
She lifted her chin.
“And I’m not used to travel with someone of your size.”
At first, he looked perplexed, then a hint of a smile.
“Of course. Forgive me for being so emptyheaded.”
Emptyheaded? Maybe he actually was trying to be polite. Everything about him confused her. He pointed at a fallen trunk.
“Let’s take a short rest?” he suggested.
“I don’t need to rest,” she said stubbornly still trying to catch her breath.
“Of course not, but for my sake then?”
Was he teasing her? There was that almost-smile again. Elves were hard to read, she decided.
He sat down on the trunk and managed to look gracious doing such a small and mundane thing. Mentha sat beside him, her legs dangling in the air a few feet above the grass. It was him who finally broke the awkward silence.
“So… What were you doing so far from home?”
“To be honest… I don’t know. I was just following the trail, I must have lost track of time. Suddenly those humans chased me, and I got caught in the net and then you showed up. Luckily.”
“Luckily indeed. Those ignorant humans are dangerous.”
“Why would they want to take my head?”
She finally managed to look up at him. His face darkened.
“The woods are getting more dangerous. More and more scoundrels, bounty hunters and those who are worse, are lurking around. People who are not usually in these parts of the woods.”
“Like you,” Mentha said before she could stop herself.
“You are far away from home too. I’ve never seen an elf before.”
“We worry about these shady beings. And the reasons they are here. Dark creatures are moving beyond the forest, attracting all kinds of dangerous people.”
“We, the elves of Feëri.”
“So you guard the forest around here?”
“Not so much guard as keeping an eye out.” He turned to look at her. “But let’s not talk about such dark things. I’m glad I was around to save you.”
His eyes were eternal blue, like the sky on a hot summer day. Mentha got the same feeling looking into them, as she would looking at the sky; like she could fall into the blue and disappear.
“Me too,” she said quietly. “I like my head where it is.”
“So do I.” He reached out to tuck one of her wild locks of hair but stopped as he realized what he was doing. “Oh! Sorry.” He quickly withdrew his hand and seemed to not know where to put it. At last he placed it awkwardly on the trunk.
“Oh, it’s okay. I don’t mind.” She couldn’t help but touching her hair.
He looked down, clearly embarrassed, and his long blond hair fell down as a curtain, hiding his face. Her heart was beating so hard that she could almost taste it. She bit her lip and reached out to place her own small hand on top of his. He looked up at her again.
“You are so different from anyone I’ve ever met that I forget myself. I don’t even know your name.”
“I’m Mentha. Mentha Greenhill. But-“
“The sun is setting,” he interrupted and got up. “We better get going. You need to be out of the woods before dark.”
Again, without look at her, he set off. She sighed and jumped off the trunk to follow him.
Soon they got onto the road again and Mentha recognized an old dead tree right ahead. The sun was low, and shadows was sharpening as they do at sunset.
“I believe you can find your way home from here.”
“I’ve been here a thousand times, it’s a five minutes’ walk to town.”
The elf hesitated then said:
“It was nice to meet you, Mentha Greenhill. Stay safe.”
Before she could reply he was off into the woods and gone. She felt a sting in her chest. He took off just like that? Would she ever see him again?