The Bow

by Vik

The tall elf stood motionless, watching what was going on the clearing before him. Should he interrupt? But no – a smile was in his eyes – even he could be curious. Let’s see how the young one will handle the situation!

It was still early and the sun had just started to paint the clearing with it’s golden light, dancing on the leaves of the great Mallorn trees. Yet the boy had no eyes for the awakening beauty around him. He was too concentrated on the task at hand. Though obviously very young he was quite tall and the family resemblance to the figure watching him from a safe distance couldn’t be denied.

Haldir frowned. A strand of long blond hair fell in his face. He pushed it away angriely. Why was it so didfficult? It seems so easy when his father…. A silent elvish curse escaped his lips. Again! Oh, Eru! Please give me the strength! I want this so much! He sighed and looked at the object of his desire – the great bow of the Galadhrim. His fathers bow.

This morning he had taken it from it’s usual place on the talan, knowing that his father wouldn’t return until later that day. The tall boy with the keen eye was already an excellent archer with the smaller bow used for practice. But that wasn’t enough, not for him! Oh, and it was so annoying to be told again and again that he was too young and not strong enough to use the great bow. He would prove them all wrong. After all he had grown so much since last summer – he was ready now, why can’t they see it?

He looked at the bow in his left hand. The beauty of it’s intricate design brought a smile on his face. And yet – the loose bowstring on the ground seemed to mock him. He had taken the bow to practice his archery skills, but now he wasn’t even able to put the string on! He closed his eyes and tried to calm down again. This time it will work! Full of determination he picked up the bowstring again. With all the power of his slender body he tried to bend the bow and attach the string. Just..a...little...closer...

There was a singing sound in the air and he suddenly lost hold both on bow and string. The tall figure moved quickly as the boy gasped and fell on his knees.

"Son." A short, single word yet it was filled with emotions – concern, pain and love. He struggled against the overwhelming urge to take his son into his arms and ease his feelings.
Haldir looked up and seeing the love and understanding in his fathers eyes couldn’t hold back his tears. " I am so very sorry, father. I ..." he sobbed and tried helplessly to find the right words. Strong arms lifted him up and he buried his face in his fathers cloak, brushing the tears away. The warmth and the smell of herbs that he associated with his father were reassuring and comforting.

“Show me your hands.” Slowly he held up his hands. On his right palm the bowstring had left a nasty gash. “We’ll take care of that before your mother sees it.” Said the tall elf and carefully took the injured hand in his own.
“Yes, my son?”
“ I apologize for taking your bow without asking. I...know I shouldn’t have...” He was lost for words again. His fathers face was serious as he answered “I know, son. And I think that now you understand why I didn’t want you to take it.”
“Yes father.” Now sorrow was in the young ones eyes. He had feared how his father would react when he found out about him. What would be his punishment? Surely his father would think of something to make sure he won’t disobey again. But what would it be? Oh please – not Rúmil! He loved his little brother but babysitting wouldn’t turn him into a warrior of the Galadhrim!

His father had picked up the bow. With one elegant movement he attached the string. He smiled as he saw the awe in his son’s face. How well he remembered his own youth! How much he himself had longed for such a bow…

“Haldir my son. Look at this bow. Do you see the beautiful design? The inlaid leaves and the carvings?”
“Yes father.”
“ But still it is a weapon, Haldir. And a deadly one in the hands of a skilled archer. Now I know you are very good with the small bow but believe me, this one is different!” Haldir listened to his fathers words with greatest attention.
“ So to make sure you learn how to respect this weapon I think you should…..” he paused and Haldir saw a smile on his face “Ada! Tell me please!!” “You should get to know it better! When your hand is healed again we will go to Master Cúfinir and there you will learn how such a bow is made. “ The boy’s eyes seemed to sparkle with excitement! Master Cúfinir was known for making the best bows in Lothlorien – this was wonderful news! He would not disappoint his father and learn as much as possible.

“Oh father, I will learn, I promise!” “I know you will, my son. And when Cúfinir tells me that you have completed your knowledge I will personally teach you how to use the great bow.”

At this moment young Haldir was probably the happiest elf in all Middle-Earth...

“Oh and Haldir – I think your brother Rúmil is looking forward to your company until your schooling begins.”