My name is Haldir, formerly of Middle-earth and now of Valinor. I was born into a Silvan family in Lothlórien in the late Second Age. That legendary forestland, often called the Golden Wood, lay between the Great River Anduin and the Silverlode. For all but the last few years of my life in Middle-earth, the city of Caras Galadhon had been my only home.
Lord Celeborn ruled Lothlórien, along with Lady Galadriel. Formerly of Doriath, well versed in wood lore and aware of the dangers of living in a protected enclave, Celeborn was also the commander-in-chief of the Silvan and Sindarin warriors who were trained to watch over our borders. It is true our Lady Galadriel held one of the great Elven rings crafted in Eriador, Nenya the Ring of Water, and that she used it to nurture, defend, and conceal our land as well. But magic without the will and effort of Elves like myself to aid it would not have been sufficient to maintain our independence in those dark days.
From my youth I trained as a warrior and my primary concern was the protection of my homeland. Finally, in my prime, I was appointed chief of the marchwardens of Lothlórien and served in that capacity until the last of us left our beloved Golden Wood.
The custom of the Silvan people was to marry young, in the first flush of their maturity, and to bear children soon thereafter. The exception to that rule encompassed the career warriors. Death was no stranger to us. Long periods away from home on patrols made up the cycle of our daily life. Those circumstances led many of us to postpone uniting our fate with that of another, since they would have led us to leave a wife and children alone for much of their lives.
I assumed that someday I would either fall in battle or, if we triumphed in that final victory over our Enemy, I might begin a family of my own. The realization crept slowly upon me that the success we hoped for would not be a victory for our way of life and our continued existence in those parts, but would be the beginning of the Age of Men. And, shortly thereafter, I realized that I had not mourned my solitary state largely because men and not women attracted me. With the indefatigability of spirit that had driven my ancestors to survive in a world that was never safe or easy, I turned with affection and humor to certain of my fellow warriors for respite and physical release. But I had not yet found one who fully engaged my heart.
I will not repeat the tale of the late Second Age and Third Age, which was the backdrop to my life in Middle-earth. I was born into and lived during a time that has been well documented. But I would like to tell the story of my life from the beginning of the Fourth Age, after the fall of Sauron and the end of the time of the Elves in Middle-earth, until the present day. For my part, this has been a period during which everything I thought I knew and understood transformed.
I watched our lady's eyes as she bid her last farewell to her husband. Something about her manner and the set of her jaw told me she was not pleased to leave without him and perhaps, much as I was, she might even have been uncertain if he would follow her as he had promised. If the whole truth be told, I was not sure I trusted my lord to ever leave those shores at all. Yet, when Lord Celeborn asked me to stay until he was ready to sail, I agreed.
A substantial group of us, trusted warriors and woodsmen all, sworn protectors of our fabled wood, were honored by his petition. He insisted it was a request, that the choice remained wholly our own. But, after years of loyalty and service, the possibility of refusal was never an option for me.
I had thought when Lady Galadriel and most of the others had left the Golden Wood that I would feel old, bereft, insubstantial, that I might experience something akin to the legendary fading. Were we not living anachronisms? At very best I hoped it would be a state of painless stasis. It was only a short while, however, after the majority had left, that we began to feel a change come over us. Very few intact families had remained and almost no single women. Those of us who stayed were, for the most part, confirmed bachelors like myself, long accustomed to putting responsibility to our lord and lady, our people, and the forest we protected, before our personal lives. But, strangely we soon found our duties to be light for the first time.
My Lord Celeborn altered in his appearance and demeanor even more than my comrades of the forest guard. Instead of wasting in grief or falling into lethargy over the loss of his lady and the certain demise of our land, he affected a new lightness in his step and a greater freeness of manner. With an almost youthful enthusiasm, he filled my evenings with details of plans and projects for what he had taken to calling the deconstruction of the Wood. We drank copious amounts of wine in the process of these discussions. He claimed that since we had lived at the sufferance of the forest for so many years, before we took our leave, that we ought to restore it as nearly as possible to its natural state. I became increasingly aware that I knew surprisingly little of the life and nature of my lord.
He and I together, much as we once had organized the deployment of the forest guards, fussed over work lists for tearing down abandoned outlying telain. Celeborn insisted upon participating along with the rest of us on the physically taxing work brigades. I was surprised to find that he was highly skilled and took pleasure in the exertion. Later we began the heavier work of dismantling the city of Caras Galadhon itself.
telain - Sindarin, plural of talan
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.