As dawn broke, Haldir was no closer to finding a solution. Frustrated, he left his talan to seek help from the only elf in Arda who might be able to figure this out. He climbed the staircase of the royal talan. He spoke to a guard at the door to the council chamber and waited. The Marchwarden did not have to wait long.
"Lord Celeborn will see you," the guard when he returned, stepping aside to let the warrior pass. Haldir have a small nod of thanks before entering the chamber. The Lord of the Golden Wood turned from the window to face his Marchwarden.
"Ah, Haldir, you read my mind. I was just about to send for you."
Haldir bowed to his lord, curious as to what Celeborn wanted. His matter would have to wait. "How may I be of service, milord?"
"I have just been informed that Thurinmâr (precious treasure) has grown weary of this world and will sail west. Heading up training, preparing the young to fight and perhaps die at the hand of the growing darkness has taken its toll. He gave me the name of one who might be up to the challenge of his position. I would like your input on the matter."
"I am sorry to hear he is leaving, but I can understand. Three thousand years is a long time to train warriors. There are few in the guard who were not trained under his program. He would know the best elf for the job. Who does he recommend?" Although Haldir wanted to get to his problem, he knew this was important. The ancient warrior had set up an intensive and highly comprehensive training program. It would be a daunting task to whoever took over.
"Authion," the elf-lord said casually. "He has been working as a tutor for several of the young recruits that needed a bit of 'extra' help. All who have been sent to work with your captain have returned greatly improved. Now I know that you do not want to loose him as your second, but…"
"He would be perfect!" Haldir interrupted, a huge smile on his face. Then he sobered. "That is to say, he is an excellent captain, but I do know that he has been restless lately. I think he would be perfect."
"I am glad you feel that way. He would gain both rank and responsibility. Since you are stuck in the city with your shoulder, I though you might be able to help him get settled into the new position. Thurinmâr would like to leave with the Imladris delegation in two days time." Celeborn turned to his desk and retrieved a piece of parchment, already sealed. "I thought you might deliver the orders." He handed Haldir the parchment. "Now, you came to see me, what can I do for you?"
The Marchwarden blushed slightly. "Nothing…umm. It was nothing. I will take this right over to Authion, milord." Haldir bowed to his lord and exited with restrained excitement. He sent a prayer of thanks to the Valar. Problem one solved. This assignment put his second on equal ground. Furthermore, this came from Celeborn directly. No one would be able to say that Haldir pulled strings for personal gain. This was perfect. Now all he had to do was deliver the news.
Back in the council room, the Lord of Lothlórien smiled. He was sad to see a comrade from the earlier days go, but it seemed the old warrior's timing was just right. Celeborn had been worried that Authion would turn the appointment down, but his beloved wife assured him that would not be the case. He shook his head and chuckled. She always seemed to know *something*.
Haldir paused at the foot of the royal talan for a moment. He now understood the whispers he had heard about Authion and some of younger warriors. He was spending one-on-one time with them for training purposes. He turned towards the training field. That was where his second was sure to be. He was surprised to find the captain was not there and had not been there all morning. Haldir checked various other training areas that the illusive elf might use and came up empty. No one had seen him in the barracks or dining hall. Finally he decided to check the warrior's talan. He knocked loudly on the door. He waited patiently as the shuffling from inside grew louder. His handsome captain appeared at his door in such a state of disarray that Haldir could not suppress his gasp. The dark blond hair was tussled and green eyes were bloodshot and puffy. The elf's robe hung open, revealing a muscled chest and firm abdomen.
Quickly smoothing out his hair and pulling his robe closed, Authion cleared his throat and addressed the Marchwarden. "Sir. I was not expecting you." His voice sounder raspy and he attempted to clear it. "I…that is…how may I help you?"
If Haldir was surprised that he was not invited in, he did not show it. He was certain the older elf felt embarrassed by what had transpired the night before. As much a he wanted to throw himself at the beautiful body before him, he wanted it to be right. He opted then to give the elf a chance to get himself together. "I can see you have not started your day, yet so this can wait. I would like to see you in my office before lunch. Good day," Haldir said with a nod. He turned and descended the stairs from the talan, hearing the door click behind him. He wondered what thoughts were racing through his friend's mind at the moment. He ran back to his talan, changed into his uniform and headed to the barracks.
Authion arrived moments after Haldir, his hair wet but combed, his appearance neat, although his eyes were still a bit red. He knocked at Haldir's office door, waiting to be acknowledged. Haldir pretended to be engrossed in his paperwork and said without looking up, "Tell Serindë that we are not to be disturbed unless there is a Balrog in the city, then come in and close the door behind you."
The captain did as he was directed and came to stand before Haldir's desk. Authion was feeling quite uneasy with the cool, formal tone of Haldir's voice.
"Last night you indicated that you wished for a transfer. Do you still wish that?" Haldir said as he finally looked up, his expression unreadable.
Standing tall, Authion look straight ahead. "Yes sir," he replied.
"I regret to inform you that there are no positions in the other companies for a captain." Haldir paused for effect. "Therefore, I regret I cannot transfer you."
Authion's heart sunk. "Understood, sir." The answer was said with conviction that the bleeding heart did not feel. The captain feared he would fade being so close his soulmate. Still, he was a warrior and would do as ordered. This clearly proved that Haldir did not return his feelings, or the Marchwarden would have found a way to make this work.
Haldir stood, picked up the sealed parchment from his desk and came to stand before his captain. "Lord Celeborn gave this to me first thing this morning and asked that I give it too you."
"What is it?" Green eyes locked with blue nervously.
"Open it." It came out as an order.
Shaking fingers broke the seal and unfolded the parchment. Authion's eye skimmed the writing, growing wide as he read. Clearly re-reading it, the stunned elf looked up. "Is this…I mean does this…" he stammered.
Haldir looked as impassive as ever. "Well, what say you?" he asked. The captain stared dumbfounded. "Answer!" the Marchwarden ordered.
Authrancion snapped to attention, eyes looking just over his captain's shoulder. "Yes I accept, sir."
In the blink of an eye Haldir captured his lips as the Marchwarden wove his fingers into the dark blond strands of his former captain's hair. Once Authion came around and realized what was happening, Haldir softened the kiss and melted against the strong body as arms tentatively embraced him. Gentle nibbles and soft kisses gave way to questing tongues seeking entrance to warm, moist cavities. Both issued soft moans as passions began to ignite. Neither had ever felt this way and both knew their hearts were lost to the other.
Haldir pulled out of the embrace and looked up into eyes, dark green with desire. "I still do not understand why you passed up all those promotions? I was trying…"
"Does it really matter now?" Authion interrupted. Pulling his soon-to-be lover close again, he took control, soundly kissing the younger elf.
Authion's tongue demanded entrance, and with a gasp, Haldir obliged. Hands were fisted in his light blond hair at the nape of his neck making escape, even if he had desired it, impossible. Toned bodies were pushed flush and the Marchwarden could feel an impressive erection pressing against his hip.
They pulled away panting, just as there was a knock at the door. In the calmest, most commanding voice he could muster, Haldir barked, "It had best be a Balrog!"
"No Balrog, just your lord," came the smooth reply from beyond the door.
Both elves jumped further apart, willing their bodies to calm down. Haldir quickly moved behind his desk and called for the lord to enter. Celeborn glided into the room, leaving the door wide open, with a knowing smile on his face. This caused the two elves before him to blush to the tips of their ears. They bowed low.
"I am sorry for the intrusion. I know you are busy working on the roster," he said calmly with a wink. "However, I was wondering, Marchwarden, if your captain has given you an answer to Thurinmâr's and my proposal." Celeborn spoke loud and clear, knowing that eager ears were listening in the outer room. He wanted to be sure everyone knew that it was he who offered Authion the new position, not Haldir. He did not want anyone to think that the Marchwarden used his position to his personal advantage.
"We were just discussing it. Milord," Haldir replied calmly.
"And?" Celeborn turned to the dark blond elf.
"I am most honored, milord, that Master Thurinmâr thinks so highly of me. I just told the Marchwarden that I would like to be release from his service to accept this position."
"And I have accepted his resignation," added Haldir.
"Wonderful! Thurinmâr is leaving in two days time and he would like to go over things with you before he leaves. I therefore make this promotion effective immediately and ask that you see him right away. Congratulation, Training Master Authion." Celeborn grasped the elf's forearm in was warrior's clasp. Authion bowed again, and sensing his dismissal, moved towards the door.
"Training Master?" Haldir spoke to stop the other. "Since you will no doubt need all the time you can with Master Thurinmâr, would you please stop by my talan this evening whenever you are finished to discuss a suitable replacement? I would like your thoughts on who would be a good candidate for captain."
"Of course sir." With that the newly promoted elf left the barracks for the training grounds.
The Lord of the Golden Woods winked as he left Haldir's office. "Good day, Marchwarden," he said as he closed the door behind him.
"A good day indeed," Haldir replied to no one, a dreamy expression on his face.