An hour had passed since Orophin and Rumil carried Haldir back to the infirmary. Annoguil and Calavénë were working to the best of their abilities to help save him. With tears in her eyes, Calavénë forged on. They had managed to stop the bleeding from his arm but in order to stop the bleeding from his back they need to remove the shard of sword embedded in his bone. The pain will be severe and life threatening. One wrong move they could further injure the blood vessel near his back.
Calavénë looked down at her apron. It was covered in Haldir's blood. She closed her eyes, trying to stay calm amidst the chaos. Shouts of battle could still be heard outside. The men and the elves were still fighting. Rumil and Orophin had returned to the walls to aid Aragorn. The women and children were being retreated to the caves. It seems that the Uruks had managed to reach the path to the keep.
Annoguil called out to Calavénë who seemed lost in her thoughts, "Pen neth, come! We must remove the shard now. He has lost too much blood. Get the warm water and my tools."
Calavénë ran towards the pot of boiling water and mixed in some cold water. It was set just right. She rinsed the tools inside another pot filled with hot water. With careful steps, she made her way towards Haldir.
Annoguil took a tool from the pot. It was like a small knife made to cut through flesh with least damage. He ran the knife on his back, opening the wound further to allow them to remove the shard. Haldir cried out in agony and Calavénë held his hand tight. He had come to but it was not at the right time. Now he will feel the pain while they tried to remove the shard.
Annoguil reached for another tool. This one was shaped like pincers with jagged edges to help saw through the bone and lift out the shard. He looked at Calavénë and silently told her to hold Haldir still. With one deep breath he moved the pincers towards Haldir's wound.
His screams filled the small space. Tears fell down Calavénë eyes as she watched him writhed in pain. She held his hand and crouched down to his face, "Just a little longer, melethron. Hold on…"
Haldir's eyes fluttered open. He could see an elleth sitting next to him, holding his hand. As the pain subsided and his vision cleared, he could see that the elleth was Calavénë. He was grateful that she was safe and close to him. A sharp and excruciating pain pierced through his back yet again. This time the pain did not go away as swiftly as he would like it. His body shook violently as Annoguil pulled out the shard that was embedded in his bone.
Calavénë was relieved. The worst part had come to pass. Now it was time to close the wound and dress it properly. She crouched down yet again and kissed Haldir's temple, "You are doing well. Let go of my hand, melethron. I need it to dress your wound."
Haldir released her hand slowly. Calavénë could see that he was weary. She began cleaning the wound with warm water. The pot of water turned red from his blood. At long last, the bleeding stopped and Calavénë managed to dress the wound. A few other healers lifted him from the bedroll and placed him in the recovery bay in the next room. Annoguil had assigned Calavénë to stay with Haldir for he was not out of danger just yet.
She sat down on the floor next to him. He was lying on his front, to let the wound on his back stabilize. She could still hear the sounds of the battle outside. It was almost dawn from her calculations. The battle was fought throughout the night. Many were injured and she was certain many had died. She looked at the injured Marchwarden before her. His eyes were moving under his closed lids, perhaps trying to withstand the pain or perhaps lost in his dreams. She ran her hand through his stained and wet hair. Its silvery shine now turned to a damp shade of wheat. There were bloodstains on his hair as well.
Calavénë drew her knees to her chest and this time, tears fell from her eyes. She almost lost him and it dawned on her how much she really loves him, for she would have gladly jumped in front of him and taken the blow if she could have saved him from such agony. She loves him with all her heart and with every inch of her soul…
The commotion outside startled her. She lifted her head and saw more injured wardens and young men being carried into the infirmary. She could hear the Uruks near the entrance of the Keep, trying to break through. It seems King Theoden and Aragorn rode out together to meet the Uruks on the path leading up to the Keep.
Haldir breathed quietly into the bedroll beneath him. The cold weather was beginning to affect him. His body trembled and quivered. Calavénë took more clean blankets and placed them on his body. She leaned in closer, stroking his hair. He seemed to have stabilized. Sleep was washing over her. She was exhausted and broken. Dawn was upon them.
Suddenly the commotion outside seized. A loud noise, almost like a stampede could be heard over the horizon. The noise became louder, closing in on them. Did the enemies bring in recruits? If so, then all were doomed. Calavénë closed her eyes, trying to envision her life before the battle. Her parents and Lorien flashed before her. The warmth of Lady Galadriel's embrace and the comforting words of Lord Celeborn graced her mind. She was grateful for the time given to her on Middle Earth. If this was to be her end, she was even more thankful to have Haldir here with her.
The noise continued but now it was mixed with the sounds of swords clashing and people shouting. The battle had begun yet again but the men sounded as if they had their strengths renewed. Calavénë ran towards the window near the side of the Keep and saw more men, close to one thousand storming Helm's Deep. It seems victory would be theirs. The men wore armours with the horse emblems, such as that on King Theoden's armour. They must be the Rohirrim, Calavénë thought to herself.
Amongst the riders she saw someone dressed in shining white robes. He had white hair and beard and he carried a long white staff. He was an elderly gentleman but had an air of power and wisdom about him. It could not be Gandalf. He fell in the mines of Moria. Who was he?
Calavénë watched as the Rohirrim drove the last of the Uruks away from Helm's Deep. The men roared their victory and laid down their arms. The battle was over. The last alliance had succeeded and for a moment darkness fled the land. Calavénë drew in a breath of relief. However, she could not see her friends and this worried her.
She returned to the infirmary to watch over Haldir. As soon as Rumil and Orophin returned, they would discuss the matter of Haldir's transport. He would need to be carried home, to Lorien where his care could be performed in better conditions. Calavénë waited silently by the bedroll for the return of her friends. She leaned back to the damp wall of the room. Sleep was beginning to coax her eyes to close and for the first time in almost twelve hours, she obliged.
A strong but delicate hand stroked her face. Calavénë's eyes fluttered and when she opened them, she saw Legolas and Rumil in front of her. Tears of joy flowed from her face to see her two spoken gwanur were safe, "Legolas! Rumil! Praise the Valar you are safe! Where is Fin? Aragorn? The rest?"
Legolas placed a finger on her lips, "You have much to ask for such a distressed person. Orophin is with herdir Annoguil. He had a large gash on his thigh but he will be well. As for Aragorn, he is with Gandalf."
Calavénë bore a confused expression on her face, "Gandalf? I was under the impression that he had fallen in Moria."
Legolas smiled at his young gwathel, "He did pen vuin but he has returned to us shortly after we left Lorien."
Calavénë nodded, "Is everyone else safe? Where are the little Hobbits? I do not see Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin…"
Grief washed over Legolas as he spoke, "We went our separate ways with Frodo and Sam at Rauros. As for Merry and Pippin they are in Fangorn."
Calavénë's eyes widened, "Fangorn? Is it not dangerous there?"
Legolas shook his head and smiled at her, "No pen neth. They are quite safe with Treebeard, the Ent."
A sense of wonder filled her. She has heard of such creature but had never seen one before, "Ent? I should like to see one someday."
Legolas laughed, "You will and I hope soon." His gaze turned towards Haldir on the ground, "How is he faring?"
Calavénë looked at the Marchwarden, "He is unwavering. But I fear not for long. We need to get him somewhere cleaner and I think he would fare better in Lorien."
Rumil nodded, "Yes, I think so too. We shall discuss this with Mebedir after we have gathered full report on our casualties. Look after him, gwathel."
Calavénë nodded silently and watched as the two returned outside. Just then, a limping Orophin made his way into the recovery room. Her eyes lit up to see her closest companion, "Fin!"
Orophin smiled and sat down next to her, looking intently at Haldir, "How is he?"
Calavénë stroked the hair on Haldir's silvery head, "He has been better but he is secure. How are you?"
Orophin looked at his thigh, "I have been better too. How are you faring?"
A weak smile formed on her lips, "I have never been so terrified in my life. When you brought him in I felt my life stop, dead in its tracks. I lost count at how many times I died tonight with his each screams. I was worried about you, Rumil and Legolas. I could hear Aragorn sometimes but when he went further into the distance I could no longer hear him. I was petrified for I thought he had fallen."
Orophin held her close to him when she began to cry. Such a young elleth, he thought. Most elves around her age would have spent their time learning Westron, read literature, learn laments and practice the arts. But not her. Here she is, thrust into battle; witnessing the ones she loves, injured and helpless, "Shh… It is over. At least for now. Gwathel, I will take this watch. Go and change. Take a bath if needed. You need the rest."
Calavénë looked up at the injured warden, "Are you certain Fin? You are hurt yourself."
Orophin nodded, "Yes. Go. Legolas told me that the bath chamber is on the second level."
She stood up and made her way to the entrance. She glanced at the brothers one last time before venturing to the bathing chamber. It was oval in shape with strange looking pipes coming out from the damp walls. There were also chains hanging near the entrance. In the middle of the chamber was a big carved out stone pool supplied by fresh water from the large duct behind it. There were slots that could be opened to allow the water to flow out from the pool, allowing the bather to change the water.
On the shelves near the doorway were scented oils and bathing salts as well as clean towels. Calavénë took a vial of oil. It smelled like orange blossoms. A knock on the door startled her. She opened the door and saw a young woman with flowing golden hair standing in front of her. She recognized her as the maiden of Rohan. She was in charge of keeping the women and children safe.
Calavénë bowed down, "Yes my lady. Is there anything I could help you with?"
Eowyn smiled, "My name is Eowyn and I saw you walking towards the bathing chamber but I noticed you do not have fresh clothing with you."
Calavénë had suddenly realized that she indeed did not bring any fresh clothing, "It seems the battle has clouded my clarity. Alas, bath is out of the question since I could not recall where my rug sack is."
Eowyn laughed softly, "No matter. I have here with me some clothing. I hope they would fit you seeing as how tall you are."
Calavénë took the gown she brought her, "Thank you my lady. I am Calavénë, one of the healers from Lorien."
Eowyn smiled, "I know Lady Calavénë. Legolas talked much about you when we were in Meduseld. I shall leave you now. It was a great pleasure meeting you Calavénë."
Eowyn closed the door behind her. Calavénë made her way to the pool and changed out of her bloody apparels. She slipped into the pool and was surprised to find the water warm. She whirled around and saw that the duct had a heating vent. She closed her eyes and began to wash her body. She would not take long for she has to return to Haldir's side.
Calavénë walked back slowly to the infirmary. She could see Aragorn and Legolas standing over Haldir. A man in white robes was crouching next to Haldir, Gandalf. She stood next to Legolas quietly and no one seemed to notice her.
"He is very lucky to be alive," Gandalf spoke.
Aragorn nodded, "Yes, the skills of the healers from Lorien and Rivendell have spared him."
Gandalf shook his head, "That was not the real reason he survived."
Legolas looked at Gandalf intently, "It was not?"
The old Maia smiled, "No, Legolas. He was saved for his fea depended on another's fea which did not let go of him. As a matter of fact, the one responsible has joined us."
At that moment, Legolas, Aragorn and Orophin turned to look at her. Legolas was surprised to see her beside him, "Pen dithen, I did not hear you."
Calavénë blushed as the eyes of the men fell on her. Was it indeed her fea that had saved him? If it was that could only mean they are connected somehow. Gandalf stood before her and smiled, "You must be Calavénë. Legolas has told me of you. I am known as Gandalf."
She could see why Frodo had been severely affected when he fell in Moria. Gandalf was warm and full of wisdom. The way he speaks mirrored the long years he spent on Middle Earth with the different races, "It is a great pleasure to have met you, Mithrandir. Frodo spoke highly of you."
Gandalf smiled and walked towards her, "You have helped Frodo through a tough time child. I am amazed at the capability of your heart to love someone immensely, both Frodo and Haldir. Your love will be remembered by those touched by it long after they are gone."
He placed a gentle kiss on her forehead, "We will meet again I hope. Take care pen neth."
Calavénë watched as Aragorn and Legolas left with him. Just then, Mebedir entered the room, "My lady, the horses and wagons are ready. We will move Haldir and the other wardens today. You will ride with Haldir and Orophin."
Calavénë nodded, "Thank you Mebedir. How many injured wardens we have with us?"
He looked at her and stated, "Around thirty five my lady. We have lost more."
Calavénë took the news with a solemn heart. Many of her kin had perished. May they prosper in Valinor.
Legolas and Aragorn helped carry Haldir to the wagon. Annoguil was seen running here and there making sure all the other injured wardens have at least one healer in their wagons. Mebedir and Rumil were to head the remainder of the battalion home.
Calavénë looked down upon Legolas and Aragorn, "Thank you. My congratulations on your victory my lords. Please, if you do see Frodo again, tell him, my thoughts are with him."
Legolas nodded and patted her hand. The wagons pulled away. The images of the Dunedain and the elf prince began to fade away as they slowly moved out from Helm's Deep.
The journey back to Lorien was slow with them harbouring the injured and wearied warriors. Calavénë sat silently in the wagon, watching Haldir. A sleeping draught was administered before the journey to help him sleep and rest. He was still sleeping on his front. Orophin watched as the lady gazed upon his brother, "You love him immensely do you not?"
Calavénë's face burned with shame of being caught staring, "I do… With all my heart."
Orophin smiled, "Haldir is lucky to have your love. I could only hope he would be willing to open his heart and accept it."
A sad smile formed on Calavénë's lips, "I am content on loving him this way even if my love will be left unrequited."
Orophin shook his head, "You do not truly mean that. You would see him bond with another and leave you? Your heartache will be severe and you will not survive…"
Calavénë left his remark unanswered. She did not know what she had ventured into when she fell in love. Now that she has, there was no turning back for she was too deeply attached.
She watched as Haldir stirred and a moan escaped from his lips. The pain was bothering him. Calavénë carefully undressed the wound and applied a cooling salve on it. She closed the bandages again and watched Haldir's expression. His face softened and he continued his reverie. Another moan stirred some fear in Calavénë's heart. She leaned in to hear what he was saying. A smile formed on her lips when she heard him moaned again, "Calavénë…"
Night was upon them. Rumil had ordered them to stop and rest for the night. It was not wise for them to press on their journey with so many injured wardens with them. Calavénë descended from the wagon and made a tent for Orophin and Haldir. As she was working on it, she heard a moan and someone calling her name. She spun around and saw Haldir trying to sit up.
She ran to him, not wanting him to exert himself, "Haldir, no! You should not move too much. Your wound is still very tender."
Haldir looked at the elleth holding him, "I am well. Though the pain could use the cooling salve you have. Will you help me down from the wagon?"
Calavénë nodded and held him close to her body. They walked slowly towards the tent she prepared. She sat him down gently on the bedroll. With the salve in her hand, she opened the dressings and smeared it on to the wound. Haldir winched but relaxed soon after. Her soft fingers felt like heaven on his burning skin. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the experience.
Calavénë stopped when Rumil entered the tent, "Calavénë, Orophin will be spending the night in my tent that way you do not have too many wardens to look after. Take care of Haldir."
Haldir looked up at his brother, "Thank you Rumil. How is Fin?"
Rumil squatted next to him, "He is well, right now having dinner with the rest outside. Rest, gwanur. We need our stubborn Marchwarden healthy again." Rumil laughed and left the tent.
Calavénë sat down in front of him, embracing his handsome face, "I almost lost you today…"
She brought her face closer to his, hesitating. When he showed no signs of retreating, she gently kissed him. It was the same familiar kiss she would give him whenever she felt hesitant, airy and light. Haldir closed his eyes and enjoyed the kiss, soft and lingering at first but now it was heated and passionate. Their tongues met in a feverish dance. Calavénë moaned as Haldir gently sucked her tongue, heightening her desires.
Haldir pulled away from her abruptly, "Calavénë… I cannot offer you anything more than this… My touch and my company… Nothing more…"
Calavénë understood what he meant. He was not prepared to give up his heart just yet. She would have him heal first then perhaps talk to Galadriel. She wanted to be one with him but the only way to achieve that, she must first leave Galadriel's side. Lying with an ellon outside the bonds of matrimony was frowned upon. She would gladly accept a life in exile if it meant she would be with him, even if he would only share his bed and not his heart.
Without uttering another word, she kissed him again. When she finally broke the kiss, both were left breathless. She looked at him and spoke, "I would not ask more than that for now Haldir. But I believe in the strengths of my love. One day, you will love me and we would spend eternity in wedded bliss."
Haldir did not respond to her remark. This elleth has a stubborn mind, much like his. He doubts he would be able to love her like she does of him. But he needed to feel her tonight, her skin and her warmth. Taking her completely was out of the question, not because of his injuries but because she was Galadriel's lady in waiting. He would not shame her thus. She would be exiled if this happened.
He looked at her with desire in his eyes, "I cannot love you tonight, melethril. But I need to feel your skin against mine."
Calavénë understood his request. She stood up and lifted her gown from her body. She slipped under the blankets and removed her camisole. There they were, half naked together. Haldir moved closer to her and gently laid his head on her chest. The feel of her smooth skin and soft breasts were comforting, like a child in his mother's arms. Calavénë stroked his face with trembling fingers. What will the future bring for her? Was she really certain he would love her as she claims?
Sleep came to the both of them not long after they lay under the blankets. With fluttering eyes, both fell into their own world of dreams.
Pen vuin – dear one
Pen dithen – little one
Pen neth – young one
Melethril – lover (fem)
Gwanur – brother
Gwathel - sister
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.