9. Dreams and Fantasies
Haldir led the group to the palace where dwelt Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn. It was indeed a silent pleasure for Haldir seeing the fellowship. Many years had pass since last he saw Legolas. Lady Galadriel had despatched him to Mirkwood for official matters. There he had struck a friendship with the Mirkwood prince.
It was also an honour for him to have finally met Aragorn whom he has heard magnificent tales of. He had an air of nobility and valour and Haldir considers it his privilege to look upon a Numenourean descendant. Seeing the hobbits brought back memories of his trading adventures with his beloved ada. It has been a while since he last set foot outside of his treasured Lorien.
Haldir glanced back at the group. They looked weary and a sense of sadness cloaked them. He had noticed the absence of Mithrandir. He could only presume that he had fallen. A great sorrow filled his heart. Gandalf was a great friend to the elves. He was a kind and gentle man, wise and compassionate. His presence will be missed.
At long last they reached the palace. Haldir signalled the group to halt, "Stay here. I will announce your arrival."
Moments later, he gestured to the assemblage to enter the palace. He could see the little hobbits' eyes lit up at the sight of the magnificent palace. Legolas' eyes scanned the area, admiring the powerful Mellyrn trees. Gimli however had his gaze lowered, no doubt cautious at the reception he would receive.
A bright light appeared from the doorway. Haldir and the rest of the wardens bowed down at the presence of Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. The fellowship followed suit. They watched as the light dimmed and there stood the fairest of elves. Lady Galadriel smiled and nodded towards the fellowship.
Galadriel turned her gaze towards her beloved Marchwarden, "Thank you Haldir. You have done me a great service by bringing the fellowship here."
Celeborn addressed the group in front of him, "The enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone."
Galadriel looked at the beings in front of her. Guilt overwhelmed them. A sense of sorrow was upon them. Something was amiss.
Celeborn noticed the absence of the wizard, "Eight there are here, yet nine there were set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf? For I much desire to speak with him. I can no longer see him from afar."
Aragorn lifted his gaze and was welcomed by the concerned eyes of Lady Galadriel. A sense of dread filled her heart as she read Aragorn's eyes, "Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land. He has fallen into shadow."
A sorrowful Legolas spoke with a cracked voice, "He was taken by both shadow and flame. A balrog of Morgoth for we went needlessly into the net of Moria."
At the sound of the word Moria, Haldir saw the dwarf hung his head in guilt and felt the remorse of the little hobbits. Something had happened there in Moria and some members of the fellowship had taken it upon them as blame.
Galadriel looked upon the forlorn travellers, "Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his full purpose."
The members of fellowship bow their heads in sadness at the memory of Gandalf. Each of them lost in their thoughts and sorrow of losing their leader and guide. Gimli took it upon him the hardest. Galadriel sensed this and called upon the master dwarf, "Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dûm fill your heart Gimli, son of Glóin. For the world has grown full of peril, and in all lands, love is now mingled with grief."
Haldir watched as Lady Galadriel's piercing gaze fell upon Aragorn's kin, Boromir. There was fear in his eyes and a sense of dread and misery filled his heart. With great effort, he averted his gaze from that of the lady of light. What transpired between him and Lady Galadriel? What truth did she speak of that could terrify a mighty man like Boromir?
Galadriel turned to her hervenn. Celeborn's gaze was still upon the members of the fellowship. His heart grew anxious thinking of the future, "What now becomes of this fellowship? Without Gandalf, hope is lost."
Silence fell upon the fellowship once again for they too fear for the future. What will become of them without Gandalf to help guide them? Could they trust themselves enough to compose sound judgements without his wise words?
Galadriel sensed their hesitations, "The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all... Yet hope remains while the company is true. Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you will sleep in peace. Haldir…"
The Marchwarden stepped forward and bowed in front of the Lady of Light, "My lady…"
Galadriel approached her Marchwarden, "I hope you would be so kind to oversee to their needs. They will rest here and regain their strength before continuing on their perilous quest."
She turned and looked at Aragorn, "Haldir will see to all your needs. If there is anything that Lorien can provide please, do not hesitate to ask. If there be a need for a healer, Haldir will see that Annoguil visits the injured. Maer aduial."
Galadriel and Celeborn retreated into their chambers. Haldir walked closer towards Aragorn who now was appointed the leader by the death of Gandalf, "Come. I will show you to you quarters."
Haldir and the fellowship along with Rumil and Orophin descended down the platform and made their way to the pavilion set among the trees near the fountain. The pavilion had remained untouched for some time now since Lorien had not received any visitors lately. Haldir instructed Rumil to see to their meals and Orophin was assigned to bring forth the master healer.
Caras Galadhon fell into a sense of sadness. Mournful singing drifted down from the trees above. Legolas stopped and closed his eyes, "A lament for Gandalf…"
Haldir walked closer towards the prince and placed a hand on his shoulder. Legolas turned and smiled mournfully at the Marchwarden. Just then the little resourceful hobbit known as Merry spoke, "What do they say about him?"
Legolas turned to face the little hobbit, "I have not the heart to tell you. For me the pain is still to near…"
Haldir sighed. He too felt the pain of losing Gandalf. He approached his friend and once again placed a hand on his shoulder, "Legolas, do not let your heart be troubled. Gandalf's death was not in vain. He died to ensure the future of Middle Earth. Come. We have a lot to reacquaint ourselves to."
Calavénë rolled around in her bed. Her ankle was on the mend but it would be a few more days before it is fully healed. She was beginning to feel irked at the lack of amusement for her. Orophin was now back in Caras Galadhon attending to the new arrivals. She usually has his company at night, conversing on matters of the Eldar and they make it a point to share embarrassing stories about Haldir.
Haldir, she thought. It has been days since she last saw him. Their little spat at the river was the last she came in contact with him. Uncannily as it sounds, she was beginning to miss his presence as well. Do not be mistaken, loathe him she still does, but whenever Haldir was around, she felt safe, protected from the outside world.
She repeated the Marchwarden's name. She closed her eyes and pulled the covers across her body. The night was exceptionally cold today. Idly her fingers ran across her body. She touched her breasts and thought of Haldir. The buds on her chest grew hard. Her breathing became laboured. Her hand moved lower, inching closely to the source of this sudden burning. With each stroke, she moaned Haldir's name.
Her body was reacting to the images that flashed in her mind, the first encounter she had with him and then again to the kiss he forced on her. Her fingers moved faster and with each delivered stroke she moaned his name louder. The night air was not so cold any more. The heat rising from her body warmed the room. She was out of breath. His name became an erotic chant on her lips. She was reaching her peak and with one last stroke, she cried out his name aloud.
Haldir woke up with a start. Someone had called his name out loud. He sat on his bed, confused. He was in his talan in Caras Galadhon. The voice that called out to him was that of an elleth. He sat quietly on his bed, trying to catch the sound again. After a few moments of silence, he concluded that it was his dreams playing a trick on him. He climbed back into his bed but stopped abruptly when he became aware of his painful arousal.
"What in all of creation…?" He looked down into his breeches. It has been a long time since he had a dream that caused his loins to stir. He closed his eyes in frustration. What was he dreaming about? A crease formed on his forehead. He could not remember. He was certain he had a dreamless sleep. If so, why did his body react? Morning was fast approaching and if he wanted a few more hours of sleep, this 'condition' has to be taken care of…
Calavénë closed her eyes tightly. Her fingers were clamped between her thighs as the mounting pressure took hold of her. Her heart pounded loudly in her chest. Her breathing was uneven. Her whole existence shook with wild fervour. She could have died. Yet she lives and it awoken all her senses. Sweat formed on her forehead as her body calmed. A smile formed on her lips and she whispered his name once more, "Haldir…"
She opened her eyes abruptly. A sudden wave of panic surged through her satisfied body. What had she done? She pleasured herself with Haldir on her mind! No! Her mind protested! But the evidence in between her thighs screamed the act loud and clear. Tears formed in her eyes. No, she protested again. This cannot be…
Calavénë sat on her bed with her legs curled up to her chest. She sat there sobbing. What is happening to her? How can two different feelings be entwined inside her? She loathes him yet there is a part of her that seemed to desire him. She cannot deny it any longer. Her body clearly knows what it wants. A sense of guilt washed over her. A maiden should not have impure thoughts like this. She had fancied a number of ellon before but never before has she conducted herself in this manner.
"I hate you, Haldir! I hate how you make me loathe myself!" Calavénë whispered in between her sobs.
The words of Master Annoguil tugged at her heart once again. Could she possibly love him? Has she given her heart to him unbeknownst to herself? There is a fine line between hate and love and she was walking on this fine line very precariously. Her heart broke and tears fell earnestly from her eyes. She was confused, torn and petrified. She needed to talk to someone who might understand but who? Lady Galadriel would be last person she wanted to reveal her heart to. She had once reminded Calavénë of her duties. She was certain the Lady would not understand.
Calavénë slipped back into her bed, tears still flowing from her eyes. She remembered the words of her naneth, "If everything else abandons you, follow your heart for it will never lead you astray." She closed her eyes and hope that sleep will come swiftly. She wrapped her hands close to her heart. As she falls asleep a soft whisper escaped her lips, "Haldir…"
Morning brought a different experience for Haldir. Last night was peculiar for him. Never before had he experienced something of that nature. He tried his best to replay the memories of his dream and the only thing that came clearer by the morning was the voice he heard was indeed that of an elleth. It fascinated him for the voice he heard was not calling for him; rather it was moaning his name. He was certain that his body reacted to this but found it rather odd since the voice did not come accompanied by visions as a normal dream would.
This was not the biggest surprise for him today. He surprised himself even further last night when he found his release through the thoughts of Calavénë. The choice did not come by his accord. Her form took place in his mind and he found himself more aroused. When he reached his own blissful oblivion, he laid in his bed confused, fulfilled and weary. What does this mean? He did not feel for her. Not the way an ellon should feel towards an elleth when the act of love is performed. He finds her distracting, infuriating and sharp-tongued.
Thus it made him wonder. If she is what he thought she would be, why then he finds her alluring? He is drawn to her like a moth drawn to a flame. This would not end well if he allows it to continue. He knew what became of the moth!
Haldir dressed hurriedly. Rumil arrived at his talan this morning to inform him that Lady Galadriel had requested his presence. He made his way to the palace. His mind was still befuddled with last night's reverie. He reached the palace and froze when he saw Gwilwileth and Idhrenon locked in a passionate embrace. They had not noticed his presence and it seems Gwilwileth had brought some food for her hervenn.
Haldir stood not far from them and stared with an icy gaze. He had never forgiven Gwilwileth and Idhrenon. He could never find it in his heart to forget what had happened years ago. Idhrenon was first to notice the Marchwarden, "My lord! I did not see you there."
Gwilwileth turned and saw Haldir. His icy gaze made her flesh froze in fear. She knew he would never forgive her for what she had done to him. But it pained her to see what he has become. He was not the same ellon she met years ago. He was different and she knew in her heart that it was her doing.
Haldir walked past them. He did not acknowledge them nor did he spoke in return. He did not want to have any relations with them. He was perfectly content in hating them for the rest of his life.
Galadriel was waiting in her personal chamber. A small knock on the door told her it was Haldir, "Enter, mellon nin."
Haldir walked into the room. Being in the presence of Lady Galadriel seemed to have a calming effect on his troubled mind. After the passing of his naneth who succumbed to the grief of losing his ada, Lady Galadriel has been like his own naneth.
Galadriel smiled at the young Marchwarden, "Sit, pen vuin. Tell me, how are our visitors?
Haldir took a seat in front of the lady of light, "They are well my lady. Herdir Annoguil is tending to them as we speak."
Galadriel nodded, "I am pleased Haldir. Now, tell me. How is Calavénë?"
Haldir was caught off guard at the question, "Calavénë?"
Galadriel could sense the elevated heart beat of the Marchwarden, "Yes, Haldir. Calavénë, my adopted charge."
Haldir swallowed a phantom knot in his throat, "She is well last I saw her, my lady."
Galadriel smiled, "There is a task I must appoint you to Haldir. I need Calavénë to be here in Caras Galadhon for I have matters to discuss with her. I was told she is injured?"
Haldir nodded, "Yes, my lady. She has a broken ankle but she is on her way to a quick recovery."
Galadriel stood up, "Very well. I hope to have her here on the morrow. I would be comforted if you fetch her personally. I do not trust her health with no one else unless it is you. I fear I must trouble you once again Haldir."
Haldir shook his head, "No, my lady. It is no trouble. I shall make my way to the borders this very moment. She will be home safely in your arms by the morrow. I take my leave, my lady."
Galadriel watched as Haldir disappeared behind the doors. A gentle smile formed upon her lips, "It is very endearing to see both you and Calavénë try your best to hide your most inner thoughts from me…"
Haldir returned to his talan to gather his belongings. It would take him almost half a day to reach the northern borders. He was still contemplating on how he would have her transported back to Caras Galadhon. She could not walk still and the idea of carrying her in his arms again did not seem like a good notion considering their last spat back at the river.
Haldir sighed, "This will prove to be my worst day to date…"
Maer aduial – good evening
Herdir – master
Pen vuin – dear one
Mellon nin – my friend.