28. Birthday In Lorien
It had been a wonderful day. Legolas, Eowyn and Caladwen did just about everything they could think of that day. Father and daughter formed a lasting relationship in this short time. Eowyn was sure Caladwen would never forget this day, or her father. She only wished now that it would last.
The festivities were getting underway. The guests were arriving and all wanted to see Caladwen. She was so excited to see all the new faces. The first to arrive was Gimli. He had already been in Lorien since the morning. He walked into the great hall and was greeted by Legolas. Next to the Elf stood Eowyn who was holding Caladwen's hand. They were to greet all the guests as they entered.
"Well, well, we meet again Princess Caladwen." Gimli said cheerfully. "Lady Eowyn, you look extraordinary tonight." He then turned to Legolas. "Hello my friend. I hope you have enjoyed your day with these two lovely ladies."
"Most definitely, Dwarf. And I see you behaved yourself and did not get blind folded and locked up by the Marchwarden." Legolas teased.
"Those days are well behind us all but leave it to this pointy eared Prince to remind me of it." Gimli said gruffly. He walked in and went straight to the table that held the ale.
Caladwen looked at her father. "He called you a Prince." she said surprised.
Eowyn answered for him. "Yes Caladwen, your ada is the Prince of Mirkwood."
"The place with the spiders?" she asked.
Legolas smiled at her. "Not any more henen (my child). They have all been destroyed and now it is called Greenwood."
"If you are a Prince, then is Mama a Princess?"
Legolas and Eowyn looked at each other. Their eyes spoke volumes as they realized there was much more to explain then time would allow at the moment. It was Eowyn who spoke for the two of them. "Mama is not a Princess, honey."
"But Legolas is my ada and a prince. You are my mama so you are a princess." Caladwen said.
"A girl must be married to a prince to become a princess. Legolas and I are not." Eowyn said, looking at Legolas with regret. "You will understand one day pen dithen. All you need to know now is that we are your parents, always and forever."
The conversation went about as well as it could have. Eowyn's heart ached to have to tell her daughter this. Legolas sensed her anguish and placed a loving and reassuring hand on her lower back. A shiver ran through her body at the feel of his touch. She looked up into his blue eyes and saw all the love he had ever held for her there. This was proving to be very difficult indeed.
Their next guests arrived just in time to redirect their thoughts from the present situation. Aragorn and Arwen approached. Legolas stepped forward to greet them first. He put a hand on Aragorn's shoulder and smiled. Aragorn made the same gesture.
"It is good to see you again, Legolas, my friend." Aragorn said. Then he pulled Legolas in for an embrace.
"You look well, Aragorn. I have missed you, mellon (friend)." Legolas turned to Arwen and bowed respectfully. Then he looked down toward her belly and smiled. "The queen is expecting again I see."
Arwen smiled. "Another girl. We are very blessed."
Eowyn gasped. "Arwen, I did not know. What wonderful news. Congratulations."
Caladwen looked the royal couple up and down then turned her attention toward Arwen. "You are like me." she said and Eowyn looked at her daughter questioningly.
"Yes Caladwen. We are Peredhil, half-elven. It is nice to meet you." Arwen leaned close as Caladwen reached out to her. She felt Arwen's hair and smiled.
"I like you." the child said. Suddenly, she became shy and buried her face in Eowyn's skirt. Arwen laughed to herself.
Aragorn spoke next. "We have heard much about you Caladwen and we look forward to seeing more of you. We have a son and daughter who would love to be friends with you."
At this, Caladwen raised her head and looked at Aragorn. The idea of having other children to play with sparked her interest. There were no children or Elflings to play with in Lorien.
Aragorn leaned to Legolas who was smiling at his daughter. "She is very precious, Legolas. There is a lot of you in her." Legolas nodded and patted Aragorn on the shoulder as the King and Queen walked on.
The next to walk in was Eomer and Lothiriel. Eowyn handed her daughter over to Legolas and ran up to her brother, embracing him. "Eomer, I have missed you so much. It seems we do not see each other enough now."
Eomer kissed Eowyn on the forehead and stood back to look at her. "You look wonderful, Eowyn. It seems life in Lorien has done you well."
Eowyn turned to Lothiriel and hugged her tightly. "It has been too long. Will you be staying a while?"
"Most definitely. Eomer insists we spend as much time as we can with Caladwen. He has been so excited about seeing her. He's taking this 'uncle thing' very seriously."
Eowyn laughed. "I would expect no less from the King of Rohan."
Meanwhile, Eomer was speaking to Legolas and meeting his niece. "It is good to see you Legolas, my brother." He extended his hand and the Elf shook it. "And who do we have here?" he said looking at Caladwen as her father held her in his arms. She had one arm wrapped around the back of Legolas' neck. Her tiny hand twirled a lock of his golden hair.
"Caladwen, this is your uncle." Legolas said.
"You are Mama's brother. Uncle Eomer."
"And you are my niece. I have been very anxious to meet you." Eomer said reaching out to touch the child's hair.
"Are you a prince?" she asked.
"No but I am a king." he answered proudly.
"Legolas is a prince but Mama is not a princess." she announced.
Eomer looked at Legolas confused by her statement. "We started this conversation just before everyone arrived. I think we have more explaining to do." Legolas said.
They finished with their brief visit with Eomer and Lothiriel then greeted some more guests. Legolas and Eowyn turned to leave their post and join the others.
"Suilad, Legolas. (greetings)" said a smooth sultry voice from behind them. Legolas turned to find Thranduil standing in the entranceway.
"Adar. I did not know you would be here. What a wonderful surprise." Legolas went to his father.
"I would not miss out on my granddaughter's celebration." Thranduil said as he looked at Eowyn who was once again holding Caladwen's hand. He walked up to them. "You must be Lady Eowyn. I only wish we could have met sooner. I must admit, I feel like I already know you from Legolas' accounts."
"I could say the same my lord." Eowyn answered with a smile and a slight bow.
Thranduil's gaze fell on Caladwen. He got down on one knee. "And you must be my granddaughter. I am honored." Thranduil bowed his head to the tiny child.
Caladwen giggled at this gesture. "You're funny."
Thranduil looked up from his bow with a face of stone. "No one calls the King of Eryn Lasgalen funny." His countenance was most serious.
Legolas took a step towards him, ready to defend his child. Eowyn was shocked at Thranduil's response. They both held their breath.
Slowly, a smile broke out on the king's face. "At least not since your ada was an Elfling. It is good to hear the voice of a child again."
Legolas and Eowyn both released their breath at the same time. Thranduil laughed at them. "I thought you knew me better than that Legolas. She is a beautiful child. Well done son."
It seemed everyone had arrived and the festivities got underway with food, drink and music. While Legolas was having a word with Thranduil, Eowyn looked around desperately for Faramir. She hadn't seen him since early in the morning.
"Where's daddy?" Caladwen asked repeatedly. She had been asking for him.
"He'll be here soon." she assured her daughter. That's when Eowyn noticed something. Caladwen never once called Legolas ada.
Faramir and Eowyn had decided a while ago that they would teach her to call Faramir, daddy. Legolas, they told her, was ada. That way there would be no confusion of who they were referring to. Eowyn thought after spending the day with Legolas, Caladwen would be calling him ada by now. One day was just not long enough to become acquainted with someone unfamiliar. She wished they had more time. It seemed so unfair.
A strong hand brushed along Eowyn's back. She turned to find Faramir standing behind her. "There you are. We have been looking for you. Caladwen has missed you. She hasn't seen you all day. It's the longest you've been away."
Eowyn's words warmed his heart. They had missed him. He spent the day worrying they would not even notice his absence after being with Legolas. "I just wanted to give the three of you enough time alone together. How was your day?"
"Caladwen and Legolas really connected. She will remember him, I'm sure."
"And what about you?" Faramir asked needing to hear her answer.
"What about me? Are you asking if something has changed for Legolas and me?" Eowyn was slightly irritated.
"Does your decision still stand?" Faramir said calmly.
"Of course it does. I have chosen to be with you, Faramir. I thought we were past this."
Faramir didn't want an argument. "I'm sorry. It has been a long day without you. I am glad things turned out the way they did."
Haldir came over with Caladwen. The child flailed her arms wildly at the sight of Faramir. He reached out and took her in his arms. She kissed his cheek and smiled.
"I missed you daddy. Where were you? I met three kings today." she said excitedly.
"You are the luckiest little girl in all of Middle Earth." Faramir said as he held her. "Come; let us get a bite to eat."
Eowyn watched the two walk towards the food table. She thought about Faramir's question. She should not have become angry but she knew why. Somewhere deep down she was having doubts. After observing Legolas and Caladwen today, she wondered if she made the right decision. The conversation she had with the Elf in her vision came back to haunt her. Could she ask Legolas to stay? If she did, would it be for her or for her daughter? It was so sad to think this would be the only time Legolas would ever see Caladwen. He should have a chance shouldn't he?
As she stood deep in thought, Legolas approached her from behind. "Something troubles you. I don't like to see you this way, not tonight of all nights."
"I'm sorry. My mind seems to wander lately." Eowyn looked up into his loving eyes. "Legolas, if I were to ask something of you, would you…? Oh never mind."
"Is there something you want to know? Something you wanted to ask me?" Legolas hung on waiting for her to speak.
She looked deep into those blue pools. Don't go Legolas. Stay here for me. Stay for our daughter. Please don't leave. We love you. I love you.
"I… If I… Would you… "The words escaped her and she lost her nerve. "Would you like to dance?" This was not what she wanted to say. Something held her back from asking him to stay. And as he led her onto the dance floor, she regretted her decision not to say anything. At that very moment, she knew she would relive this moment over and over until her dying day and always grieve her decision to keep silent.
The festivities were beginning to die down. Some of the guests were leaving or going to their quarters for some rest before departing in the morning. This was what Legolas and Gimli decided to do. They would leave first thing in the morning and head back to the shore where they would depart for Valinor. Legolas made sure not to bring the subject up while visiting today but it was time to let Eowyn know what his plans were. They had a wonderful day, one they would never forget. He had gotten to know his daughter very well. She was a perfect combination of both Eowyn and himself.
Legolas noticed how much she loved Faramir too. She spent as much time with him as she did Legolas at the party. The Elf was thankful that Faramir would be there to help raise her. He took this role very seriously and would make a wonderful father for her.
Then there was Eowyn. He loved her still, like he did in the beginning. It would be difficult to leave her behind. Legolas could see that she had made the right choice. She and Faramir were very happy together. Still, a part of him would morn the loss of her love forever and he wondered if they ever really could have been.
He waited until Eowyn was alone. She was standing at the edge of the talan, looking out onto the great forest. He approached her slowly. She turned her head, looking over her shoulder.
"I knew you were there. I can still feel you after all these years. I will miss that about you." she said in a soft voice.
"Do you remember our journey to Helm's Deep? Every evening we sat together by the fire and talked about whatever came to mind. Our feelings were not yet known to each other. We found a comfort in each other we never felt before. That feeling has never left and it is what I will miss most." he said, standing next to her.
Eowyn turned to face Legolas. "How long will you be staying?" she asked. It was a ridiculous question. She knew he was leaving tomorrow but she hoped he had a change of plans.
"The longing has only allowed me this one chance to experience the happiness of what could have been. I wish it wasn't so, Eowyn. If only I had my life back. There is no use wishing for things that will not come to pass. We are now at the very furthest this path will let us go. Here is where the road divides for us." Legolas took her hand in his. He wanted so much more from her on this, their last time alone. He wished to take her deep into the woods and make love to her until it was time to leave. He would inhale her scent and savor the taste of her creamy skin. But this time there would be none of that. He held her hand and felt the life of her soul enter him, giving him one last burst of energy before setting out in the morning.
Eowyn laid her hand to the side of his face and he leaned into her touch. She ran her fingers through his silky hair one last time. Then she brought his head down to hers and kissed him. She could not let him leave without tasting him once more. When they parted, she looked deep into his blue eyes. "I will never stop loving you, Legolas. I will be reminded of you every time I look into our daughter's eyes. A part of you lives on in her."
"You should go to Faramir. He will be waiting for you to return. I will see you in the morning before I leave." Legolas kissed her once more then whispered in her ear. 'My love for you will never fade, meleth nin."
Eowyn's mind screamed out for her to tell him to stay. He leaves because he has not been asked to stay. The right tool and a little effort…
"Legolas, I… I want…" Again the words escaped her. Legolas waited for her to finish. "I will see you in the morning." she finally said.
"Good night, Eowyn." he said and he walked away, never knowing what she really wanted to tell him.
Eowyn returned to her talan to find Faramir already in bed, asleep. In his hand was a children's book and on his chest laid the head of her child. Obviously, Caladwen would not go to sleep until Eowyn returned. It looked like they compromised.
A smile spread across her face. Faramir was so good to her. How could she ever doubt her chosen path? She loved him wholeheartedly. She remembered her vision. To truly love and be loved meant to give your heart and soul. Eowyn was still divided in two and she wasn't sure if she could ever truly give him everything.
She slipped her arms around Caladwen and carried her to bed. The child barely woke up. She only cracked an eyelid and asked, "Is that you Mama?"
"Sleep my child. Mama is home." Those words had never meant more than they did right then.
After tucking Caladwen in, Eowyn went back to her bedroom, crawled under the covers and snuggled up to Faramir. He turned his head and kissed her. "You're back." he whispered in a sleepy voice.
"I am home." she whispered back and drifted off into a deep sleep regretting the day that lay ahead.