19. Embodiment of the Fea
Chapter 19 Embodiment of the Fea
The battle against the Corsairs was bloody. Never before had these pirates advanced on Lothlorien. They attacked as they did with any seaside village but they were not prepared for the stealth of the Galadhrim. Not all perished in the War of the Ring. Those who survived were only loyal to themselves and continued to attack wherever they saw fit. Why they wandered this far from the Anduin River was anyone's guess. Still, the Galadhrim had plenty of warning and were prepared for the attack. Those who did not flee in time were killed.
Back at the healing talan, the injured were being brought in. There were no fatalities, yet. Caladwen was still unconscious. She had fallen into a deep healing sleep. The healers worked desperately to save her but she was weak.
Haldir's only injury was a slightly deep cut on his cheek where an arrow narrowly missed him. He returned the gesture by planting an arrow between the eyes of the pirate who shot first. He could only hope it was the same one who shot Caladwen. Haldir came to the healers and they led him straight to Caladwen. He saw they had removed the arrow from her back. Her skin was pale and her breathing was labored. He laid his hand to the side of her face, hoping for some response. The first thing he noticed was how cool she felt. She was always so warm and full of life.
A healer came up to Haldir. "Your wound needs tending to, Marchwarden. It is deep and will need stitches."
"How is she? Will she… recover?" Haldir asked as if he hadn't heard the Elf.
"She is weak. We have done all we can for her. The arrow punctured her lung, though it was not as deep as we first thought. This is why her breathing is difficult. It is unknown if she will survive. Wounds of this nature are not easily treated." The healer could not bring himself to tell Haldir that very few survived such an injury. "Please, Marchwarden let me look at the cut on your face. If you would like, I can take care of that right here. You will not need to leave her side."
"Thank you. I do not think I can leave her again." Haldir said, never taking his eyes off Caladwen. The healer went off to get what he needed to treat him. Haldir took her hand and held it. Normally he would not have wanted to touch her for fear of what sensations it would cause. Now he wished he felt anything just to know she was still with him. Her hand was limp. There was no strength within her. He sat on a chair next to her cot and laid his head on her stomach. He began speaking in Elvish, trying to connect with her in any way possible. He was afraid she would give up on life. The last words they spoke to each other were discouraging. It was then that he realized just how much he cared for Caladwen. She had found the weak spot in his heart and threatened to chip away at the hard shell surrounding it. If he lost her now, he would lose that part of his heart that belonged to her and he could never be whole. As his mind wandered, he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep.
Haldir dreamt that he was back at the practice field where he trained with Caladwen. He was sitting high in a tree and recognized the scene that was playing out. It was the day he came across Caladwen, when she was changing from her practice clothes to her dress. Not wanting to repeat his actions from the first time round, he refused to look down. Suddenly he heard voices below and saw Caladwen and himself talking. She was asking about the bracer she left behind. Haldir watched as his dream-self handed it to her and they touched hands. It was an odd feeling to see what his reaction was. In his mind, it looked much different at the time. He was resistant and struggled not to let the feeling take over. Now, he could see just how caught up in the moment he really was as he gazed longingly into Caladwen's eyes. No wonder she seemed so hurt by his words. She asked him what they should do now that they admitted to having the same reaction. Haldir cringed as he heard his dream-self tell her they would not do anything to explore things further. What hurt most of all was what he did not see that day, the hurt look on her face when he pushed her away. Haldir was always so protective of his own heart, he never realized how he was hurting others in the process. His eyes and his mind had been closed to any outside reactions. This dream was forcing him to confront the effect he had on others. As he sat looking down at the scene below, he whispered, "I'm sorry I hurt you Caladwen."
The dream changed and he was standing in the glade, alone and feeling quite vulnerable, left to comprehend his own feelings. He wanted to let Caladwen into his heart but the risk was high. To love someone wholly meant to take a chance with their life as well as his own. It was the one thing that scared Haldir more than anything. In his eyes, fading was the worst death of all, even more so than by the hands of Sauron himself. His whole life he had built up a barrier around his heart. Caladwen threatened to tear down his only line of defense and the Marchwarden did not like to lose.
"It is a pity you think to love means to lose." said a voice.
"I do not need your pity." Haldir answered, unmoved by the fact that an unseen entity spoke to him. He knew he was still in a dream.
"The pity does not come from me. Look to yourself for the source. But come now, I did not come here to spar with words." said the voice. "The young Peredhil needs your help, Haldir."
"It is because of a lack of my help that she is in this state to begin with. I was supposed to protect her yet I let her down. The healer used his words mildly. I know of her injuries and the outcome is grave." Haldir's voice was desolate.
"And here you are, her guardian, ready to let her fea [soul] soar to the Hall of Mandos. You refuse to love for fear of death yet it is your love that could prevent such an outcome. Caladwen needs you now more than ever. Open your heart Marchwarden. If you would just let her in, she could overcome this burden. She need not die but she will not be strong enough on her own. You yourself have said the oath you took has not been lived up to. Redeem yourself, Haldir. Prove to her that you can and will protect her as long as she walks this earth. She has much to accomplish yet but she cannot do it without your help. You can save her and in return you will be saved."
Haldir fell to his knees on the soft green grass of the glade and began to weep. "Please do not let her die. I cannot stand to see another death of one I care for."
"It is good to hear you admit your concern for her, yet it is up to you to save her, unlike the death of your mother. You must one day face your past, but not now. Caladwen needs you now, Haldir. Go to her. Find her fea. Heal her. Draw her to you. Let her in." As the voice finished speaking, it began to fade away.
Haldir woke up and found he had not moved from his original position. His head was still resting upon Caladwen's stomach. Slowly he lifted his head and looked around the room. The healer noticed the movement and came over. "Marchwarden, you have been asleep for a while. We stitched your wound while you slept."
Haldir ignored his own wound and concentrated only on Caladwen. "How is she? Has there been any improvement?"
The healer's face fell as his gazed dropped to the floor. "There is nothing more we can do for her but keep her comfortable. There is no improvement."
Haldir stood and looked down upon her pale face. He thought of what the voice said to him. He was the only one who could help her now. Since the day she was born, there had been a special connection between them. He had ignored it up until now. Now he needed to reach deep and embrace it, bring it to the surface and save her. Haldir looked to the healer. "If she is to die, I would rather her be somewhere private. I alone would like to be with her. Please, Master Healer, I ask to have her transported to my talan."
The healer seemed to understand Haldir's request for their privacy. He nodded to the Elf then silently signaled to his apprentices to move her. They picked up the cot she was laying on and slowly carried her to Haldir's talan, with Haldir leading the way. It was not far and they entered the room and sat her down.
"I would see that she is made comfortable. This cot will not do. She should be moved to my bed." Haldir said and they gently lifted her and put her in the Marchwarden's own bed. When she was settled, the healer gave him a powder and instructions on how to administer it.
"It will ease any pain she may be in and keep her comfortable while we wait for an outcome to her condition. I must warn you Marchwarden, very few have recovered from such an injury. I feel she is where she would want to be right now. If there are any changes, good or bad, please send for me. I will check on her in the morning."
"Thank you for allowing me to bring her here." Haldir nodded to the healer as he took his leave.
He went to Caladwen and touched her face. She was still cold. "This will not do." he said to himself. "I need to warm her." He took off his tunic and undershirt, leaving only his leggings on. Then he crawled into bed and stretched out next to her. Caladwen's whole body was cool to the touch, a sign that her fea was separating from her physical form. He needed to communicate with her somehow, convince her to hang on and try harder to stay in this world. He arranged them so that he was holding her in his arms as he lay in bed with her. He had to get her warm and used his own body heat.
"You must stay with me Caladwen. Do not leave this world. You have so much yet to do." he whispered in her ear. It did not seem like enough. He knew what it was he needed to do and he struggled with his heart to allow the intrusion. "I am so sorry I did not protect you. I have never lived up to the oath I took. I should have stayed by your side every step of the way. I let you down. I let your mother and your ada down. I have let down all whose lives you have touched. Please come back to me. They need you. They love you." he pleaded but it was not working. There was no change in her condition. He remained with her for the rest of the night and prayed to the Valar to give her another chance.
At one point, Haldir drifted into reverie. He thought he was dreaming again. He was in his talan but not lying beside Caladwen. He was standing next to the bed looking down at her unmoving body. When he took a step toward her there was a barrier of some sort blocking his way. Haldir reached out to touch what he thought was glass and wondered where it came from and why it was in his talan. The smooth surface stung his fingertips. Ice, he thought to himself. He turned and found he was in some sort of cell of ice. There was nowhere to go. Never had he felt so helpless. Again, he looked at Caladwen lying in his bed. She suddenly began to glow. Haldir watched as the light which started as a faint glow, began to rise and lift from her body. The light took her form and was floating just above where she lay. An arm reached out to him.
"Caladwen, no." he whispered. He was witnessing her fea leaving her body. "No please. You cannot die." he said louder. The Elf pushed on the ice enclosure but it would not budge. His fists pounded on the walls but nothing happened. He watched as her soul slowly began to rise. He could see her face in the glow. She was crying and reaching out to him.
"You can help her." said the voice he had heard the night before.
"I cannot find a way out of here. Please release me so I can go to her." he pleaded.
"I have no power here. You must release yourself. Look for a weakness in the ice. You alone must find a way to tear down the wall that binds you." The voice did not speak again after that.
Haldir began beating his fists against the ice until his hands hurt. The glowing entity that was Caladwen's fea was floating ever higher. He was becoming fearful that he would never get out of his prison. "I have to find a way out." he said to himself but was afraid to take his eyes off Caladwen. Finally, he began feeling around on the ice walls, looking for some kind of weak spot. He was suddenly reminded of the ice on the lakes during the winter. It could be very strong and unbreakable but once there was the slightest crack, it was vulnerable. He searched and searched until he felt the slightest fracture in a corner of the box he was in. He found the weakness of the ice and started pounding it with his sore fists. The crack spread and jutted out into many different directions but the ice still held.
"Haldir." It was Caladwen. She was reaching out to him and he started to panic.
"Do not leave me." he yelled to her eternal light form. His knuckles began to bleed where they repeatedly hit the ice.
Suddenly the voice spoke once more. "You must admit your true feelings or you will remain imprisoned. Let go, Haldir. Fear love no more."
He beat his fist even harder now. Surely, he was strong enough to break the ice without admitting his feelings. He looked once more to Caladwen. Her soul was almost gone now.
"Goodbye, Haldir." she whispered.
"NO!" he screamed. "Do not leave me. I need you, Caladwen. I… I…" He beat the ice wall once more but it would not budge. "I love you Caladwen. I love you and I need you in my life. Please come back to me. Please… Caladwen… I love you." He repeated the words over and over as he slid down to the floor of his frozen prison. He was sobbing and felt very vulnerable. He had given in to his feelings and admitted his love. Every emotion he had ever kept hidden away was out in the open. There was nowhere else to hide. He curled up in a fetal position, afraid to look to Caladwen and see her fea had disappeared.
There was a warm hand on his shoulder. The touch sent a charge through his body, all the way to his heart. There was nothing in place to block it now and he let it consume him. His whole body warmed and strengthened. He looked up expecting to see a face to the voice that spoke to him in his dreams. At this point, he believed Caladwen to be gone. What he saw was the most beautiful being he had ever seen in his long life. She was absolutely glowing. Her golden hair spread about her shoulders. Her face was fair and alluring. But it was what he saw in her eyes. There was a love there he had not seen since his mother died. It was a love that was only meant for him and no one else. It was eternal and he felt such safety there. At that moment, he knew that as long as he could look into those eyes, he would never be alone again.
"I love you too, Haldir." said the beautiful glowing being.
"Caladwen." Haldir whispered and wiped the tears from his face. He got up and stood before her fea. The ice chamber was gone, broken into millions of tiny pieces. There was nothing keeping him from her. He looked down at his own body and saw that he too was aglow. He was looking at his own fea. Their souls were meeting for the first time. Haldir glanced over her shoulder to his bed. They were both lying next to each other in the same position he had first held her. He raised his hands and could see they were transparent. "Am I dead?" he asked, sounding like a child.
Caladwen giggled. "No. Our fear [souls] have separated from our earthbound forms. We can join with them when we are ready."
"But what about you? You were dying. Your lung was punctured and there was nothing else to be done." Haldir said confused.
"Your love has saved me. We will awake to find that my wound has healed considerably. Our souls have found each other and we are strong." she said smiling.
"Then are we bound to each other?" His words were desperate and she frowned.
"No, Haldir. We have not found union. We have only discovered each others soul mate." Her voice was more serious now. Haldir sensed her anguish.
"I am sorry. I did not mean to…"
"It is alright, Haldir." she said smiling again. "You have much to learn yet. This is but one barrier to break through, though it was the hardest shell of any. There is much healing that still needs to take place before you can commit your fea. But know that I will help you through these trying times. Let our love be the stability when you falter. Together, we can find our way through all the heartache. I love you, Haldir and I will always be with you."
The room began to spin and Haldir was confused and frightened. "What is happening?" he said but Caladwen was gone. Suddenly there was a bright flash of white light and he was blind. As his vision slowly came back, he found himself lying in his bed. He could not move at first and laid still.
"Caladwen." he said and looked next to him. She was lying on her side, staring at him with the most beautiful smile he had ever seen. He rolled over and looked longingly into her deep blue eyes. "Caladwen." he exhaled and then captured her lips. He let all his newly discovered love pour out into that one kiss. The feeling was exquisite. The static charge he had felt years earlier when they first kissed was now more flourishing than ever before. Neither one held anything back and let the feeling carry them away. Both of their bodies glowed as a wondrous light emanated from them. The Light of Lothlorien had indeed found her soul mate; Haldir, Marchwarden and protector, Guardian of the Light.
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.