20. Accepting Fate
Chapter 20 Accepting Fate
The next morning, Haldir awoke to the sound of the healer. "Marchwarden." he said as he shook the Elf's arm. It was not often that an Elf went into this deep of a sleep unless they needed for healing. "Marchwarden." he said again and Haldir slowly opened his eyes.
"Oh, good morning, Master Healer." he said in a groggy voice as he slowly woke up. He looked to his left expecting to see Caladwen lying next to him and already began thinking up a reason why they were sharing the same bed. She was not there. Haldir sat bolt upright and concern was on his face. "Where is she?" he asked desperately.
"She is… fine, for a lack of better words." the healer said and smiled. "It is truly the work of the Valar. She just… walked into the healing talan all on her own asking to be looked at. My helpers thought they were seeing a ghost." He paused a moment before he went on and rubbed his forehead. "When I left here last night, she was in grave condition. We did not think she would make it through the night. Messengers were sent to Ithilien already to inform her family."
Haldir put his head in his hands. He had not thought about Eowyn and Legolas being notified of her condition. This would not be good. "What did you find when you examined her?"
"The wound is nearly healed. She breathes as well as you or me. There is no fever, no bleeding, she is healed by some miracle, thank Eru." The healer had a certain excitement in his voice.
"Then it was not a dream." Haldir said to himself and the healer gave him an odd look. "I must see her." he said and started to get up from the bed. Instantly, his head began to spin and the healer caught him so he would not fall to the floor.
"You must take it easy Marchwarden. From what the Lady Caladwen has told us, you spent a great deal of your energy to heal her during the night. You should not try to stand until your strength has returned. Now you lay here and I will have a meal sent to you. I will tell the lady you are awake and asking for her." said the healer and he left.
Haldir wondered what exactly Caladwen said to them. If what he experienced last night really happened, it was a private matter and he did not want everyone to know his business. He tried to sit up in bed and he became very dizzy again. "What has happened to me?" he said to himself.
A few minutes later, the healer came with a tray of food and Caladwen following close behind. As soon as Haldir's eyes fell upon her, his heart raced. She was more beautiful than he could ever remember. It was as if he had not ever really looked at her before. He supposed he hadn't, being he was too busy denying his true feelings for her. She smiled and the whole room seemed to light up. The healer felt the electricity in the air and decided not to stay long.
"You should eat this first and drink all of the liquids. When you feel your strength has returned, you may call for me and I will help you get out of that bed. I wouldn't want you to fall or re-injure any wounds of yours or Lady Caladwen's." The healer turned to Caladwen with amazement. "You are truly blessed my lady. Only the Valar could have restored you to this condition. You are even stronger than the Marchwarden." He shook his head as he left Haldir's talan. "A true miracle indeed." he muttered to himself.
Caladwen stood in the doorway gazing at Haldir. He almost looked child-like. He seemed reborn somehow. It was in his eyes where she saw the most prominent change. His soul showed bright behind their silver-grey hue. "Good morning, Haldir. How are you feeling?" she asked with a warm smile.
"I should be asking you that question." His eyes traveled down to her feet and back up again. "You were… dying. How is it that you are already walking and I am the one stuck in bed left to recover?"
"Last night, you spent all of your energy to heal me. For a moment I feared that I consumed too much of your life force and may have harmed you. You released me just before it was too late."
"I do not understand."
Caladwen went to him and sat on the edge of his bed. She took his hand in hers. "Do you feel that?"
There was the familiar static charge he was used to feeling from her. "Yes, I have always felt this." he admitted.
Caladwen smiled and lifted his hand to her lips kissing his warm skin. "This is how you healed me. You have always had this ability but neither one of us knew what it was. When we touched, you transferred some of your energy to me, making me strong. Last night, when my fea was leaving this world, you gave me every ounce of your energy to heal my mortal wounds. It brought me back to life but it left you weak in the process."
"Will I always feel this when we touch? I cannot afford to become too weak like this again." Haldir commented.
"You can learn to control it, even to the point where we can hold hands and not feel the charge surging every time."
Haldir frowned slightly. "I rather like the feeling, but I understand your meaning." He looked to her. "Everything has changed hasn't it? Our lives will never be the same now. We have connected in a way that we cannot ignore."
"I never want to ignore our feelings. I love you Haldir. I guess I always have, even though it was as a friend in the beginning. And I understand how new this is to you. I will give you as much space as you need. I do not wish to…"
Haldir grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to him, capturing her lips and kissing her with more passion than he ever thought possible. He broke away from her and looked deep into her eyes. "I do not require space. There has been too much space surrounding me my whole life. Now all I want is closeness. I meant what I said to you. I need you and I want you in my life. I love you and I never want to forget how good this feels, having you in my arms. You are dear to me and I cannot lose you again." He kissed her once more and she melted into his strong arms.
There came a knock at the door and Haldir ended the kiss rather abruptly. He scooted away from Caladwen and motioned for her to move away also. Caladwen giggled as she creased her brow. "What is the matter, Haldir?"
"It is not proper for us to be seen like this. We should not be alone in my talan though there is a good reason. But we especially should not be sitting on my bed and alone in my talan. Now, stand up before I allow visitors." He was very serious the way he spoke. Caladwen did as he said, not wanting him to feel uncomfortable. This was something they needed to work on in the near future.
"Come in." Haldir said and Orophin and Rumil entered the room. Caladwen noticed they were not bothered the least by finding her and Haldir alone in the same room. It seemed the Lorien Elves were a little more accepting but whether it was due to the circumstances or not, she could not tell.
Rumil went to Caladwen and grabbed her hands. He lifted her arms out to the side and looked her up and down, disbelieving what he was seeing. "When they told us of your recovery, we had to see it with our own eyes. I saw you myself, Caladwen. You were at deaths door. How did this come to be? You look as though you were never injured."
"It was your brother's healing touch that saved me." she said glancing at Haldir. "It seems the Valar have blessed my Guardian with special healing abilities. If it weren't for him, I would not be standing here now."
Orophin stood next to Haldir. "They told us you were drained of your energy. I did not understand what they were talking about at first until they explained it further. Have you always had this ability?"
"I do not know. If I have then it did not come forth until Caladwen came along. I would like to think that it was transferred to me somehow. I would hate to think that I always had this gift and could have saved others had I known. This is all too new to me right now. I am still straining to understand it myself. Maybe Caladwen and I should pay a visit to Lord Celeborn. Perhaps he has some knowledge of this new craft." Haldir turned and swung his legs over the edge of the bed. He looked to his brothers. "I believe my strength has returned. Would you help me to stand?"
Rumil and Orophin nodded and went to Haldir. Each one took an arm and helped him up. He was a little wobbly at first but soon he found his strength and was able to stand on his own. His brothers stayed by his side just in case. The Marchwarden walked over to where his shirt and tunic were neatly folded and put them on. Rumil glanced over his shoulder to Caladwen. She had averted her eyes from looking at Haldir's half-naked form and there was a pink tinge on her cheeks. Rumil smiled to himself. He could feel the love these two shared. It was very new and innocent, much like his own love. Maybe his mother would get her final wish after all. It seemed that all three sons were now in love with their soul mates.
They all made their way to the healing talan. The Master Healer looked up with surprise. "Marchwarden, I did not expect to see you up so soon. How are you feeling?"
"I feel much better now, thank you. I am still a little tired but my strength returns. How long before I can travel back to the city? I need to speak with Lord Celeborn."
"You should not travel for a couple days, not until we know more of your condition and how strong you are. As for Lord Celeborn, you are in luck. He will be arriving here shortly. He came as soon as word reached him of the mishap with you and the Lady Caladwen. It also seems he intervened the messenger I sent to Ithilien. He said there was no point in worrying her parents. She is fine and the long journey would be wasted on them. They will know soon enough about their daughter and her Guardian."
One of the Galadhrim ran into the healing talan. "Marchwarden, the Elves have spotted a small group of strangers, supposedly Men, traveling close to the borders. They do not appear to be a threat, but after the last attack, we should remain cautious. We await your orders."
Haldir knew he was in no shape to leave and looked to Orophin and Rumil. "I leave you in charge during my recovery. Do what you see fit and handle this with care. It is not our intention to capture and question everyone who comes too close to our forest. Keep in mind; we are supposed to be in a time of peace."
Rumil and Orophin nodded to Haldir and picked up their weapons that were left by the doorway. They headed out to take care of the problem. Caladwen looked surprised at Haldir's reaction. "Since when do you leave the decisions up to your brothers?"
"Since I realized what it means to be your Guardian. Orophin and Rumil have earned their leadership roles and the respect of my warriors. They can handle things quite well without me." Haldir admitted.
The healer smiled. "It seems the Marchwarden will not be leaving your side anytime soon, my Lady."
"And it seems he has accepted his new title graciously." said a regal voice from the talan door. All turned and saw Lord Celeborn enter through the archway. They each bowed a proper elvish greeting to their ruler. "Haldir, you look no worse for wear. I see the Lady Caladwen has made a full recovery." He walked over to her, took her hands in his and held them to his chest. "We were quite worried for you, my dear. Your fea was very close to departing this world." He looked over to Haldir. "Next time do not wait so long to intervene, young Guardian." He spoke with a smile on his face.
"My lord, what do you know of this newfound ability?" Haldir said curiously.
"I have known for some time now of your destiny, Marchwarden. It was no mistake that you came across the Lady Eowyn so long ago, when she was injured and with child. And when you held Caladwen for the first time, you were meant to feel a strong connection to her." Celeborn explained.
Haldir looked at Caladwen. "I felt it even before then." he said smiling at her. At this point, the healer could see he was not a part of this conversation and left the room, closing the door behind him to give them their privacy.
Caladwen looked questioningly at her Elf. "When?" she asked.
"It was before you were born. Your mother, Lady Eowyn was walking through the woods one day. I was always close by, watching over her. Suddenly she stopped and grabbed her stomach. I thought something was wrong and flew to her side. What I found was a laughing and excited woman. She had just felt you move within her womb for the first time. She said she needed to share the moment with someone and grabbed my very reluctant hand, placing it on her body. I thought it was the most embarrassing and inappropriate moment of my long life when suddenly I felt something brush across the palm of my hand. I never told this to anyone, not even Eowyn, but I felt the spark we have shared before. It was not very strong mind you. It was very slight but I felt it nonetheless. It was then that I knew I just had to protect you from that moment on. I did not understand it then and my ego helped me to forget about it. But it was a moment that changed me." Haldir put his hand over his heart. "A crack in the ice, you might say." He smiled at Caladwen for she knew exactly what his words meant.
"This is good to see." Celeborn said. "So it would seem the Light of Lothlorien has chosen…"
Caladwen stopped him. "Please, my lord, I would not want it worded wrong. Haldir is not a choice. There was no one else from which to choose. He was meant to take up this role all along. It was just a matter of time before we found each other. We still have a lot to learn from one another. Our wounds are still healing. I believe one day we will be put on our permanent path, if that is the Valar's intention."
Haldir was surprised by her words. He just assumed they would become consumed with each other and whisk off in a whirlwind of emotions. Caladwen's words eased his mind. Somehow, she understood this and wanted to ease into this relationship just as much as he did. This made him love her even more deeply.
"It seems you both have a better understanding than you think. I must warn you, Haldir. If you should ever have a need to heal her again, be careful. She draws energy from your fea. While you are healing her, you are also losing your own life force. Take it too far and you will not survive. You came very close last night, though it was needed to save Caladwen. She will not know when to stop feeding off your energy. You must be strong enough to end it or she will consume you. Let us hope your assistance will not be needed again."
"I agree, my lord. Caladwen should not be put in harms way again. It was foolish of her to come to the borders in the first place." Haldir was taking up his Marchwarden stance in the presence of Celeborn and Caladwen did not like the tone of his voice. She let it be and did not retaliate this time. Besides, it was wrong of her to disobey the laws of Lorien. She should have known better.
Celeborn said all that was needed at the moment. He said his good byes and left. Caladwen and Haldir were left alone. He instantly went to her and wrapped his arms around her. They kissed a fiery kiss and felt the world around them disappear.
When they parted, Caladwen spoke. "I know this changes things between us now, but I am still the same Caladwen you have always known. I like the fact that you will be by my side but I must still be allowed to make my own decisions. Sometimes you will not agree with them but it is my right to do so. I will not make you jump into anything you are not ready for either."
"We will take things slowly. We still have others who depend upon us. You are still a teacher and I am still the Marchwarden of Lorien. We are still traveling on our own paths." He took her hands in his and brought them to his lips, kissing them tenderly. "But now those paths lead on side by side. I will never be far if you should need me."