Chapter 24 Apologies
The next day Haldir made himself scarce. He looked for Caladwen though not very thoroughly. Actually, he knew where to find her but chose not to look in those places. She was rather upset when they parted the night before. However, he did not want to leave Ithilien without speaking to her and he was leaving tomorrow morning. He decided to spend some time in the forest in North Ithilien, where Legolas' home was. He went to the stables to retrieve his horse and noticed Caladwen's steed was not there. She must have gone out riding so as not to run into Haldir. His heart ached at the thought that she avoided him. He had not meant to hurt her. He was still very much in love with her but things seemed to speed up at a rate he was uncomfortable with. He tried to explain this to her but his words did not come out right.
He arrived in North Ithilien to find Legolas giving some advice to a couple young elflings practicing their archery. He approached and waited until the Prince was through and sent the young students on their way. They greeted each other with proper elvish bows before they spoke.
"Mae govannen [Well met] Haldir." Legolas said with a slight smile. Although he did not care much for the Marchwarden, it was important to keep things civil. "What brings you to my home this lovely day?"
"I must be on my way back to Lothlorien tomorrow and I wanted to see your fair forest before I left. Ever has it been a home away from home for me."
"It gladdens my heart to know you find such comfort here, Marchwarden." Legolas took a step closer to Haldir and spoke with a hushed voice. "Have you searched your thoughts about our discussion yesterday?"
"Your counsel was well taken, my lord, a little too well perhaps as it seems the Lady Caladwen has gone off on her own today."
Legolas wrinkled his brow. "Did something transpire between the two of you that would make her disappear?"
"Perhaps I chose my words unwisely, my lord. I merely wanted to make it known that we should not rush into anything. I was trying to honor her but I am afraid she mistook me and I became too harsh." Haldir said and looked away from Legolas. "You were correct with your assumptions. I was only seeing her as elf-kind, though I know she is not. The game of love is all to new to my heart and I may have acted out of turn, but I only wanted to give her room to make the correct decisions without my interference. I think it is best I leave first thing in the morning. If anything changes and she needs my strength, I will be by her side as quickly as the eagle flies. But I love her too much to hinder her."
Legolas did the unexpected and laid a gentle hand on Haldir's shoulder. "I am sorry if I thought unkindly of you, Marchwarden. You are a most noble Elf and I can see the change in you. She will miss you in your absence."
"I would not leave without first clearing the air with her. If you see her, please tell her I look for her. I will be at the palace." Haldir bowed again and left Legolas to return to the city.
When he arrived, he found Eowyn and Faramir sitting in the garden. He was sitting on the soft grass, leaning against a tree and Eowyn leaned back against his chest. Haldir observed them from afar. They were so happy together as they sat smiling and laughing together. Haldir had never had a love like that. Even what he felt for Caladwen was not as free as he wished it was. Gone are the days when Haldir needn't worry about the ellith he came together with. Then, he had only to make a mutual agreement with them and go on about his daily life afterward. The heart was never involved and it was easier. Not any more, though. His heart was unprotected and it finally belonged to another, but he could not have her as he wanted her. Maybe it was time to enforce a new barrier, one that only Caladwen could come through and only when the time was right. He hoped she would understand his decision to keep distance between them until her Deciding Day. She would just have to trust that he would be there for her then and that he could find the courage to face her no matter which path she chose.
Eowyn looked up and saw Haldir approaching them. A smile spread across her face. "Haldir, come join us. It seems we have hardly spent a moment together since you arrived and already you are leaving us."
Haldir approached the Lord and Lady and bowed. "I would not want to impose…"
"Nonsense." Faramir said as he got up. "It seems my wife has wanted a moment alone with her dear friend. I have some business to attend to anyway." He held his hand out to Eowyn and helped her up. Then he drew her in and kissed her passionately. Haldir turned from them, feeling like an outsider. Faramir looked at Eowyn with a fire in his eyes that was unmistakable. "I will see you later then, my love." he said before leaving the two friends to talk.
Haldir held his arm out for Eowyn and she accepted it. They walked along a path and Eowyn noticed the Marchwarden's reserve. "Tell me what troubles you, mellon nin."
"And how would you know there is something wrong? Are you able to read minds now?" Haldir said with a stone face. This was the way they always interacted with each other.
"Because Caladwen also bears the same anguish." Eowyn stopped walking and let go of Haldir's arm taking up his hands instead. "Love is not as easy as you thought, is it?"
"Had I known it would bring such pain, I would never have allowed it in." he said with a bit of anger.
Eowyn smiled knowing he meant no harm. "And where would my daughter be right now if you had made that choice?" Her comment hit home and Haldir realized he never had the choice.
"I'm sorry my Lady. I meant no…"
"It is alright, Haldir. I know you would not have let her die just to save yourself from feeling heartache. Caladwen is very determined and when she knows what she wants, she is not hesitant. Takes after her mother in that way." Eowyn laughed. "She must learn patience. I suppose that is something you could teach her. In return she can teach you about love." Eowyn smiled and reached up to kiss the Marchwarden's cheek. Then she changed back to her stern and rigid self. "As for your current situation, I think you are supposed to remain not more than her Guardian for now. It would surely make my life much easier at the moment. Now you will leave and I am left with a lovesick child to take care of. I think I liked you better when you were arrogant and kept to yourself." Of course, Haldir knew she was just jesting.
"Had you never let yourself be kidnapped by Orcs in the first place, I would not be in this spot at the moment. I would be stubborn and miserable in my home and maybe better off never knowing such foolishness of humans." he clamored.
They walked in silence a little further then Eowyn spoke without looking at him. "I'll miss you Haldir. Do not worry yourself. I believe you and Caladwen will be together some day. I just hope it is something I will see in my lifetime. It sure would be nice to have little blond haired elflings running about the palace one day." They stopped walking and she slowly turned to see the expression of fear, surprise and embarrassment on the Marchwarden's countenance. Then she let out a laugh she was holding in. "Relax Haldir. I was only joking… to a degree."
Haldir straightened back up and held his arm out to her again. "I think it is time you returned to the palace and sought out Faramir. Perhaps he will know where you left your sanity."
Eowyn laughed. "Good one, my friend."
Haldir and Eowyn arrived back at the palace. As they approached the front steps, Caladwen emerged from the door. She stood still as a statue and stared at Haldir. He stopped at the bottom of the steps and returned her gaze. Eowyn let go of his arm and patted his hand. "Go to her Haldir. Tell her your true feelings. Do not part in anger or sorrow."
Eowyn left the Elf standing were he was and ascended the stairs. As she walked by Caladwen she whispered in her ear. "He loves you very much but is frightened at the same time. Be understanding and patient with him." She kissed her daughters cheek and entered the palace.
Haldir and Caladwen did not move for what seemed like an eternity but it was Haldir who made the first move. He began climbing the stairs never taking his sight off of her. She took a few steps forward and they met at the top of the stairs. They looked deep into one another's eyes.
"I am sorry, Caladwen. I did not mean to hurt you."
"It is I who should apologize, Haldir. I did not give you a chance to explain yourself." She reached out and took his hand. "I have given it much thought and I understand what you were trying to tell me. Things became very heated and moved a little too fast."
"I love you, melamin and I one day hope to give you everything I have to offer. It is not that I am afraid to give you my soul, knowing you still have a decision to make one day. It is the fact that I should not interfere until that day comes. I will love you no matter what you choose but for now I must protect you and watch out for your well being."
A tear came to Caladwen's eye as Haldir spoke. "I should not force you to choose to love me no matter what. I understand your fear of losing your soul should I choose a mortal life. I would not wish to see you fade. It was selfish of me to think the decision would be easy."
"Neither one of us have an easy decision. I only pray that your Deciding Day comes sooner for I yearn for the day I can hold you in my arms without having to hold back any of my love for you."
They embraced each other and melted into a passionate kiss. The outside world faded away and only they existed in this one moment in time. Haldir finally broke the kiss and took a step back. "I will miss this." he whispered. "Will you return to Lothlorien when you finally leave Ithilien?"
"I cannot say. If I am not lead in any certain direction I would very much like to return to Lorien. As for now, I do not even know how long I will be here. I just know I need to be with my family right now." Caladwen took his hands. "Will you come back to Ithilien?"
"I am just as unsure as you but if you need me for anything, I will be here." Haldir pulled her into another embrace. "I would like to spend the rest of my time with you. Would you walk with me?"
"I would be nowhere else." she said laying her head on his chest. Haldir breathed deep and took her arm in his. They set out for a long stroll through the palace grounds. Later, they had one of the cooks pack them a delicious dinner which they took to a quiet spot by the stream. Finally, they fell asleep under an oak tree. Haldir held her in his arms all night long.
The next morning Caladwen woke up to delicate kisses on her face. Haldir's long silver hair brushed along her neck. His woodsy scent filled her head and she wished to never leave this spot.
"Wake up melamin. It is morning and I must be on my way soon." His warm breath caressed her ear.
"Can't we stay here a little longer? I just want a little more time to memorize this moment." she said sleepily.
"I would wish to never leave this spot, but we must get going." Haldir said, pulling her tighter to him. "I can give you this to memorize though." Haldir laid his lips upon hers and kissed her deeply. The air sparked with electricity. Their bodies were tingling from each others touch. Tongues danced and hands roamed. They both wished to be able to join their bodies if not their souls. The desire to share their love was overwhelming. Caladwen pulled away from him before she could not stop herself.
"You have given me something to look forward to. Your kisses set me on fire." she said in a breathy voice.
"All I need is to say your name and I am transformed to this moment. I will miss you melamin." Haldir stood up and offered her his hand, helping her up also. They gathered their things and walked hand in hand back to the palace. He retrieved his horse from the stables and they made their way to the gates of the city. Haldir embraced Caladwen once more before he mounted his horse. The kiss would have melted the white caps of the snow covered mountains.
Watching from their bedroom window, Faramir and Eowyn held each other and smiled. "They will be together one day." Eowyn said. "I feel it in my bones."
"I'm afraid they will fight their feelings first though. I wish Caladwen would have an easy life but Haldir will prove to be a challenge." Faramir said with much concern. "Still, I am glad they have found each other. If they make it through the difficult times, they will find their love will never fade." As he said this last part, Faramir kissed Eowyn with all of his passion before he led her back to their bed.
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.