25. Mixed Signals
Chapter 25 Mixed Signals
Caladwen settled into Emyn Arnen. Once a day she sat and read with Faramir. He enjoyed these quiet times with her. It helped him to forget about his condition. The pain in his shoulder had increased in the two years since Caladwen's arrival. The healers increased his medicines to accommodate him but there were some days when that did not even help. Legolas taught Caladwen and Eowyn elvish words of soothing in hopes that it would ease his pain on those days. Faramir thought it was their presence that helped him more than the elvish chanting.
During the time when he was not feeling the affects of his affliction, Caladwen would travel to Minas Tirith. She had become good friends with Eldarion, Aragorn and Arwen's son. It seemed the Prince's attention had been captured by a very lovely maiden. He told Caladwen all about her but that she did not know of his feelings for her. Caladwen saw her opportunity to help. She had always been fond of Eldarion. He had always been a good friend of hers growing up and she wanted to do what she could to help him win the young maiden's heart.
Eldarion decided to ask Caladwen for lessons in learning elvish poetry, love poems and songs. Being partly of elvish blood, he wanted to impress this fair maiden with his new talents. He could have asked his mother but it would be too embarrassing. Caladwen was more than happy to help, though at first she was unsure of what to teach him. Luckily, Haldir wrote often while they were separated and she used these love letters as examples, changing the wording of course. When she was in the city, she met with him where it was quiet and they were undisturbed. The courtyard in the Citadel was the perfect place. It was an area reserved for only the highest ranking nobles which meant it was nearly always empty as they were busy people in Minas Tirith.
"So, what will you teach me today?" Eldarion asked her on a bright and beautiful morning.
"You are learning very quickly, Eldarion. Soon I will run out of poems." she laughed. "Are you sure you are not putting things off? You can learn every love song and poem ever written but it will do you no good if you do not talk to her."
"I plan on speaking with her very soon. You must understand it is not easy being the King's son and trying to woo a beautiful woman. If she is not confident, she will think I am tricking her to gain something."
Caladwen smiled. "But I know you, and you would not fall for someone lacking such a trait." She became quiet at this point, remembering how she used to follow him around when she was a young girl with a first crush.
"Where does your mind wander?" he asked with a tilt of his head.
"Oh nothing. It is silly actually, not even worth mentioning." she replied as her cheeks tinged pink.
"Go on. What are you thinking?"
"This is embarrassing." she said turning away from him. "I carried quite a big torch for you when I was young."
Eldarion smiled. "Yes, I remember well."
"You knew? But you never said anything."
"I could not say anything. I knew in my heart it was never meant to be but I did not want to quell your hopes. Instead, I chose to ignore your ogling. I did not want to do anything to hurt our friendship." he said honestly.
"So you just let me go on acting like a love sick child?" She slapped him on the arm. "You must have thought me a fool. No wonder you never returned any of my feelings."
"I never thought you were being foolish. You just said I could never fall for someone with low self esteem. Well, that goes for friendships too. I always thought of you as being strong minded and determined. I never saw you as weak or silly. It was for this reason I was proud to call you my friend." he said more seriously.
Caladwen looked at Eldarion and smiled slightly. "Thank you for seeing me as I am. I agree with you. We could not have been anything more than friends. You know, it was Haldir who showed me my mistake. He was always there at the right times, even then." Her stare seemed to go to the direction of Lothlorien.
"You miss him terribly, don't you?" Eldarion asked when her eyes showed a glint of sadness.
"I really do. I thought he would have come for a visit by now. I only hope things are well for him. As long as I receive his letters, I know he is safe."
"I think you will see him soon." Eldarion patted her hand.
"I can only hope." she answered, never taking her eyes off of the horizon.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Meanwhile, the guards at the gates of the White City were allowing passage to a visitor. He was tall and fair, broad shouldered with eyes of grey-silver. Haldir had indeed come for a visit. Things back home had evened out considerably. He had been in Eryn Lasgalen, helping them to defend their city from the Corsairs, who abandoned the seas for the woods. They found the Elves to be well prepared, adverse and not easily defeated. There would be no plundering of any Elf realms anytime soon. Haldir was not so sure they would not attack again but for now they were driven back. Celeborn allowed Haldir the reprieve that he was deserving of. Now Haldir was anxious to see Caladwen. He had gone to Emyn Arnen and was told where he could find her. Not wasting another moment, Haldir headed straight for Minas Tirith. It would not be long before he held her in his strong arms and kissed her sweet lips. He had missed her terribly, her long golden hair and her crystal blue eyes. He headed on up the cobblestone path which led to the uppermost section of the city. He would have to meet with King Elessar, of course, but he would seek Caladwen first. Aragorn would understand, he thought. Slowly, he rounded a corner which led to the courtyard. There were voices and he stopped to listen. There was no mistaking whose voice he heard. It was indeed Caladwen and she was sitting with the young Prince Eldarion. She was speaking in elvish.
Caladwen: "Im mellen chen. [I have loved you.]"
Eldarion: "Ech pan I olthannen. [You are all I dreamed.]"
Caladwen: "Avo guithon uchen. [I will not live without you.]"
Eldarion: "Melithon chen uireb. [I will love you forever.]"
Haldir could only stop and listen to the endearments she was saying to him and he was saying to her. What was this? Why was she speaking to the king's son this way? They were talking to each other like a couple deeply in love. Had he been gone so long her feelings for him ceased? Was she pursuing Eldarion? Had she not gotten any of his letters proclaiming his love and promises to her? Suddenly, he felt like a fool for opening his heart to her. Why would she do this to him? He let himself love for the first time and trusted her with his heart. This was how she would treat him after he saved her life? Haldir felt his blood begin to boil. How dare she use him like that. Then a voice in the back of his mind recalled their last conversations before he left. He had agreed to remain her Guardian and not pursue anything more until her Deciding Day. But he did not think it meant they would no longer love each other or look elsewhere for companionship. The Elves did not play these love games. Once they gave away their heart, it was forever. Caladwen was only half-elven though. Her human side would seek comfort in the arms of another. This was the risk he took by loving her. She seemed to take on the characteristics of the place where she lived. Being amongst men she would naturally be more human than elf-kind. Still, he always thought her elven blood would prevail and keep from falling completely into the human world. Seeing her now with Eldarion only proved him wrong.
Haldir watched as she laid her hand on his arm. They laughed and her face lit up as they looked at each other. His heart felt like it was being ripped out of his chest and broken into a million pieces. Well, he was not one to wallow in sorrow. It was obvious, Caladwen had become rather close to the Prince. It seemed old feelings had resurfaced and now he was returning her advances. In his mind it made sense, one of the last Peredhil, daughter of an Elf Prince falling in love with the King of Gondor's son. She had admired him from afar when she was younger. He only wished she had told him before he made the journey to Gondor.
Haldir quietly slipped away, leaving Caladwen and Eldarion alone in the courtyard. He could not take it any more. It was time to leave and not look back. Off to the Citadel he went to have counsel with Aragorn then he would return home. He would not interfere with Caladwen's decisions. It was her path to take. However, he was still her Guardian and would be there for her should she need him, which he doubted.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A few months later, Caladwen began to worry for she had not received any correspondence from Haldir. Afraid something terrible happened in Eryn Lasgalen, where Haldir had been stationed, she sought out Legolas.
"Ada, do things go ill in your homeland? Have you heard news?" she asked.
Legolas sensed the desperation in her voice. "Last I heard the Corsairs were driven back. There have been no new raids on the city since then." He took her hand to calm her. "What ails you, hennen [my child]?"
"I have heard no word from Haldir. I was worried something might have happened. It is not like him to stay silent for so long."
Legolas could feel his anger rise though he remained calm for Caladwen. "I'm sure all is well. Now that the battle has ended, there will be many changes. This will require numerous meetings with your grandfather. Haldir, being the Marchwarden, has an important role to play in getting things done. And knowing your grandfather, he is keeping Haldir quite busy. You should not worry yourself. He will write soon." Legolas gave Caladwen a hug and brushed a stray hair from her face. "I see so much of your mother in you. Do not let his absence burden you, sell nin [my daughter]."
Caladwen felt better for having spoken to her father. Legolas, however, wanted answers from the Marchwarden. His biggest fear was that Haldir would abandon Caladwen and break her heart, keeping her from her correct path. It was something Legolas had done to Eowyn, or at least he felt it was his fault. He did not want this for his daughter and Haldir was a threat. Legolas may be the younger of the two Elves, but this was his child and no one would ever interfere with her life. He decided to see Eowyn. She was close to the Marchwarden. Perhaps she had some information that was useful.
Legolas waited until Caladwen left for Minas Tirith before he approached Eowyn. He made his way to Emyn Arnen and was told she was with Faramir. He quietly knocked on their door. There was no answer so he slowly pushed the door open. Faramir was lying in bed, sleeping. He noticed how frail Faramir seemed to become lately. Legolas felt his spirit weakening. For a moment, he forgot about the situation at hand and concentrated on his friend. The Elf noticed how his hair was turning grey and his skin looked pale. Turning to the sitting area, he saw Eowyn, resting on a couch. Her eyes were closed and a book rested upon her chest. She looked worn and sallow. Too long had she remained inside and not seen the rays of the sun. He wondered if she knew of Faramir's worsening condition. She would need comfort soon. Legolas hoped she would come to him in her time of need. He decided she had enough on her mind and would not mention Haldir. Those thoughts he would keep to himself. Quietly, he left the room, letting Eowyn and Faramir remain asleep, a much needed rest no doubt.
Caladwen tried to concentrate on other things but her mind always went back to Haldir. Why had he stopped writing? Something must have happened. It was not like him to forget her, or was it? Over the next few weeks, Caladwen began to question her trust in him. She had heard all of the stories about his amorous ways. She thought he was done with that life. Did she misjudge him? Could he be so cruel? It was possible. They hadn't seen each other in a very long time. It upset her that she was even having these thoughts. He had proclaimed his love for her, a first for Haldir.
She went to Eowyn for advice. Her mother knew the Marchwarden quite well. Maybe she would know what to do. "It is not like him to cease contact. Ada says the battle has subsided in Eryn Lasgalen. Why do you think Haldir stopped writing?"
Eowyn sat down and patted the seat beside her, gesturing for Caladwen to sit next to her. "There are many things you do not know about Haldir. He has a very hard outer shell which must be kept intact at all times. He has worked his whole life at maintaining it. If he feels it is being threatened, he tends to avoid whatever it is that is doing the threatening. In this case, you are a great risk to him. If he lets himself go, he will go against everything he's ever blocked his heart from."
"He told me he loved me." Caladwen whispered. "Does he not mean what he says?"
"His heart is true. Of this I have no doubt. You must give him plenty of room to make decisions."
"But we haven't seen each other in two years. How much room does he need?" Caladwen said.
Eowyn looked surprised. "He did not visit you when he was here?"
"What do you mean Mother? When was Haldir here?" Caladwen said confused.
"My maids told me Haldir was here looking for you. They told him he could find you in Minas Tirith and he left immediately for the city. He did not even stop to see Faramir or myself. He only wanted to find you. How could you not have seen him?" Eowyn had a feeling something else was amiss.
"I never knew Haldir was even in Gondor. Why would he come all this way and leave?" Caladwen began thinking of what reason he would have had for such abrupt behavior. Was he misinformed about something? Was he called away without having a chance to speak to her? To know Haldir was so close and she did not get to see him made her heart ache. "I must find out what happened Mother. I need to get to Lothlorien, quickly. I have to confront him in person. I know Haldir. Whatever happened was enough to send him away without finding me first. Letters will be no good now."
"Lothlorien is a long way away. It would take a few weeks on horseback. I do not think it is such a good idea to be so far from Emyn Arnen at this time. If something should happen to Faramir in your absence…"
"I can travel the Anduin River." Caladwen said, interrupting Eowyn. "I can get there in half the time by ship."
Eowyn shook her head. "Absolutely not. The River is not safe from the Corsairs. It is too dangerous."
"I could take some of Ada's best warriors with me. I myself would be fully armed. Please Mother, can't you see how important this is to me?" Caladwen pleaded.
"You have already been injured once by them. You would risk it again, just to speak with Haldir?" Eowyn said with slight anger. "I advise against such a journey my daughter. Send correspondence first. If Haldir loves you as he says he does, he will respond. I cannot let you risk your life… again."
Caladwen heard the worry in her mother's voice. "Perhaps you are right." she said defeated. "You say you fear something might happen to Faramir in my absence. Is he deteriorating at such a rate that you advise against journey on horseback? I thought he was in good spirits when last I saw him. He is still strong in that way and I do not sense his fea weakening."
"I don't know what it is. Call it women's intuition. I just feel as if time is not on our side. He sleeps a lot more now and he goes outside less. It takes every ounce of energy he has just to get up and dressed everyday." As Eowyn spoke, she stared off into the distance. That was when Caladwen noticed how worn her mother looked. She had not noticed the bags under her eyes and her pale skin until now. Eowyn was good at hiding her worry.
Caladwen smiled and took Eowyn's hand. "You worry too much Mother. He still has a lot of life in him. I do not foresee anything happening yet. I think there is time for me to journey to Lorien and back, if not by ship then by horseback. I would take the swiftest steed. I could stop and see Uncle in Rohan and take a fresh horse for the journey home."
Eowyn gave her that look that all mothers give their grown children when they disagree but must still be supportive. "You would hurry back then? Bring Haldir with you if you must but you must not linger in Lorien for more than a day or two."
"I will bring Haldir if he wants me by then. I have to find out why he left like he did. Something is wrong and I must know and correct the problem."
Eowyn sighed deeply. "You have my permission then. But you cannot leave without telling Ada your plans. He will want to send his best warriors with you for a safe journey."
"Of course Mother. I will see him now."
"See me about what?" said a silky voice. Legolas strode into the room. He looked very relaxed in his shirt and leggings. His hair hung long and unbraided and he wore no shoes.
Eowyn studied the two of them. Caladwen looked so elf-like standing next to Legolas. His eyes lit up every time he saw their daughter. She was his pride and joy. No wonder he was so overprotective of her. "Our daughter asks for permission to travel to Lorien. She wanted to go by ship but I feel the river is not safe just yet."
"Your mother is wise to deter you from such a dangerous path. The Corsairs still rule the waterways even though they have been seen further inland. Why the sudden urge to travel?" Legolas asked.
Caladwen looked at her mother for support. Eowyn smiled, stood and patted her daughters arm. "I will leave you two to discuss what we have already talked about." As she walked toward the door, she stopped and leaned into Legolas' ear. "Keep an open mind, dear Legolas. Remember we too made decisions once which shaped our future." Eowyn turned back towards her daughter and winked before she left.
Legolas watched Eowyn leave the room then faced Caladwen. "This is about Haldir is it not?"
"I recently learned that there may be some miscommunication between us and that is the reason he stopped writing. Did you know he came to Gondor a few weeks earlier?" she asked.
"I did not know. Why did he not come to see you?" Legolas asked.
"That is why I must go to Lothlorien. I cannot do this through letters. I must see Haldir in person and find out why he no longer writes. Mother is afraid something will happen to Faramir while I am gone. If I went by ship I could make it there and back in half the time. However, Mother says it is not safe."
"I must agree with her. If you insist on going you should travel by horse. As for Faramir, your mother is correct about his condition. I sense his weakening but I do not think it is so close that something will happen in your absence." Legolas smiled at Caladwen and then pulled her into an embrace. "I wish you would not go at all but I know where your heart lies. I will not stand in your way. I will, however, send guards with you. You should not travel alone."
Caladwen hugged Legolas tightly. "Thank you Ada. I was so afraid you would be angry with me or with Haldir."
"I am not angry with you." he stated simply and Caladwen felt his animosity toward the Marchwarden. "You may not find the answer you seek when you arrive in Lothlorien. Prepare your mind and your heart."
"I understand." Caladwen said stepping back and looking her father in his eyes. "You have made the same kind of decisions with Mother, haven't you? This is why you will not stand in my way."
"Letting Eowyn go to be with Faramir was the hardest thing I ever had to do but it had to be done. I always felt it was my fault she strayed from her path. In the end things worked out well. If this is why Haldir has turned from you, I hope he does what he thinks is right for you and not for himself. His heart and mind are still separated. You should ask him about his mother. It was her fading which led to his arrogance. He cannot continue until he heals. He may not want to heal. Just be prepared for either chance."
Caladwen embraced Legolas once more before she left to pack a few things for her journey. In a couple days she was off with a small company of Ithilien Elves. In a few weeks she would arrive in Lothlorien and seek out Haldir.
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.