29. Hope Remains
Chapter 29 Hope Remains
After the death of Faramir, Haldir remained in Ithilien for a while. He stayed close to Caladwen and Eowyn during these first couple of months. Eowyn shut down emotionally and remained in her rooms. She would not see anyone besides her family, Legolas and himself. She would not wander beyond the walls of the palace. When she stopped taking her meals, Caladwen put aside her own grief and concentrated on her mother. Legolas made the decision to move into the palace while Eowyn healed. Together they made sure she was washed, dressed and fed. After a while, Haldir felt he was no longer needed. He decided it was time to go back to his home. His main reason for being here was to watch over and comfort Caladwen but she did not need him.
They came to an agreement, before Faramir's death, that they should remain friends and nothing more. Since then, Haldir could not feel the pull of her soul. It saddened him at first but it was mainly because of him that she felt this way. Though he was her Guardian, she was now at an age when she did not need him there all the time. Caladwen could take care of herself and she was doing it quite well. This is why Haldir decided to leave.
He found her sitting in Eowyn's garden. Since her mother had not been there in a while, Caladwen took it upon herself to take care of it. She was pulling a few weeds when she heard the gate open. As she watched Haldir enter, her heart skipped a beat. He always managed to have that effect on her. In her eyes, Haldir was still the most beautiful of all the Elves. Another glance at his countenance told her there was something on his mind.
"Eowyn will be pleased to know you take care of this place in her stead." Haldir said to her as he looked around.
"It will look as beautiful as it did the last time she visited." Caladwen answered. She noticed how he would not make eye contact with her. "There is something you wish to tell me, is there not?"
Haldir laughed to himself. "You always did know when my thoughts were elsewhere." He walked to her, sat down and began pulling weeds. They worked silently for a while before Haldir finally spoke. "I am returning to Lothlorien soon."
Caladwen stopped in the middle of pulling a weed. Haldir noticed her reaction. She returned to her work and said, without looking at him, "You are leaving so soon? I thought you would remain a little longer, at least until Mother's grief subsided."
"I do not foresee that happening anytime soon. Besides, I did not stay for her." he said as he pulled another weed.
Caladwen stopped again and looked at Haldir's profile. "I have become accustomed to your presence."
"I have sensed that, but you do not need me now." Haldir paused and felt her eyes upon him. He turned to her. "Why do you not grieve as Lady Eowyn? Though Faramir was not your father, I know you loved him very much. Nevertheless, I feel less sadness emanate from you as each day passes. Even after the funeral I noticed it."
Caladwen thought a moment and then went back to pulling weeds. "Everyone grieves differently. I guess I have set mine aside to be able to take care of my mother in her time of need. Life goes on, Haldir. My time for lament will come when I am not needed as much."
"Indeed life does go on, which is why I must leave. I am not needed here at the moment and my home calls to me."
Deep down she wanted to tell him to stay. She knew she would need him again but was frightened he would not return. As long as Haldir was here, she felt safety and comfort. Caladwen could feel his energy and it gave her strength. Had she become too dependent on it?
"When do you depart?" she asked, her voice only a whisper.
"The day after tomorrow." he answered. There was an awkwardness in the air when she did not react to this bit of news. Haldir stood up to leave. "I must meet with your father and let him know my plans."
Haldir walked to the gate. All the while, he wished she would say something that would convince him to stay. He would stay if she asked. His hand touched the latch and flipped it. Still nothing. He closed his eyes as he swung the gate open. Would she not try to make him stay?
"Haldir?" she said softly.
He turned quickly hoping to hear her pleading words that would keep him where he was. He looked at her with hope. "Yes, Caladwen?"
"Stay safe, Marchwarden. May your journey be an easy one." She allowed herself a slight smile. Caladwen wanted to tell him to stay. She wanted to tell him she had had a change of heart and give him another chance. Her heart greatly desired this but her mind disagreed. It was her heart that called out to him. But in her internal struggle, it was her mind that won in the end. She was letting him go. There were no plans for a reunion. He was leaving for his home and she did not know when she would see him again.
The hope Haldir held onto quickly diminished. There were no more words spoken between them. Caladwen seemed to have made up her mind and let him leave. It was over. They were moving on with their lives. She did not need him anymore, at least not now. Caladwen was stronger than anyone gave her credit for. What Haldir did not know was that he was the reason for her strength. They fed off one another. Now it was all coming to an end.
The Marchwarden went to Legolas to inform him when he was leaving for Lorien. Legolas thanked him for all his help. Eowyn was passing by Legolas' room when she overheard them talking. It seems they were just finishing their conversation so she peeked into the room.
"Ah, Haldir. Can I speak with you for a moment?" she said sweetly.
Haldir bowed to Legolas and the Prince returned the gesture. "Have a safe journey back to your home, Marchwarden. You are welcome here anytime."
"Namarie, Prince Legolas, Lord of North Ithilien." Haldir said and left. He entered the hall to find Eowyn standing there waiting for him. She wore a sweet smile as she patiently waited for the Elf.
"What would you like to see me about, my lady?" Haldir asked. He was cautious as Eowyn did not seem to be herself. Of course, she had been very distant since Faramir's death.
"I could not help but overhear your conversation with Legolas. So you are leaving us again?" she asked.
"Yes, my lady. I believe my time here has ended. Lorien calls." he answered.
"And what of Caladwen? Do you not think she will need you? Lorien is so far away."
"Caladwen will be just fine. She is, after all, the daughter of a Shieldmaiden." Haldir thought he would say it before she did. He noticed Eowyn was leading him to her private office but thought nothing of it.
Eowyn let out a slight laugh at Haldir's comment. There was something else mingled in with her tone. "Come in a moment, Haldir." she said as they reached the door to her study.
The Elf politely opened the door for her and she strolled in. Haldir followed and closed the door behind them then turned to Eowyn. She was smiling at him, which was odd. "Haldir, we have been friends for many years, have we not?"
"Yes we have."
"So you will not mind if I speak openly to you?"
"It has never stopped you before my la…" Haldir's words were cut off as Eowyn unexpectedly pushed him in the chest, catching him off guard. They had spared with words many times before but Eowyn had never physically attacked him. She pushed him again and he actually stumbled backward, bumping into her desk. He put his hands out behind him, catching himself before she pushed him over the desk. "Lady Eowyn, what has gotten into you?" he said surprised.
She tried to push him again but he caught her hand with his. "I suggest you stop this rash behavior." he said sternly.
"Why do you not fight for her? Why do you let her have her way? She needs you but is too stubborn to admit it." Eowyn said in a raised voice. "And you… are you so hardhearted as to not notice her true feelings for you?" At this point, Eowyn pulled away from Haldir's grip.
Haldir remained calm and answered in a mannerly fashion. "Caladwen and I have come to an agreement. We made a mistake. There is nothing more than friendship between us. Do not worry, when the time comes and she needs me, I will be there. In the meantime, we were meant to go on with our lives."
"Is this what you have told each other? Can you honestly tell me there is nothing more between you and my daughter? You have decided to forget the past and call it a mistake." Eowyn got up close to Haldir's face. "Can you admit there was never love between you? Remember Haldir, you are an Elf and you cannot lie."
Haldir could feel his anger rising. Eowyn was pushing all of his buttons and he had had enough. "Whatever feelings we once had for each other are now buried deep." Now it was Haldir's turn to retaliate. "What business is it of yours anyways? Caladwen makes her own decisions. No one may interfere. Besides, you have not taken a look around lately, have you? You are living in darkness letting everyone cater to you."
"My husband just died. What do you expect me to do? I am still in mourning." she said through gritted teeth.
"Where is the Shieldmaiden now? Do you think Faramir would have wanted you to lock yourself away in this… this… dungeon? Life goes on, Eowyn. Caladwen and I are just going on with our lives. Maybe you should too." Haldir's tone was of anger and that was not common for an Elf. He was always in control of his emotions but Eowyn had gotten under his skin. Who did she think she was to tell him how to live his life when she had stopped living her own? As he got up from the desk and stood tall in front of Eowyn, he watched as her legs began to go out from under her. The Elf scooped her up in his arms before she hit the floor. She was crying and distraught. Her hands pushed on his chest trying to free herself from his hold on her. Haldir held on tight. When she stopped fighting, he pulled her into his chest and held her close while she sobbed uncontrollably. His strong arms wrapped around her and he rocked her back and forth, whispering in elvish to try to calm her. He waited for her to calm a bit before he slackened his hold on her.
"I'm sorry Haldir. I never wanted you to see me like this." she said between sobs. "It's just… I miss him so much. It hurts Haldir. Every breath hurts; every heartbeat feels like it will be my last. I do not want to live without him. He was my life and now he is gone. Why? Why did it have to end now? We were so happy together. We were finally one with each other. Why, Haldir? Please tell me so I may understand and stop the pain that living causes me." She was crying again and becoming quite distressed. "Do not make the same mistakes as Faramir and I did." she whispered before her breathing became erratic. Haldir spoke to her in elvish and she calmed some, but she was still rather upset. Suddenly, Legolas burst into the room. Haldir looked up at him.
"Help me calm her. She is upset beyond reason." Haldir pleaded.
Legolas sat next to them on the floor. He took her from Haldir and held her. She buried her face in his chest. Legolas and Haldir both spoke elvish comfort words to her and she finally calmed. Soon she was sleeping. Legolas carried her to her bedroom and laid her in her bed. Haldir pulled the covers over her and placed his hand on her forehead. "Rest my lady." he said.
They did not leave until they were sure Eowyn was in a deep sleep. When she was resting comfortably, the two Elves stepped into the hall.
"What happened here?" Legolas asked his brow creased.
"I am not sure. One minute we were talking about Caladwen and then Faramir. The next thing I know, she is inconsolable. I tried to calm her but she fought against my words. Always the Shieldmaiden, this one. I am just glad you came when you did." Haldir would not go into detail about their conversation.
"Faramir's death has been very hard on her. I worry for her wellbeing. She cannot continue along this path. She will make herself ill." Legolas looked back to her door. "She may not sleep long. Haldir, will you find Caladwen and bring her here. I want Eowyn to see her when she wakes up. I think it is best she has our daughter nearby right now."
Haldir was hesitant. "I am not certain I should be the one to tell Caladwen…"
"Please Haldir. I cannot leave her now." Legolas pleaded.
"Of course. I will bring her here." he said with a sigh. It did not go unnoticed by Legolas and he wondered what had happened between the two.
Haldir found Caladwen at the stables. She had been out riding and was bringing fresh food and water to her horse. She was not expecting to see Haldir there and knew something must be wrong.
"Haldir?" she said with worry.
"The Lady Eowyn had a bit of a set back in her grieving process. She is sleeping now and your father is with her. He asks for you to come and be there when she wakes up."
They left right away. "What happened?" she asked.
"We were talking when she became very upset with grief. She broke down crying and your father and I calmed her. She is still very distraught over the loss of Lord Faramir."
After a few more steps, Caladwen spoke again. "What were you talking about that triggered her?"
Haldir said nothing at first. After a long pause, he told her. "She thinks we are making a mistake."
Caladwen remained silent and stopped walking. With her eyes glued to the ground, she spoke. "What do you think?" she asked and waited for his reply.
It was a dangerous question. If he agreed with Eowyn, he would be admitting they still belonged together and that could influence her future decisions. If he disagreed, she would never trust him again, ruining any chance of a future they could possibly have together. He tried to avoid the question all together. "Legolas is waiting for us. You should be with your mother. I would not like to see her in that state again." he said and continued walking, not waiting for Caladwen.
She ran to catch up with him. "Why do you avoid my question?"
"Why do you insist on an answer? I thought we had an understanding?" Haldir hurried his step.
Caladwen was walking quickly, almost jogging to keep up with him. She knew he was running away. He was avoiding the conversation and that could only mean one thing. "Do you not agree that we should remain friends?"
"I thought we had this all worked out. You are to continue along your path as a Peredhil and I am to return to Lorien and do my duty. Why can you not just leave it at that?" he said with anger in his tone.
Caladwen stopped running. It seemed like she was always the one trying to catch up to him and he was always running away. She was tired of it. She would make her true feelings known and leave it up to him what he would do next. "I cannot leave it alone, Haldir." she yelled to him, making him stop. "I cannot leave it alone because I…" Did she really want to finish this sentence?
Haldir called to her without turning to face her. "Be careful of your words my lady."
Caladwen closed the distance between them. She was standing behind him, looking at his long silver hair, broad shoulders, and his sleek frame. She wanted to wrap her arms around him and tell him of her undying love for him but his warning rang through her head.
Haldir waited for her to finish her sentence. He longed to hear her admit her love for him. If she did, he would sweep her off her feet and never let go of her again. He was taking a risk but it was well worth it. He loved her, of that he had no doubt. But could he love her and not influence her decision? That was where the problem lay.
Caladwen could not find the words. They had escaped her and maybe it was for the best. If Haldir no longer felt as she did, it would be heartbreaking. She had not even grieved for Faramir yet and to lose Haldir now would be devastating. "I just don't want to lose anything we have."
"We are connected, Caladwen, if only as friends. That is something that we will never lose. This…" he said and took her hand in his, letting the tingle of energy pass between them. "This will never leave us. This belongs only to us." As they held hands and relished the moment, they found each other's gaze. Their eyes spoke deep of their feelings without words. They were caught in a look. Haldir longed for this moment and leaned towards her. If only he could taste her sweet lips one more time before he left, then he would have everything in the world to live for.
Caladwen was on fire. The pure beauty of his fair face was so close now. His full lips were almost touching hers. She wanted this. She wanted him but something else was taking place. Her thoughts took over as she remembered how he treated her when he thought she had betrayed him. If he had truly loved her, he would never have thought she could do such a thing. Just as his lips were about to touch hers, she pulled away and released his hand, breaking their connection. The spark died away.
Haldir looked at her, searching for an answer to her rejection. Her face had become emotionless. All hope of having her in his life again had disappeared along with the love that shown in her eyes. "It seems you have found your answer."
Caladwen started walking again and pretended nothing had happened. "Father is waiting for me. I should not keep him."
They reached the palace doors and were about to enter when Caladwen laid her hand on Haldir's arm. "I'm sorry, Haldir. I guess we were only meant to be friends. If a caused you any…"
"Of course not. Do not apologize as there was no harm done. I believe we have both found our answers." he said. Caladwen continued through the doors but Haldir paused a moment. He looked at the place where she had touched his arm. There was no lingering static. This was his answer for if she still felt for him, there would be a spark. Haldir gave up on any hope for their future. It was time to move on.
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.