Chapter 33 Rumors
Occasionally, Haldir had visions of Caladwen. They were usually in an embrace with her laying gentle kisses on his brow. He ached for her, wanted her back. He wanted to touch her again and if nothing else, just look upon her beauty. It had been almost a year since he returned to Lorien. He often thought of traveling back to Ithilien yet he remained in his Golden Wood. If she needed him, she would call out to him. He would know and only then would he go to her.
In the meantime, Caladwen and Bandorion formed a friendly relationship. He was a huge help to her in her teachings. In fact, she was about to offer him a teaching position. If he would teach just one of her classes, it would give her some free time. She was hesitant though. She knew of the fondness Bandorion carried for her. She could not return those feelings. Sometimes she caught him watching her and it made her uncomfortable. He had however remained respectful to her and for that, she was thankful. Because the two spent so much time together, rumors spread of an impending relationship between them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. He was a friend and colleague, nothing more. Yet, the rumors spread. Then, word reached Haldir.
He had just finished his duty at the borders and came back to Caras Galadhon. It had been months since he had been home. He climbed the winding stairs to his talan. Just as he was approaching the door, he heard voices. Two Elves were standing around the corner. They had not seen Haldir.
"I heard he is a man of Gondor, son of a Ranger no less. She hired him as a teacher." said one Elf. Haldir's ears perked up at the mention of teachers.
"She has been in the world of Men for too long. She's already been married to one. I think she will choose a mortal life." said the other.
"Do not speak of such a thing. Without the Light of Lorien, our home will fade. And what about the Prince? Does she not consider what will happen to him if she chooses this path?" said the first Elf. "He has already been through so much. I wish for him to finally settle in Valinor but that will not happen if she becomes human."
"Well," said the second Elf, "if it is true and she settles on this Numenorean, your fears could come true. Some say she has already chosen him. A lot like her father she is, favoring to love a mortal."
The Elves continued up the staircase and Haldir stood by his door. Were the rumors true? Had Caladwen met and fallen in love with a man of Gondor? He knew the one Elf in Lorien that would know. He opened his talan door and entered. Rumil and Orophin were enjoying some tea in the kitchen. They knew right away by the look in his eyes that he had heard something.
Orophin stood up. "Hello Brother. I see you are back from the borders. You have been gone a long time." he said as he made his way towards the door. He knew Haldir did not wish to speak with him.
As Orophin tried to scoot past the Marchwarden, Haldir grabbed his arm. "Perhaps you would rather stay a while longer." There was no escaping so Orophin did not even try to leave. He stood back and watched as Haldir made his way to the kitchen.
"Rumil, it is good to see you. Perhaps you would like to fill me in on the doings of the city. What news do you have for me?" Haldir said rather calmly.
Rumil was no fool. He could see the Marchwarden had heard something, he just didn't know what or how much. "Well, a ship sailed recently. We have lost more inhabitants of the City. Celeborn has opened trade with Eryn Lasgalen once more, though not much has been exchanged yet. King Thranduil does not like to part with his goods. Still, it is good to know the offer is there." Rumil paused.
"Anything else? Have you heard no word from Gondor?" Haldir questioned, giving him a chance to speak.
"Gondor? Let me think. No… not much comes from those parts of Middle Earth." He was hiding something, Haldir could tell.
"Are you certain you are telling me everything you know?" the Marchwarden said calmly.
"Well… uh…I…" Rumil stuttered.
Suddenly, Haldir slammed his fist down on the kitchen table, upsetting the dishes and teacups. Rumil jumped and closed his eyes, bracing for another thump but none came.
"Perhaps you should find your voice." Orophin suggested from behind Haldir.
Haldir glared with slanted eyes at Rumil. "Tell me what you know." he said in a low voice.
Rumil swallowed hard and looked compassionately at his older brother. "It seems you have heard something about a certain Peredhil and a man of Gondor."
"Is it true, Rumil? Does she seek comfort from another, a son of a Ranger?" Haldir asked calmly.
"Mind you, it is merely a rumor. It is a long way from Gondor to here and many words have been exchanged. Sometimes the meanings get mixed up. I cannot be for certain it is true but I have heard the same as you." Rumil tensed and awaited another outburst.
Haldir stood there, silent. Rumil and Orophin wondered what went through his mind. Without another word, Haldir turned and left the talan. "Where are you going?" the other two asked almost in unison.
"I will not be staying here tonight." Haldir answered.
"Are you returning to the border?" Orophin asked. That was where he usually went when he was upset.
"I am not leaving the City, but do not come looking for me." he said.
Rumil stood up and returned Haldir's cold stare. "You are going to her. You are going to Bellethiel."
"It is none of your business where I go." Haldir answered then considered his words. "What do you know of her anyways?"
Rumil looked at Orophin, knowing he was about to degrade the sister of his best friend. "I'm sorry you have to hear this Orophin." Then he turned back to Haldir. "She will poison your mind. She only wants one thing from you and she does not care who gets hurt in the process. Don't you see? She has come between you and Caladwen."
Haldir took a step towards Rumil. "If you must know, it was only one night many months ago. Besides, there is nothing left for Caladwen and me. She is free to live her life just as I am to live mine."
"If that were true then why are you so upset to learn of Caladwen's new love interest?" Rumil softened his features and laid a hand on Haldir's shoulder. "Please my brother, do not go to her. Open your mind. I fear something will happen soon, a change in the wind. Caladwen will need you soon and if you are under this other elleth's spell, you may not hear."
Haldir looked deep into Rumil's eyes. He wanted to believe him. He wanted to listen to him, but something clouded his mind. Instead, he turned and left the talan. He needed to clear his thoughts.
Orophin looked at Rumil. "Do you believe the rumors?"
Rumil sighed. "I do not know what to believe anymore."
Haldir walked around the City for a long time. No one spoke to him. They all gave him plenty of room when they passed him. In a way, he had his life back. He was once again the feared Marchwarden. No one dared to challenge him. A few ellith from his past approached him. He turned down their advances. He had not been with anyone since his liaison with Bellethiel. He thought about that night with her, how he imagined it was Caladwen. Did his mind reach her? Did she know he had been with another? Maybe that was the reason she sought comfort elsewhere.
He made his way to the cellars of Lorien. There he found his parents private stock of wine. He grabbed a bottle and headed for somewhere private. After walking about for a while, he found himself at the field where he and Caladwen practiced archery. It seemed so long ago, that night when she returned for her bracers and found him there. He remembered the feeling he got from touching her, that spark. No one else made him feel that way. His mind went back to the time she was injured and their souls collided. Hers was so beautiful. His love saved her then. It was the first time he admitted his feelings. Why was she with another now? What went wrong? Why could he not forget his past and live for the future, with Caladwen by his side?
Haldir opened the wine and took a long drink from the bottle. He walked to the targets and touched the holes where her arrows had pierced them. Looking at the targets, he could see her aim was better than he gave her credit for. He had been tough on her then. He turned her away that night. He had always turned her away. What else could he do? She has her own path to follow. Their connection was too strong and it might influence her decision. At least that is what he always told himself. It was too late now. She was moving on, just as he had wanted her to do.
He sat down on the bench in the glade. Half of the wine was gone. His head was beginning to swim. A light breeze blew across his face and he suddenly felt tired. He lay down on the soft grass under a tree and let sleep overcome him.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
That same evening, in Minas Tirith, Caladwen was taking a stroll through one of the many gardens created by her father and the Elves. She felt at peace here, letting her mind wander. She sat down under a tree and closed her eyes. The first thing that came to her mind, the first thing that always came to her mind, was Haldir. She delved deeper into her subconscious and was drawn to the time they happened upon each other at the practice field. She hadn't thought about that time in a long while and was not sure what brought it forth now. It felt as if she were back in the glade with Haldir. Their hands touched and a spark was ignited. She had felt it many times before but this time Haldir admitted to feeling the same thing. It was the night she realized they had a connection much deeper than friendship.
Now she was brought to the night before her wedding. Haldir was her first and only elven kiss. The electricity that coursed through her body was ecstatic. She let her mind go and relive that moment and other intimate moments they shared over the years. She could feel the touch of his hands, the taste of his lips, the scent of his skin. She was entranced and did not notice when Bandorion approached her.
He remained silent and watched as pleasure spread across her face. He whispered her name and she smiled, eyes closed and obviously in another world. He sat down on the ground next to her, studying her features. With a light touch of his hand, he tucked a stray hair behind her ear, allowing his fingers to brush the pointed tip. She gasped slightly but never opened her eyes.
"What is it you want?" he whispered, his warm breath caressing her ear.
Caladwen heard the voice but in her mind it was Haldir speaking. "I want to feel your lips on mine once more." she answered aloud. Haldir leaned into her and lightly pressed his lips to hers. They were so soft and warm. The feeling was so real. The kiss deepened and lips parted.
Bandorion's hand came up and cupped the side of her face. "You are so beautiful. I wish this moment would never end."
Caladwen smiled. Haldir's voice was so sweet, rare for this hardened Elf. "Come to me. I miss you. I need you." she whispered.
Bandorion knew her pleas were not for him. She was dreaming of her Elf but kissing him. He knew he should stop but she was so inviting. Her hand came up behind his neck as she drew him in for another kiss. Bandorion allowed her to continue.
Back in Lorien, Haldir was having the same dream. Caladwen was kissing him, touching him, pleading for him to come to her. He could feel her touch, her breath. It was as if she was right there with him. Her intoxicating scent filled his head, along with the wine. He tried to speak to her but these words were not his. He wanted to tell her he still loved her and wanted to be with her but another's voice replaced his.
"Too long have I admired you from afar. You consume my thoughts. I see you and my heart beats from my chest. I know you still love him but he is not here. I am. Let me show you what it could be like if you let go of your past." Bandorion spoke in her ear, nibbling on her neck in between sentences.
Haldir could not understand what was happening. He had not said this to her. Where was his voice? He could still feel her closeness though. What trickery was this?
Haldir's words confused her. "But you are my past and I want you in my future. You must let go of your fears. I will not hurt you. I love you too much." She waited for an answer but none came. "Haldir, what say you? Will you follow me into this future and not worry about my decision?" She was coming to, exiting from her trance.
Haldir did not hear her last words, but he could still see her. The look in her eyes was of pure love. However, there was silence now. Something broke their communication. Suddenly, she looked away from him, a look of surprise on her face. A figure began to materialize next to her, a man with brown hair and hazel eyes. He gazed upon Caladwen with want and need. She turned to him, still with such compassion in her blue eyes. She was with him, the Numenorean. The vision was not a dream. It was happening right now. Then everything turned to darkness.
When Haldir did not answer her, she brought her mind back to reality. Someone was kissing her neck, holding her close. She opened her eyes to see Bandorion sitting next to her. It was him all along. He was the one touching her, kissing her, speaking to her. She tried once more to reach out to Haldir but he was gone. "Bandorion? What are you doing?" she said lightly.
In Lorien, Haldir awoke with a start. 'So it is true, she has found another,' he thought to himself. But she was with him in his dream. What game was she playing, touching another while thinking of him? She had called to him, brought him into her reality. He did not want to see her with another man. His heart ached and then anger set in. His body had been responding to her. The wine made him irrational and his body sought for release. Upset for seeing her caressed by someone's lips other than his made his blood boil, which further spiked his wanton needs. He got on his feet, knocking the bottle over and spilling the remaining contents onto the ground. The irony of it played with his thoughts. The wine, like Caladwen, was one of a kind, special, saved for many years until at last it could be savored. Yet not all of it. Now it was spilled out onto the ground, left to evaporate into nothing. It was gone, wasted. All those years of care for something so precious and for what? He had enjoyed it for a while but it was gone. Caladwen was gone. Maybe he was better off for it. While all these thoughts poured through his head, he had not realized where his feet had led him. He looked up to see the small stream that ran through the City. Someone was sitting next to it, the moonlight playing with their silhouette. He almost thought it was Caladwen but his mind was clouded. As his vision focused, he could plainly see who it was now.
"Hello Haldir. It is a beautiful evening is it not?" she said.
"It is not just the evening which is beautiful. How have you been, Bellethiel?" Haldir said in his sultry, seductive voice.
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.