Chapter 34 Undesirable
"Bandorion? What are you doing?" she said lightly. She had been dreaming of Haldir when she awoke to Bandorion kissing her neck and touching her inappropriately. She pushed on him but he resisted. "Please stop. I do not want this."
"Why Caladwen? Why do you not release your past? It is the Elf isn't it?"
"My past is none of your business." she said angrily. "Now, unhand me this minute."
Bandorion loosened his grip on her but did not remove his hands from her arms. "You hold onto someone who does not care. If he did, he would be here now. Why can you not see that? I could show you the meaning of love if you would just let go and see what is in front of you."
"You are greatly mistaken. I know how love should be and it is not this." she said looking at his hands, still restraining her. He finally let go of her and she left the garden hoping Bandorion would not follow.
She was completely thrown for a loop. Though she knew about his fondness for her, she never felt threatened before. This just would not do. He had managed to work his way into her life, helping her with her teachings and taking over one of her classes. She could not have him involved anymore. Things needed to be put to an end. She let a few days pass, giving Bandorion a chance to apologize. When he did not, she decided to tell him he could not work with her anymore.
Caladwen waited until he showed up at the classroom for their usual planning. She was surprised to see the state he was in. His hair was unkempt and his face was unshaven. His clothes looked as if they had not been changed in several days. She felt very uncomfortable being alone with him and decided to change their location. She was not sure how he would react when she let him go.
"Bandorion, I have some time this morning. Perhaps we can go for a walk." she said with a forced smile. They exited the classroom and she led him to an area where there were other people.
"You look absolutely radiant this morning Caladwen." he said looking her up and down, his eyes lingering too long on some areas more than others. "Have you had a change of heart?"
Caladwen sighed. "Bandorion, until recently you have been very respectful. I am not sure what has made you change but you have. I know of your feelings for me but I have nothing to give you in return. I am afraid you have crossed a line that cannot be ignored. That is why I have to ask you to find work elsewhere. I no longer require your assistance." She was very professional in her speech and looked him squarely in the eye. She saw the hurt grow on his face. The last thing she ever wanted to do was hurt someone but she had no choice.
"Very well then. You have made your feelings very clear. I am sorry if I made you uncomfortable. Please forgive my behavior." It was not what she expected from him but she was glad he was being civil about the whole thing. He turned and walked off without making a scene. That was what she hoped would happen. Yet, it was too easy. She wondered if this was truly the end.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
A couple weeks passed by with no further incidents with Bandorion. Caladwen felt confident that he had seen the error of his ways. She continued her teaching and took over the class Bandorion had been teaching. She realized that the people responded to her better and decided never to give any of her classes away to another.
She had just finished up with her last class of the week and was walking to some of the nearby shops. Suddenly she had the overwhelming feeling that she was being followed. Very casually, she looked about her but saw nothing out of the normal. She stopped at a flower cart to pick up a bouquet to take home when someone touched her shoulder. Caladwen gasped and turned quickly to find Gimli standing behind her. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh.
"I didn't mean to frighten you lassie. Is everything alright? You seem a little shaken." the Dwarf said.
"Gimli! I did not know you were in the city. I am fine. You just caught me off guard is all. So what brings you to Minas Tirith?"
"The King has summoned me. It seems he wants my advice on some stonework near the Citadel. I visited Ithilien before I came here. Your mother seems to be doing well, despite everything that's happened."
Caladwen smiled. "She is strong Gimli. She will pull through this sadness. Besides, Ada is staying in the palace now. He watches over her."
Gimli chuckled. "Indeed he does. He is ever loyal to Eowyn. She is lucky to have him close by." He looked at the flowers and laughed. "You shouldn't have."
Caladwen's suspicions and unease disappeared as she shared a laugh with Gimli. "I know you better than that, Gimli. Jewels and stone would be a much more agreeable gift to a Dwarf."
"Indeed they would be. So, how are your lessons going?"
"Very well though life is a little more hectic since I had to let my assistant go." She had not told anyone the real reason why. As she spoke to Gimli, she caught movement out of the corner of her eye. Across the way, hidden in the shadows was a cloaked figure staring and observing her. 'Bandorion' she thought to herself. She was afraid this would happen. "Gimli, would you care to join me for some tea? I was just heading back to my house."
"I would very much like to but alas I have been summoned. I must get to the Citadel."
She looked across the street again and just caught sight of Bandorion fleeing into the ally. "Would you mind if I joined you? Actually, there are some things I wish to discuss with the Queen." Caladwen really did not feel like being alone right now.
"I'd be glad for the company." Gimli said. He offered her his arm and they were off.
While Gimli met with Aragorn, Caladwen went to spend some time with Arwen. She decided to tell her about Bandorion and see if anything could be done about him.
"He has made no new advances but I am always in fear of someone watching me from the shadows. I do not like this feeling and never before have I had to deal with someone like him."
Arwen thought for a moment. "I could have guards posted at your residence if it will make you feel better. Or perhaps you would like to move into one of the guest quarters for a while, until you think it is safe to go back home."
Caladwen smiled slightly. "That is a very generous offer but I'm afraid moving here would be a long way from my classroom and the guards might scare off some of my pupils. No… I think I will deal with this myself. I just wanted to make sure someone knew what was going on. I have spoken to no one about this."
"Maybe I can have Aragorn find out something about his background. If we can find some evidence of violence or violent behavior in his past, it might be enough to have him ousted from the city."
"Oh no please Queen Arwen, I would not want to do anything so harsh. As I said, he has done no real harm. However, if he becomes insistent again, I will let the King do what he thinks it right."
Arwen put a gentle hand on Caladwen's arm and smiled understandingly. "I am glad you came to me Caladwen. It seems we have hardly spent any time together since you moved to Minas Tirith. It is truly an honor to have you here." There was a knock at the door and a servant entered carrying a tray with fruit, bread and tea. The maid sat the tray on a table and nodded before she left. Arwen went and poured two cups, bringing one for Caladwen. She sat back down and took a sip. "So tell me, why is Haldir not her with you?"
Caladwen sighed and stared into her cup. "I'm afraid I sent him away. Things have not been very smooth between us. We have had some difficulties finding a middle ground that we can live with."
"Is he not still Guardian of the Light?" Arwen said with a sly smile. "His feelings run deep though he keeps them well hidden from anyone."
"He tries to keep them hidden from me also. I cannot play this game anymore. He wants to stay distant from me until my Deciding Day, but if he really loved me that would not matter."
"He loves you Caladwen. Do not ever doubt that. Haldir is complicated but you help him to sort things out and that scares him. He has never been dependent on anyone and to let go and love you completely would mean to be at the mercy of that love, especially if you choose mortality as I did. He has experienced the strength between you when he saved your life."
"Our souls met that day and ever since they have tried to find a way back to each other." Caladwen said with sadness in her tone.
Arwen looked confused. It seemed that once two souls found each other, nothing could get in the way of their joining. Then a thought occurred to her. "What does Prince Legolas think of all of this?"
"Ada knows that my choice will affect him. If I choose mortality, he will fade when I die. If I choose eternity, we will one day all be reunited in Valinor. This also weighs heavily on my mind. I feel responsible for so many. Ada knows this and lets me make my own decisions without any influence what so ever. He feels that no one should influence me, most of all Haldir. I think he is frightened that Haldir will sway me one way or the other for his own benefit, but that is far from the truth. So to show Ada he is faithful, Haldir chooses to maintain distance between us. It is a vicious circle."
Arwen smiled and thought about the time she told Legolas he was a Chosen One and would give a child to the world. "Nothing is stronger than the love between a parent and their child. Do not worry. He will come around."
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Later on that day, Caladwen met up again with Gimli. When she found out he would be staying in the city for a while, she offered him her spare room.
"Are you sure I will not be putting you out lassie? The last thing I want to do is upset the Prince's daughter." he laughed.
"You can always travel back to North Ithilien. My father would gladly make room for you in his talan home." she teased.
"My lady, no Dwarf in his right mind would live in a tree and I won't be the first. Your spare room will do just fine." Gimli said and they headed down to her home.
He was amazed at the set up she had. The classroom was of a grand size. "And you say every class is full? You can fit a lot of people in here. How do you do it?"
"Somehow it gets done. I guess I enjoy my work. As long as people have questions, I will have a job. I go where I am needed and right now, Minas Tirith is my home. It is close enough so that I can visit Mother and Ada but far enough away from…" she stopped herself from finishing that sentence.
Gimli looked at her and sensed her sadness. "You know… he really is not that bad of an Elf. He has given me permission to visit Lothlorien whenever I desire. That in itself says a lot. We did not exactly get along very well when we first met."
Caladwen looked at the floor. "No one does. He prides himself on it. I am nothing like that. I want to embrace everyone I meet. Oh Gimli, how did we end up like this? We are such opposites yet everyone tells me how we are made for each other."
"You have never really looked at the Marchwarden then. You say it is Haldir's fault that you are not together but your eyes are closed just as tight as his." Gimli hated the sound of compassion passing over his lips. "Now you listen to me. You are very bright and beautiful and warmhearted. You should not be wasting your thoughts on this. Dwarves do not care for the ways of the heart unless it is their own. So let's get on with it and show me your home. I would very much like to settle into my room."
Caladwen's mood was instantly lightened. Gimli was good like that. He did not linger on one thought for very long. They made their way up the stairs and to the spare room. It was just perfect for what he needed. He advised her that he would of course watch after himself. If he dirtied it, he would clean it. If he used it up, he would replace it and so on. He would be gone before her classes started in the morning and back after they ended. Soon, Caladwen forgot all about Bandorion and even stopped looking over her shoulder all the time. Life was good and everything went along smoothly.
A few months later, Gimli made it known that he was moving to the guest quarters in the Citadel. He finished his work on the lower levels and the King now needed him on the higher ones. To make it easier on Gimli, Aragorn offered him a guest room so he would not need to travel so far every day. Caladwen was sad to see him go but understood he was needed elsewhere. He moved out that very day.
Caladwen was lonely at first. She had gotten rather used to the Dwarf living under her roof. After the first couple of days, she got used to the idea of being alone again. All was well until one evening, as she was coming home from visiting friends, she found a package on her doorstep. At first, she thought Gimli left her something for letting him live there. She smiled and picked it up, taking it into her home. She went upstairs and set the package on the table. Opening it carefully, she found a dress inside. 'This is an odd gift for a Dwarf to give.' she thought to herself. Something hand carved from stone or crystal seemed more appropriate. She took the dress out of the box and held it up to her. It was a beautiful shade of red, deep like a ruby. There was no note, which was odd. She carefully placed the dress back in the box and made a mental note to thank Gimli the next time she saw him.
The water for her tea was ready and she made a cup. Caladwen was ready to settle down for the night when there was a knock at the door. She made her way downstairs. It must be Gimli checking to see if she got the present. A smile spread across her face as she opened the door. To her surprise, it was not Gimli at her door.
"Hello Caladwen. Did you get my gift?" It was Bandorion. He managed to clean himself up and look presentable. Caladwen was leery of him. It was the first time he spoke to her since she fired him.
"This dress is from you? But I thought Gimli…" she said confused.
"Ah yes, the Dwarf. It seems you have many friends. I see he was living with you for a while."
Caladwen was uncomfortable with his questioning. "Master Gimli is a long time family friend. He should be back soon." she lied, not wanting him to know she was living alone once again. "Bandorion, I cannot accept this gift. You must take it back." she said insistently.
"I put a lot of thought into this dress. Consider it a gesture of peace between us. You can wear it to the King and Queen's ball, which is happening very soon. Actually, I wanted to ask you if you would like to accompany me." Bandorion acted as if nothing had ever transpired between them.
"I'm sorry Bandorion. I cannot go to the ball with you and I cannot accept this dress." She handed the box to him. He took it reluctantly and she noticed how hurt he looked. Suddenly, anger began to grow on his face.
"Why can you not just accept the fact that we were meant to be together." His voice was low and menacing.
"Bandorion, you are a friend and nothing more, but if you keep this up you will not even have that title." She kept her composure the whole time.
"You still long for the Elf. You think he is better than me. In fact, you are half-elven yourself. Do you consider yourself to be above the race of Men as the other Elves do? Is that why you will not give me a chance? I love you Caladwen and I want to show you how happy we could be together." He grabbed her wrist and held it tightly in his grasp.
"Bandorion, you are hurting me." Caladwen said trying to break free of him. He grabbed her other wrist and pulled her to him. She wished she had some weapon on her. These were times of peace and she carried no such item. He was strong and she could not break free. The more she struggled, the tighter he held her so she thought it best to calm herself.
When she stopped wiggling, Bandorion thought she was giving into him. He lowered his face to her neck and breathed deep. "I have longed to inhale your scent once again. You must taste as wonderful as you smell." He brought his lips to her neck and kissed her roughly. "Just as I remembered. What other treasures do you keep hidden from me?"
Suddenly there was the sound of voices coming down the street. Bandorion straightened himself but did not let go of her wrists. He looked over his shoulder and saw a couple taking a nightly stroll through town. They looked over in his direction. "Thank you for a lovely evening my lady." he said a little loud so the passer-bys would not think anything out of the normal was taking place. Caladwen remained silent, not wanting to anger him. She saw more people coming up the street and was thankful for the disturbance.
Bandorion could see now was not the time for his plan and he leaned into her once again. He captured her lips, nearly biting the lower one. His kiss was hard and cruel. He broke away and whispered in her ear. "Until we meet again, beautiful Caladwen." Then he let go of her and disappeared into the night.
Caladwen was shaken to say the least and slammed the door shut, locking it and running upstairs. She did not sleep a wink that night, worried he would return. Finally, in the wee hours of the night, she let her mind reach out past the walls of the city, beyond forests and rivers, until she could feel the protectiveness of Lothlorien. Her soul called to him, her Guardian. Never had she felt so alone. She desperately needed to hear his soothing voice, feel his warmth.
It was like an out of body experience as her soul found his. Haldir's soul answered her as she felt that familiar spark which was usually present when they touched. Caladwen knew she needed him badly. She was scared and lonely. She feared for what Bandorion might do. These things were kept well hidden as her soul called out to Haldir. The only message sent was her urgency for his closeness.
'Haldir, please come to me. I miss you and I need you. Forgive me for hurting you. I did not mean those things I said so long ago. I have never lost my faith in you nor has my trust in you diminished. Please come.'
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Haldir had been in Bellethiel's bed that night. He went to her occasionally, when her brother Daeron was away at the border. It was purely a physical thing. He did not love her and she understood that.
He rarely stayed at her talan, usually leaving when they were done with their activities. However, this night he stayed, too tired to get up. Their night had been a rather exhausting one and he lay in reverie, Bellethiel curled up next to him. He felt a sudden pulling sensation, as if his soul was being called upon. He tried to ignore it but the feeling strengthened. It was Caladwen, he was sure of it. The wall he had so carefully erected blocked her true thoughts and his mind wandered as he felt the tugging at his heart.
'I can feel her soul calling out to me. It will always call to me. I can never change that, never want to. I love her. I want to be with her for always, but if she chooses mortality, what then? What will happen to me? I cannot fade. I will not fade. My place is here in Lothlorien, beside my lord until he decides to sail. Valinor will call to me then. I wish to see my distant home across the sea. Still, my love for her runs deep. I could very easily lose myself to her. I did once and I managed to regain control, though it cost me dearly. Now her trust for me is lessened. It is the reason she has found another. No… I cannot go to her now. We need this distance between us. I need it. Yes… I need to separate myself from her. I finally have my life back. She will be fine without me. She has someone else… but…
… I can feel her soul calling me.'
"Haldir?" Bellethiel called to him, bringing the Marchwarden out of his trance. "Haldir, can you hear me? Why won't you answer me?"
He turned to the she-elf and she saw the look in his eyes. It was love, but not for her. "Are you alright? You became restless in your reverie."
Haldir quickly got up and retrieved his clothes. The pulling of his soul was becoming too much to bear. "I have to go." he said with no emotion.
"But you cannot leave me." Bellethiel reached out and took his hand, stopping him. She stood up from the bed and pulled him close to her naked body. "I need you, Haldir. I want you. We are good at this." she said motioning to her bed. "Stay and make love to me again." Her lips captured his as she poured everything she had into her seduction.
At first, Haldir melted into her ministrations, but the haze in his mind cleared as he felt the urgency in his soul. The spell Bellethiel seemed to have him under began to dissipate. He pushed her away from him and she fell back on the bed. A look of shock splayed across her countenance. Haldir ignored her, dressed and left her talan without another word. Bellethiel somehow knew she would never see him again. Her own mind seemed to clear as she realized why she was keeping the Marchwarden to herself. He was her link to Middle Earth. With him near, she could subside the sea longing. She had only been putting off the inevitable. It was her time to set sail for the Undying Lands. She did not want to leave, fearing for her brothers' new occupation as a Galadhrim. She had been a fool to think she could seduce Haldir for her own benefit. "I will sail." Bellethiel said from the window as she watched Haldir's figure disappear into the night.