38. A Voice From The Past
Chapter 38 A Voice From The Past
Legolas managed to get Caladwen out of the tunnel and into the open air. As soon as the warm sun hit her face, she smiled. "It is over." she said and then lost consciousness. He picked her up and carried her up to the Healing Houses. As the others of the search party exited the tunnels, they joined him in his plight to save his daughter. Soon there was a large company of people following him. They met Aragorn and Gimli already waiting at the healing room. The King himself would help her. She was still unconscious when Legolas laid her down on the bed. Aragorn looked over her injuries. Her face had many scrapes and bruises. There were some lacerations around her eyes and he applied special salve for the swelling. Her wrists were rubbed raw from the straps. When the nurses came in to remove her dirty clothes they found more bruising on her stomach and around her ribs. Fortunately, there were no broken bones, just a couple cracked ribs. She was very lucky to be alive as she was malnourished and dehydrated. There was just one thing left to check for. Aragorn looked at Legolas and thought of how to ask him this next question.
"Do you know if she has been… violated? I am sorry to have to ask you this. If you know for sure she hasn't we will not need to check any further." Aragorn spoke softly with his hand on Legolas' shoulder.
"I… I do not know. Haldir went in the room first. I do not know what he found. We had no time for words and he left immediately to notify the others that she had been found." Legolas looked at Aragorn, a new kind of fear on his face. "Do you think she's been…?" He could not bring himself to say the word.
Aragorn's face fell as he thought about the possibility that Caladwen had been raped. "To make it easier for everyone, I will have one of the women examine her."
Legolas nodded. "If it must be done."
All the males in the room left except Aragorn and Legolas. They turned around to give them their privacy. The female nurse approached Caladwen and started to lift up her gown.
"That won't be necessary." said a voice from the doorway. Haldir was standing there, a look of great sadness on his countenance. "She was not raped. I… I stopped him before he could do any harm."
Legolas was stunned. He had not thought about the scene Haldir came across when he entered the secret room. Whatever he witnessed must play heavily on his mind and heart. That was the reason he wanted Legolas to wait outside. He did not want the sight of his daughter being violated etched into his mind for the rest of his days. For the first time since learning of Caladwen's disappearance, Legolas felt compassion for the Marchwarden. He walked up to Haldir and put his hand on his shoulder. "Hannon le. [Thank you.]" Legolas whispered, a tear running down his fair face. Haldir bowed slightly and looked over the Princes shoulder at Caladwen. Legolas noticed. "She will be alright. There are no broken bones. Aragorn is tending to her wounds." Then he stepped aside so Haldir could go to her. When he did not move, Legolas motioned with his head for the Marchwarden to approach her. "She will need you. Will you stay?"
Haldir looked at the Prince with creased eyebrows. Legolas smiled slightly. "I may not agree with her decision but I am beginning to understand it. You can help her recover from this. She will have nightmares, undoubtedly. You can be there in her dreams and help her through these dark days as she heals. Her elven senses have taken over and she has entered into a healing sleep. I ask you again Marchwarden, will you stay?"
Haldir nodded. "I will my lord." Legolas thought he saw the glistening of a tear in the corner of Haldir's silver eye.
"Thank you." Legolas said simply.
Haldir turned once again to Legolas. "Will you notify the Lady Eowyn now? She should not be kept in the dark any longer.
"I am going there now." Legolas replied.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Three days had passed and Caladwen was still in a healing sleep. Haldir had not left her side for even a moment. During those days, she wrestled with her dreams just as Legolas said. Haldir would close his eyes and concentrate, letting his mind meld with hers. The dream was always the same, a dark tunnel and the voice of Bandorion threatening her. Haldir would appear to her and try to persuade her that it was only a dream.
"Haldir is that you?" she would ask.
"I am here Caladwen. This is just a dream. Your ordeal has ended. Bandorion is dead. He can no longer hurt you." Haldir would approach her and her face would light up. Then suddenly, she became scared, screaming for him to leave her alone. Each time Haldir thought he was making progress, she would suddenly turn on him and regard him with utter fear. The nightmare was winning. Haldir could not hold onto her for very long before she shut him out of her mind. This happened time and time again. It was becoming very frustrating for the Marchwarden. By the end of the third day, Haldir was ready to give up trying. Maybe she just needed to do this on her own without his help. He did not want to upset her and that was the outcome every time.
There was a knock on the door. Haldir went to answer it and found a messenger waiting in the hall. He handed Haldir a sealed parchment. "A message from the Lord Celeborn of Lothlorien. No response is needed." He left quickly and Haldir took the note into Caladwen's room. He sat down in a chair and broke the wax seal reading the contents.
'Haldir, word has reached Lorien of the fate of our most precious Light. You must be strong for her now. She will fight you every step of the way but you mustn't back down. Stand firm and make her realize it is just a dream. You must help her return to her consciousness. She is frighten and resists. You are her Guardian and the only one with the power to assist her. Not even the Prince can pull her through now. It must be you. Do not fear what you know you must do. Reach out to her soul. It is time that you made a choice. She has made hers and waits for your response. Trust the Valar. They will not lead you astray.'
Haldir never did understand how the Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods knew what was happening before anyone else. Their counsel was never misleading. Many times, they helped Haldir in the past, sometimes even as he resisted. Once again, he felt the urge to do just that. Celeborn was asking him to do the one thing he had avoided his whole life. There was more at stake now than just his own feelings. Caladwen depended on him to give her his strength. Now that she was turning him away, he had to force his help upon her by loving her completely, heart and… soul. His soul was the one thing he so easily avoided. He swore he would never give it to anyone. He would not end up like his mother, broken and fading. So many lives were injured when she left, especially his.
He looked at the letter again… 'Trust the Valar. They will not lead you astray.' he read. Then he glanced over to Caladwen lying in her bed, broken and battered.
Suddenly he heard a voice. It was the same one he heard a while back. "One can be broken and not fade Haldir. Caladwen has experienced things she will never forget. It will be a part of her until the end of her days. It can consume her and it will unless you help her."
"Who are you?" he whispered to the air.
"Do you not recognize my voice? It is not surprising. It has been many long years and what you remember may be different than how it is." Then there was a giggle in the air and Haldir remembered.
"Naneth [Mother]." Haldir's voice was barely audible. "But how is this possible? How are you able to speak to me?"
"That is not important my son. My time is limited and I have so much I wish I could say. Lord Celeborn's letter is correct. You are the only one who can help Caladwen now."
Haldir seemed not to hear her. He had many questions of his own he wished to ask her. "Why did you leave us? Why could you not find it within your heart to stay for us instead of letting the grief take you? This was my fault wasn't it?"
"I never stopped loving you or your brothers. I knew how strong you all were and I knew you would be alright. But my bond to your father was much stronger than the will to stay. If I stayed, I would have only been a shell of myself and I could not let my sons see me like that, you most of all. You would have put your whole life and ambitions aside to take care of me. I had a vision of what would happen to our precious home had you not become Marchwarden. This was your destiny. I would only have hindered you and brought an early end to Lothlorien. The sacrifice of one was worth the lives of many. I just hoped you would understand one day. You have done well my son, but it is time for you to let go. The days of evil have passed. The time of Man has come. Lothlorien will fade no matter how long you protect it. Caladwen is the new hope and she needs you more than either of you will ever know. Let go of your past Haldir. I never wanted it to be this way for you. I never wanted you to feel guilty for something you had no control over. It is time to let your heart take control now. Love her. Give your soul over to the one who will have you forever. You were meant to take this journey with her. Together, nothing is stronger than the love you will share. You have nothing to fear."
A breeze blew through the window and Haldir looked again at Caladwen. "I am not sure I can. I have been in control of my thoughts and feelings for so long. What if I have not the ability to do as you ask? Caladwen is very precious to me. I cannot hurt her again."
"Love conquers all, my son." she said. "My time is done. I must go but remember I am always with you in the stars. I know you will do what is right. You always have. I love you son."
"Thank you, Naneth. I love you." Haldir said. She never spoke again. Haldir sat next to Caladwen's bed and for the first time since he was an Elfling, he cried. He understood why his mother faded and left them to be raised by the Lord and Lady of the Golden Wood. Maybe it was necessary to spend his years hardening his heart. It helped him to devote himself to his home and its safety. However, the future was changing and he was sure there was no one he would rather face it with. He loved Caladwen that was certain.
"It is time to bring you back from your nightmares." he whispered, holding her hand. He leaned down and kissed her forehead. She felt cold. Haldir furrowed his brow. This would take much of his life force and he remembered the time in Lothlorien. Celeborn said he had been close to losing his own life just to save her. He had been alone then. This time, he needed someone to monitor them.
Haldir left Caladwen's room for the first time since she had arrived. He was crossing the courtyard, headed for the guest rooms when he came across Legolas. He was leaning against a tree, looking off into the distance. Haldir approached him and noticed how his natural glow seemed to have lost some of its luster.
"My lord, I think I know what it is that I must do to bring Caladwen back but I cannot do this alone. I ask that you and the Lady Eowyn accompany me." Haldir said to the Prince and noticed a single tear running down his cheek.
"Are you sure this is what you want to do Marchwarden?" Legolas asked as if he already knew what would happen.
A rare grin spread across Haldir's lips. "Yes. I am quite sure."
Legolas looked at him questioningly and Haldir knew the Prince would never fully accept him. However, he could not interfere with Caladwen's choices. Perhaps that thought is why Haldir smiled even broader.
"We must get Lady Eowyn to come with us." Haldir said after his smile faded. "I will need you both."
"It is the middle of the night and Eowyn is still not herself, not to mention her anger she still has for me." Legolas stated.
Haldir put his hand on Legolas' shoulder in a gesture that was very uncommon for this Lorien Elf. Legolas was suspicious. "Perhaps the Prince should have informed her as soon as Caladwen disappeared. She does not like being kept in the dark."
"I thought it would cause her less grief to wait until our daughter was found. I may have made matters worse but I did what I felt was right."
Haldir laughed slightly. "Have you not learned of the wrath of women yet? In that way they are very different from ellith. I have no doubt the Lady Eowyn will soon forgive you but she will never forget. It may come back to haunt you my lord." he said playfully.
Legolas stopped walking. This new side of Haldir was too much to take all at once. "There is something very different about you Marchwarden. You may be able to charm a weak-minded she-elf but I know something is amiss. You are not yourself Haldir." he said sternly.
"And it is wonderful is it not?" Haldir smiled. He turned and kept walking towards the guest quarters. "Are you coming your majesty or shall I awake the angry Shieldmaiden on my own?"
Thinking Haldir was possessed by some unseen entity, Legolas followed cautiously.
They finally reached Eowyn's room. Haldir started to open the door but Legolas stopped him. "Let me wake her. There is no reason for her to be mad at both of us." Legolas entered the room and looked to her bed but she was not there. Haldir stayed in the doorway.
"Eowyn, are you here? You are needed in the Houses of Healing." he said quietly. There was no answer and he still did not see her. Then, he heard crying from out on the balcony. Legolas quietly walked to her. Haldir followed but at a distance.
"Eowyn?" Legolas whispered so as not to startle her. She did not turn around but remained focused on the stars.
"It was not supposed to be like this Legolas. These are times of peace. I never wanted our daughter to know such evil."
"Though the evil of Sauron has been destroyed, I'm afraid there will always be those who wish to do harm. It is in the hearts of some Men." Legolas said laying a hand on her arm. "I am so sorry I did not tell you sooner. I thought I was helping you in your time of sorrow. Faramir's death has been very hard on you. The thought of telling you of Caladwen's disappearance and seeing you dive deeper into depression made my heart ache."
"You shall never do that to me again Legolas Thranduilion." she said, her anger still very evident.
Legolas released her and took a step back. "Haldir is here. He needs our help to bring Caladwen out of her healing sleep. Will you come?"
She turned around and walked past Legolas. "Let's get our daughter back." she called to him. She put on her robe, tied the belt about her waist and went to the door. Haldir stood in the doorway. She was ready for whatever snide comment he had for her. Imagine her surprise when she found a smiling Marchwarden leaning on one side of the door. Eowyn's countenance was cold as the stone walls that surrounded her. She stopped and glared at Haldir through the slits of her eyes. "Haldir… you are smiling." she said coolly and turned back to Legolas. "Why is he smiling?"
"It seems the Marchwarden has turned a new leaf. I don't understand it myself." Legolas said, still eyeing him.
Haldir stood there a moment longer looking very unlike himself. When Eowyn and Legolas looked at each other in confusion, he laughed. "Is my joy that disturbing?"
Eowyn took a step closer to him. "It is very unnatural. What is wrong with you?" she said and turned back to Legolas. "How long has he been like this?"
"Since he came to ask for my assistance." Legolas answered.
Eowyn was not in the mood for whatever game Haldir was playing. "If you know something we do not, Marchwarden," Here she put emphasis on his name. "then I suggest you let us in on your little secret. How can you look so cheerful knowing our daughter lies there in a never ending nightmare?"
Haldir could sense her annoyance and would not tease her any longer. He went up to her and wrapped his arms around her. Eowyn stayed stiff as a board at the unexpected act but soon felt a warmth spread throughout her body. It was healing to say the least and she let herself meld into it. She was so overwhelmed with emotions she began sobbing as she found her arms wrapping around Haldir. Legolas stood by and watched the tender moment.
"You will have Caladwen back. I know what I must do now. I have to let go and embrace this new future with her." he whispered in her ear. "I love her, Eowyn. I have always loved her and I am ready to give her that love."
"She has been hurt badly. What if she cannot give back?" Eowyn said between sobs.
"Then I will wait an eternity for her. Nothing else matters anymore." Haldir admitted and was surprised at how easily he said this.
Eowyn let go of him and looked into his silver-grey eyes. "Somehow I have always known this."
Haldir smiled. "Your husband saw this too. They were his last words to me. Unfortunately, I did not listen at the time. I understand now. He was very intuitive. Please do not grieve for him any longer. He is happy and awaits your arrival one day. You will see him again."
In that single moment, Eowyn felt as though Faramir was standing there with her, telling her to move on and live life to its fullest. Whether Haldir felt this too, she did not know but she listened to his words with care and understanding. Haldir looked deep into Eowyn's eyes and they smiled at each other as he tucked a stray hair behind her ear.
"Now, let's get Caladwen back." he said, suddenly changing his mood. He kissed Eowyn on the forehead and let her go. They made their way to Caladwen's room. Haldir sat down on the edge of her bed and looked at Legolas and Eowyn.
"This will not be easy. I will be walking in the shadows with her and it will take much energy to reach her. I have tried before but without success. I now know what it is I must do. I need you both to stay here and monitor us, especially me. I will expel a great amount of energy. Should it seem like my breathing becomes too shallow or my skin becomes cold, I need you to pull me out of my trance. Legolas, you already know the words. Teach what you can to Eowyn. It will take both of you if this happens. Bend your will towards me, and me alone. Caladwen will not need help. I will give her everything she needs. Do you understand me?"
"Yes." Legolas and Eowyn said simultaneously and glanced at each other. Haldir could still sense her anger toward the Prince.
"Eowyn, I need your full attention." Haldir pleaded. "You must set aside your anger and join in mind and heart with Legolas. There can be no distractions. If it will make you feel better, I will spar words with you when this is over but right now I need all of you."
Eowyn laughed at his comment. "I never could stay mad at you Elves for very long anyways." She looked at Legolas and held out her hand to him. He smiled back and took her hand, squeezing it slightly.
"Let's begin shall we?" Haldir said and climbed into the bed next to Caladwen. He curled up against her back, making contact as closely as he could. He closed his eyes and let his body completely relax. His mind followed suit and soon his soul did the same. The walls of the healing room melted away. Everything would turn to blackness before he joined her wherever she was.
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.