39. Destroying Haldir
Chapter 39 Destroying Haldir
The walls of the healing room slowly faded into darkness as the Marchwarden descended into his trance. The first thing he noticed was the familiar musty smell of the underground. Haldir opened his eyes and saw he was back in the tunnel. This is where she always drew him to. Why was her mind trapped in here? She was aware of her rescue. She must know she is not still there. He would find out soon enough. Haldir walked down the dark tunnel until he came across the door to the secret room. It felt as if he was really back there. Caladwen must feel the same, he thought. After all, this was her dream. Slowly, he pushed on the door and peeked inside. A torch lit the room and he saw her curled up in a fetal position in the corner. This was as far as he ever got with her. At first, she would recognize him but something happened and she would become frightened, not letting him anywhere near her. Up until now, he left her there and woke from his reverie. Today would be different. He would not run away. Haldir was going to face her head on and not back down until she accepted him.
He entered the secret room, observing Caladwen's balled up figure in the corner. She was hiding from her fears. Was this the reason she was still in a healing sleep? "Caladwen, I am here. Let me help you step into the light once more." he said in a calm and soothing voice.
"Haldir, is that you?" she replied lifting her head.
"I am here meleth and I will not leave you alone again. Come with me. Let us leave this place behind. It is over."
Caladwen sat up a little more and looked at the figure standing in the doorway. The light of the torch was behind him and she could not see his face. She squinted her eyes and recognized his silver hair. "I want to leave Haldir. I want to get away from this place but he will not let me. He haunts my dreams and keeps me here against my will."
"Caladwen, listen to me. You are keeping yourself here. He is dead, my love. He cannot hurt you any more. If you would only follow me, you will see for yourself. Your mother and father await your return." Haldir said and took a step closer to her.
Sudden fear washed over Caladwen's face and Haldir knew she was refusing his help once more. "Do not come any closer. He will know you are here."
Haldir ignored her pleas and took a few more steps. "I am not leaving this time."
Caladwen's vision cleared in the torch lit room. She could distinctly see Haldir standing before her. Tears flowed down her cheeks because she knew he would disappear again. He always did. There were suddenly footsteps coming from down the tunnel and Caladwen panicked. "You must go now. If he finds you here it will only anger him more and there is no telling what he might do to me."
"I will not leave." Haldir said with all the authority of his position.
Caladwen watched as a shadow outside the door suddenly stopped. She stared at Haldir, knowing what always happened next. It was as if Bandorion stepped through Haldir and then encompassed his body. Haldir's form began to fade, replaced by an angry Bandorion. "Go away. Leave me alone." she shouted.
Haldir turned around and looked behind him. He saw nothing but it was evident Caladwen did. "There is no one there. It is only me."
Caladwen heard his words but it was Bandorion that said them. She could no longer see Haldir and thought he had disappeared once more. "Please go Bandorion. I have nothing else to give you."
"What about your love? Would you not give me that?" Bandorion's voice was unusually kind.
"I will never love you. You care for no one but yourself. You keep yourself hidden from all others like a shadow. No one knows who you truly are."
Haldir knew she was talking to Bandorion but her words still struck a nerve. There was some truth in them. Haldir was like this in a way. He continued to speak to her. "I know I have made some poor decisions in the past. I have hurt you and for that, I am truly sorry. Caladwen, I have seen the error of my ways. Let me make things right. Let me show you who I want to become. With you in my life, I once again have a purpose."
Caladwen closed her eyes and listened to what Bandorion had to say. He seemed so sincere but she could not let herself fall into his trap. "Your words would bring me comfort if I did not know your true self. This is a trick. You have no compassion. You will never change. Go away!" she shouted.
"As I told you before, I will not leave you again. Please listen to my voice. I am not who you think I am." Haldir approached her.
"Leave at once!" she yelled, ignoring his pleas. When he did not stop, she scooted further against the wall.
Haldir noticed her hands were still behind her back. "Why do you act as if you are restrained? Your hands are no longer bound. See for yourself."
Her breathing had become rapid with panic. Without taking her eyes from him, she moved her arms. To her surprise, she found that she was indeed free. Now maybe she could fight against Bandorion and escape this place. Looking at her wrists, she found that they were rubbed raw and were very painful. She eyed Bandorion. "You did this to me." she said in a low voice full of malice.
Haldir was aware of her confusion and knew she still saw him as Bandorion. She needed to be rid of him and there was only one way. It was dangerous and would take every ounce of energy he could conjure. He hoped Legolas and Eowyn would be able to bring him out of his trance. His life depended on it. He let Caladwen go on thinking he was Bandorion. This was the only way she could overcome her fears.
"If freedom is what you want, why do you not go?" he asked.
"You will stop me." she answered as if stating the obvious.
"Then why do you not fight? If you want it bad enough, fight for it Caladwen." Haldir urged her on. Using his mind, he conjured up the dagger he had with him that day. It appeared on the floor next to where she sat.
As glint of silver caught her eye and she looked beside her. There in the dirt was a weapon she had not noticed before. 'He is a fool,' she thought to herself as she carefully moved her skirt over the knife, concealing it so she could pick it up. "You have made a mistake thinking you can keep me here against my will."
Haldir prepared himself for what was about to happen. He opened his heart completely and let all of the love he had for her flow in. Then he put all of his trust in the Valar that this would work. For the first time, he had no control over the situation at hand. Maybe in a way, Haldir was facing his own fears just as Caladwen was. "The only way you will leave this place is to destroy that which you do not trust." He was not only speaking of Bandorion but his own faults and the distrust she held for him.
Caladwen stood up and found she was no longer weak. She was strong and her mind was sharp. She watched as Bandorion stood in the doorway. He was the only thing keeping her from escaping. She held the dagger in her hand, which was hidden by her skirt. Slowly, she walked up to Bandorion. Her eyes turned to slits. "You will not harm me again. I take control of my life, no one else. I make my own choices and I choose to leave this place." Her voice became a loud roar. "You will NEVER harm anyone again." she screamed and revealed her weapon. Bandorion never looked down or saw the knife as it entered his body. He doubled over and yelled out in pain. Caladwen laughed like a lunatic. She watched as Bandorion fell to the ground, the knife still protruding from his chest. His breathing was uneven. He was dying. Suddenly, his face began to distort. She looked down on him, confusion on her face. His dark hair was turning light. His brown eyes were flashing to silver. The cold features of his face melted to something of love and compassion. Caladwen was suddenly horrified to see Bandorion morph into the one person she would never hurt, Haldir. She dropped to her knees and reached out to him but was afraid to touch him. "Haldir? But I thought… Bandorion was…" she stuttered.
He smiled up at her, blood trickling from the corner of his mouth. "It is alright, Caladwen. You needed to do this and I was the only one who could help you. Come out of this nightmare. Take back your light. Become who you were meant to be."
"Haldir, no. I never wanted to hurt you."
"I know, my love, but you did not trust me. You did not think I would come for you and I was late in doing so. This should have never happened. If I had not been so stubborn, I would have been here to protect you. I want you to know that I have changed. I know my errors now. I no longer want to be that way, the only way I have ever known. I will lay down my life to change and become what I was always meant to be… your Guardian. Forgive me, Caladwen. I was a fool."
Caladwen smiled as tears filled her eyes. She reached out and touched his face. "Haldir, you are cold." she said worriedly.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Meanwhile, Eowyn and Legolas kept a watchful eye on the sleeping couple. There had been no change for a while now. Eowyn checked Haldir frequently. She touched his forehead again and gasped. "He is cold." she cried. "Legolas, it is happening."
Legolas jumped up from the chair he had been sitting in and ran to Haldir's side. He touched the Marchwardens arm and found that he was quite cold. "It happened so fast." he said surprised. "We must bring him out. He is dying. He has not the energy to bring himself out of the trance. We could lose them both. Do you remember the words I have taught you?"
"Yes." Eowyn answered. She reached out and held Legolas' hand. They laid their free hands on his chest, the same place where the dagger was in his dream state. They began in a low voice and chanted the elvish words to try to bring Haldir back.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Caladwen lifted Haldir so his head was lying on her lap. "Why could I not see you? I thought you were Bandorion. I would never harm you in this way." she sobbed.
"It was necessary. You had to destroy that which you feared most."
"But I do not fear you."
Haldir took her hand. "Yes, you are afraid I will never be there for you. I have hurt you, abandoned you. I made you a promise the day you were born and I have not lived up to it. We both had our fears we needed to face, me most of all."
Caladwen ran her hand through his soft hair trying to comfort him. She could see he was dying and it was her fault. "I don't want you to die though." she cried.
"But I am dying, meleth. The Elf you have always known is no more. It is necessary. Caladwen, I love you." His breathing was very shallow.
"Haldir no. Do not leave me. Do not die. I love you. I need you. I want you in my life."
He looked at her once more. "Whatever happens, do not let go of me. Hold on to me. I cannot do this alone. I need you too." he whispered.
It was the first time she ever saw Haldir so vulnerable. He finally admitted he needed her just as much as she needed him. She smiled and kissed his forehead. "I will never let go of you. You will always be in my heart."
Haldir forced a smile through the pain. "Good." He closed his eyes and seemed to stop breathing.
She shook him but there was no response. "Haldir? Haldir no… HALDIR!" she cried. The pain was unbearable. She destroyed the one she loved. What had she done? She held his lifeless body against her chest and did as he said. She did not let go.
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