Chapter 4 Desirable
That night at the festivities, Haldir watched Nieriel as she floated here and there making sure everything was in order. When she was not busy, she stood close to Legolas and fulfilled every request with a smile. He was disappointed that not once did she search for him during the celebration. Had his charms not worked on her? This made him want her even more. He liked when they tried to ignore him. Of course, it never lasted long and then he would have his prize. He only hoped she was worth the extra effort.
As the night went on, Haldir watched as Eowyn and Faramir danced with each other. He was glad to see the couple still happy. Faramir seemed to have aged quite a bit more than he thought normal but then again he had been through much hardship. Eowyn, though seeming to have aged some herself, was still just as feisty as ever. Her daughter was much like Eowyn in that way, headstrong and stubborn to say the least. Yet he admired them both for they were different than any Haldir had ever met. And where was the young Caladwen anyway? The Marchwarden realized he had not seen her in a while. His elf eyes scanned the crowd. That is when he noticed Nieriel slipping out of the reception area to a balcony offset from the Great Talan Hall. This was his chance to talk to her. He made his way through the crowd and in her direction but he lost sight of her. Haldir walked out onto the balcony but he did not see her. He could have sworn she came this way. He stood there looking around when he heard a voice down below.
"No thank you. I'm really not much of a dancer." said a girl's voice.
"Oh, come now. I've seen you dance. You have nothing to be ashamed of." There was a young man speaking now. Haldir looked down and saw Caladwen talking to the boy. It was obvious she was not interested.
"I really just don't want to dance right now. Thank you for offering though." she said in return.
"Do you spy on all the young girls this way?" said a soft voice from behind Haldir. He turned and found his dark haired beauty standing behind him.
"Oh Nieriel, I did not hear you approach. I was just…"
"You were just what, eavesdropping? And on Caladwen of all people?" she teased.
Haldir was taken aback by her accusations. "I assure you my lady, I do not eavesdrop." he said in a most serious tone. "I heard a familiar voice and…"
Suddenly, he heard Caladwen's raised voice as she tried to ward off this young man who was being very persistent.
"I said leave me alone. I do not want to dance and I do not want to join you for a walk. I have told you before that I am with someone else." Caladwen said in an angry tone.
Haldir watched as the boy reached out and grabbed Caladwen's arm to keep her from running off. Without hesitating, he leapt down from the balcony and landed quietly behind the boy. Caladwen pretended not to see the tall Elf standing behind this bothersome young man.
"Come on Caladwen." said the boy still unaware of the presence behind him. "I only want to stroll through the garden with you. Leodred is not here, but I am. I just want to spend some time with you, like we used to."
"I believe the lady has already given you her answer. I suggest you release your hold on her this instant." said a satiny voice from behind the pest. He turned slowly to see the very tall, very angry looking Marchwarden standing behind him. He instantly let go of Caladwen's arm, never taking his eyes off the towering Elf.
"I believe you owe the Lady Caladwen an apology." Haldir demanded.
The young man turned to Caladwen. "I'm sorry if I caused you any harm. Goodnight Caladwen." he said and darted off.
Haldir was quite pleased with himself. His first task as guardian had been a success. With a slight smile, he looked at Caladwen but was surprised when she did not look very appreciative. She was standing with her arms crossed and one eyebrow raised.
"I can protect myself Haldir." she said annoyed.
"I did not like the tone the young man was taking with you. You are the daughter to the Prince no less and should be shown respect." Haldir said sternly.
Nieriel stood on the balcony above and listened to the two bicker back and forth. She was surprised to see how quickly Haldir went to Caladwen and wondered what special connection he had with the girl. It struck her as being rather odd that Haldir, who had been pursuing Nieriel all night (oh yes, she noticed) was now chasing off a young man who had been doing the same exact thing. Maybe the Marchwarden was not as dangerous as she first thought.
Haldir laid his hand on Caladwen's shoulder. His face softened and his demeanor became more kindly. "Come and walk with me. Let me tell you a story the Lady Galadriel told me about Arwen when she was a girl not much older than you are now. She was very beautiful and very young and many ellon [male elves] took notice of her." He held his arm out for her and Caladwen smiled. She placed her hand in the crook of his elbow and for the first time, noticed his well-toned muscles. He definitely had the arms of a seasoned archer.
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Nieriel was just about done for the night. The celebration had been a success. Most of the guests had left. Now she was directing the maids to the areas for them to clean. She did not need to stay for she knew they would attend to their duties and finish their jobs well. After a few last minute details and saying goodnight to everyone, she headed out of the Talan Hall. It was a beautiful evening. The air was warm and the moon was full, casting shadows upon the forest floor. It was so bright it almost seemed like daylight. She loved nights like this for you could still see far off into the distance by the light of the moon.
Nieriel came to the platform, which branched off towards the guest quarters. She paused for a moment and wondered what happened to Haldir. She had not seen him since he went off with Caladwen. She felt bad for teasing him earlier and meant to apologize but he never returned to the Hall. After asking around, she found out that Haldir swore an oath to the young Caladwen to be her guardian. That was something she would never have guessed about the Marchwarden, especially after his shameless advances with her when they first met earlier. He almost seemed like two different people, the latter being more attractive to her. That is the Haldir she would like to know better.
As she started to walk again, she noticed a shadow moving on the path that leads to the guest talans. She turned but saw no one there. There was no further movement so she continued on her way. Suddenly, she felt a breeze on her neck, as if something passed by. She turned again but the walkway was still empty and the shadow she saw was no longer there. She had an overwhelming feeling that someone was following her.
"Had this been Lorien, you would have been my prisoner by now, gagged and blindfolded." said a smooth sultry voice from above. Nieriel let out a gasp of surprise as she jumped but quickly regained control. She looked up and saw Haldir in the crook of the tree above her.
"Have you been following me, Marchwarden? I sensed a presence near." she said coolly.
"Ah, you sensed something but you did not know what it was. Such is the quiet stealth of the Galadhrim." he said jumping down from the branch and moving closer to her. He walked around her in a tight circle, his breath grazing the side of her face and the back of her neck. "This is how I am able to protect my realm from intruders. We are invisible to those who enter our woods with disregard for our borders. When you think you are alone, you are actually surrounded by the deadly aim of my warrior's arrows." He circled around behind her. Nieriel closed her eyes, captivated by the sound of his sensuous voice. "Then without warning you are ensnared by the Galadhrim, a prisoner of my city and completely under my control." As he said this, his hands grabbed her upper arms and he felt her jump slightly at his quick movement. He was the hunter and she was the prey, captured by his seductive moves.
Nieriel shuddered at his touch and felt her body heat rise. She could smell him and was consumed by his woodsy scent, which filled her head and made her feel almost drunk. His warm breath on her neck sent an electric jolt down her spine to her more sensitive areas, which instantly came alive. She was losing control and she did not like it one bit, no matter how good it felt. She mentally shook off his advances and tried to regain her composure.
"I guess it is a good thing we are not in Lorien then." she said, her voice shakier than she would have liked. He would know her weakness and prey on it if she did not come to her senses. Nieriel willed herself to turn and face the Elf but what she found did not ease her suffering… or was it pleasure. Haldir's eyes bore into her own and she felt she could have spent eternity there. He held the universe in his grey eyes. She tried to look away but only made it as far as his lips. They were lusciously pouting and just asking to be kissed.
"I would say it is unfortunate for we treat our prisoner's quite well." he said in a breathy whisper. Haldir had her where he wanted her. Soon she would be his as he poured everything he had into this moment. He leaned into her as she looked longingly at him. She was so close now and he wanted to taste her. He brushed his lips lightly across hers. When she did not move he went in for a kiss.
Nieriel was under his control. She was paralyzed with fear and want. Desire held her fast as she awaited his sweet kiss but apprehension filled her head and cleared her mind of his bewitchment. At the last second, she turned her head away from him and took a deep breath. She could feel his ego deflate as her own made her stand taller. Victory was sweet she thought to herself as she managed to ward off his enchantment. She was sure there were not many who could claim such an achievement over the Marchwarden.
He had lost the battle, at least this time. This dark haired elleth was much more of a challenge than he first thought. This only made her more desirable to him but he was very patient. He would wait. She could not hold out forever. He would have to come up with a new plan, one that would win her over for sure the next time. It was very exciting to him to have to chase after this she-elf. Haldir would play her game a little longer and then he would strike again.
"Come, let me escort you to your talan." he said holding his arm out for her. Nieriel was surprised at how quickly his demeanor changed. She looked down at his outstretched arm for a moment. If she let him walk her home, he would know where she lived. Then again, he would find out on his own anyways. So she decided to let him escort her to her talan. However, she would take the long way, just to spend a few extra moments with this gorgeous creature.
"I'm afraid it is a little ways from here. I hope you can find your way back to your home." she said taking his arm. A spark ignited where her fingers touched his flesh and she wondered if all his past lovers experienced the same sensation.
They walked on a little ways without saying a word. Nieriel thought of the comments she made to him on the balcony. "Haldir, I want to apologize for teasing you earlier. I had not known then that you were Caladwen's sworn guardian. How did that come about, if you don't mind my asking?"
"The Lady Eowyn was brought to Lothlorien when she was with child. I took it upon myself to watch over her then and I guess I extended my offer to her child also. At the time, it was thought that Prince Legolas was to sail, leaving Eowyn alone to raise her daughter."
"And you felt compelled to help her during a most difficult time. What honor you have Master Elf. I would not have guessed such a thing." she said with a laugh.
"There is much you do not know about me, my lady. If only you would let down your guard a bit you might see for yourself."
"I am no fool, Marchwarden. To let down my guard to you would mean to sacrifice something I hold very dear." Nieriel said as they stopped outside of her talan door.
"And what might that be?" Haldir said placing a hand on either side of her, pinning her to the side of the archway.
"Self-respect… knowing I did not fall prey to your shameful advancements. That is not the Elf I wish to know. Show me the true Elf, the guardian, and I might be a more willing subject." As she spoke, she looked Haldir deep within his eyes and held him in her stare for a change. Haldir lowered one of his arms, releasing her. She walked through the archway and entered her home.
"Goodnight, Marchwarden." she said as a smile spread upon her lips. She was quite pleased with the way she handled herself, though there was still a part of her deep down that wished to know his lips, his touch. If he were really worthy of her, he would come around. If not then it was not meant to be.
Even after Nieriel had disappeared into her room, Haldir remained where he was for a moment longer. He looked at her closed door and wondered if he made a mistake to pursue this elleth. It was too late now for she intrigued him more than any had before. She was strong willed and unbreakable. She asked for something he was not sure he could give, his true self. Not many had witnessed it. He prided himself on the fear that those around him felt towards him. Those that did not fear him lusted after him and fed his ego even more. To become someone else did not seem to be an option now. He had a reputation to uphold and he was not about to become a love starved Elf, shamelessly following around some she-elf, no matter how beautiful and alluring she was. But he wanted her very much. Somehow, someway he would have her before his time in Ithilien ended. It was his decision to make when it came time to leave and he was going nowhere anytime soon. Therefore, Haldir decided to let things play out in a different direction. He would not pursue her so hastily but rather let a natural course take place. It was a dangerous thing to do should he be the one to drop his guard first. Of course, that could never happen, not to the Marchwarden of Lothlorien.
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.