40. Walking In Dreams
Chapter 40 Walking In Dreams
Eowyn and Legolas had been chanting in elvish over Haldir for what seemed like a very long time. He was still cold and lifeless. Eowyn broke her concentration when she noticed Caladwen beginning to awaken. Legolas felt the change and looked over to her.
"Caladwen is coming to." she said.
"Haldir said not to worry about her. We must concentrate on him." Legolas informed her. Eowyn went back to saying the words along with Legolas.
Caladwen blinked her eyes and tried to focus on the place where she was. It was very bright and it blurred her vision. Then she heard voices. Slowly, she sat up and saw her parents leaning over Haldir, repeating the same words over and over. She was confused. How did she get here? She thought about what had just happened and remembered Haldir dying in her arms. But how could this be? He was lying in the bed next to her and they were no longer in the dark tunnel.
"What has happened? Where am I? Mother? Ada? I… I don't understand." she said looking at them. They were continuing with their words.
It all started coming back to her. She was trapped in the secret room. Bandorion would not let her leave. She found the knife and stabbed him. He was dead. She felt joy for a brief moment before she remembered the rest of what happened. Bandorion changed into Haldir, the knife protruding from his chest. She forced herself to sit up though her body was not ready. The wounds to the outside of her body were healed except for a few bruises. Her cracked ribs were better but they still hurt. She winced slightly.
"Haldir. How is he?" she asked looking at her parents. They could not speak to her since they were trying to bring him out of his trance. Eowyn glanced at Caladwen, despair on her face. Caladwen looked at Haldir lying next to her. She reached her hand out and felt his arm. He was cold but what she noticed more was the lack of life. There was no spark. She lifted his hands and held them. They were limp. Then she remembered the stab wound. She dropped his hands and felt his chest, looking for some sign of the injury.
"Where is the knife? Where is the blood?" she said frantically.
Eowyn stopped speaking and looked at her daughter.
"Eowyn, you must continue." Legolas said to her but she ignored him.
"What are you talking about? What happened Caladwen?"
"I was so confused. Bandorion was going to hurt me. I found a dagger and stabbed him in the chest but when I looked again, it was Haldir. I am the reason he is dying." she cried.
Eowyn looked at Haldir but saw no sign of injury. However, this could be the reason he suddenly went cold. "What did he say to you?"
"He said it was supposed to happen, that it was necessary." she said confused. Then she remembered him asking her to help him. "He said he could not do this alone." Her mind cleared some more. "He told me not to let go of him."
"Eowyn please." Legolas said frantically and she returned to her chanting.
Caladwen listened to their words. They were keeping Haldir from completely fading away but they were not bringing him back. 'I am the key', she thought. She knew if they were going to bring Haldir back, they needed her too. She lay back down on the bed and put her head on his chest. She needed to hear his heartbeat, no matter how slow or faint it was. She closed her eyes and imagined herself with Haldir, as it used to be. Where would she find him in his dream world? Where would his soul most likely go? She let her mind reach out and the world around disappeared. The background changed and she was back in Lothlorien, in Caras Galadhon. There was no one around. The air was still and quiet. The leaves seemed to have lost their luster. Colors were fading. The Golden Wood was disappearing. 'The Elves must be gone,' she thought to herself. She looked around at her surroundings. She was standing in Galadriel's garden but everything was dying. The sound of a small waterfall drifted to her ears. She followed the sound and saw a rocky basin, water trickling down the stones. A silver pitcher sat on the ledge. "I know this place." she thought to herself. She turned to see a bowl sitting on a pedestal. "Galadriel's Mirror." she whispered. She walked up to it and looked inside. There was nothing but dust in the bottom of the bowl. There were small cracks running along the edge. It looked very fragile, as if it would crumble apart if it were touched. Caladwen remembered the reason she was here. "Haldir?" she called out. It made no sense that she would find him here. This was not a place he visited often.
"It is not the departure of the Elves that make the forest fade." came a voice.
Caladwen jumped slightly, not expecting to hear anyone. This place was deserted for what seemed like centuries. "Who is there?" she called back. "Where is Haldir?"
"Will you gaze into the mirror?" said a feminine disembodied voice. "Will you look into the waters?"
"The mirror cannot be trusted. It has the ability to bring false hope." Caladwen answered.
"It can also show you your prospected path. It does not mean you must follow though."
Caladwen considered this. There were only two paths she was ever meant to take, mortality or immortality. The mirror could show her the outcome of either. It was very tempting. "Will it help me choose?"
"Only you can make that choice. I ask again. Will you look into the mirror?"
Caladwen felt this was a bad idea. She always knew she had to make her decision with no one's help. To see the answer to the question that plagued her her whole life may influence her greatly. Yet she found her feet leading her to the pool where the pitcher sat. Her hand grasped the handle and lowered it into the cool clear water, filling it. Slowly, she walked to the pedestal and looked inside. The bowl was just a bowl without the magical water in it. "What will I see in the mirror?" she said aloud.
"Only you will know. The mirror reveals no secrets to anyone other than the looker."
Caladwen poured the water into the bowl and waited for it to settle. "I should not be doing this." she said to herself, but she could not stop. She looked over the edge of the bowl, into the water. At first, there was nothing, just blackness. Then shapes began to form. She saw Eowyn walking along a pathway among the mallorns of Lothlorien. She stopped and held her stomach. Caladwen could see she was still pregnant. Haldir ran to her. She could see the concern he had for her mother. She watched as Haldir reluctantly held his hand over Eowyn's large belly. The look in Haldir's eyes went from embarrassment to pure joy as he felt the baby moving within Eowyn's womb.
Next, she saw Haldir giving his oath to the newborn babe, to be her Guardian. Caladwen had heard Eowyn and Faramir's accounts about that special day, but to see it with her own eyes spoke volumes. She had never seen this side of Haldir, not even when he professed his love for her. What she saw in the mirror was purity and truth, something altogether everlasting.
The scene changed and it was many, many years later; the day of Leodred's funeral. She knew Haldir stayed close to her that day but she did not realize he had been watching over her as she knelt by the fresh grave. Caladwen sat there for the whole day, mourning the loss of her husband. Now she could see Haldir standing at the top of the hill. He never moved or flinched. He stayed in this one spot until Caladwen finally left to go back to the city. She had never seen his devotion to her. It made her heart sing to know that even back then, Haldir was true to his word.
The water rippled slightly and Caladwen saw herself lying on a medical bed in the healing house of Lorien, unconscious and barely alive. This was when she was shot by the Corsairs. In her mind, things were much different. She was in a healing sleep and Haldir was in her dreams. It was the first time their souls found each other. Now she was witnessing the reality of the situation. The healers did all they could and thought she would not make it through the night. She never realized how sickly and pale she looked. Caladwen watched as Haldir walked up to where she lay and a single tear ran down his cheek. He laid his head on her chest and closed his eyes. Haldir stayed there until she was resting peacefully.
Caladwen realized the mirror was showing her all the things that happened which she did not or could not see. Any doubts she had for Haldir melted away. She could see how devoted he was to her, more than she ever thought possible. She should never have doubted him or mistrusted him. He would always be there for her when she needed him most.
"I never understood how much he cared, especially in the beginning." she said as she finally backed away from the pedestal. "He never let me see this side of him. I don't think anyone did."
"The choice was easy for him to make. In his heart, he knew he must be your Guardian. Your future is important to him but he is afraid to interfere. Just know that Haldir will follow you to whatever end you chose."
"That is good to know." she said.
"Haldir has made his choice. Now it is time for you to choose. You have lived amongst Men and Elves. They both need your teachings and still do. Which would you choose to become?"
"You say evil will exist no matter what I choose. How does my future make any kind of difference?"
"There must be balance. Without it, the future of mankind is unsure. The purity of the Elves will exist in every heart because of you. Though some will lose their way, most will endure. However, you cannot do this alone. There is only one who can make your choice complete and he needs you. He is in a battle over his soul. He hangs on to any last threads of his previous life. Haldir can no longer be the hardened Marchwarden. His job is done. Now he must open his heart to you and devote himself to being your Guardian. The door has already been open and he knows what he must do, but he fights one final battle."
"We were always meant to take this road together." Caladwen stated. "It matters not what life I choose to follow. Haldir will be with me."
"He always has." said the voice.
Caladwen closed her eyes and everything seemed to fall into place. "I know what I must do but I cannot do it alone. Haldir must be with me. I have to find him. He believes he will interfere but it is he who has helped me to decide and I want him with me when I make my choice known."
"Go to his home in the city, but you must hurry before it is too late. He sinks deeper into despair with every moment that passes. Now go, Caladwen."
She opened her eyes and was transformed to Caras Galadhon, standing at Haldir's talan door. Caladwen found the door was ajar and pushed it open. The talan was dark and abandoned. When she went further inside, she saw all of the things Haldir must have remembered throughout his lifetime. This place was full of memory. Why was it so dark? Had Haldir's whole life been like this, a dark memory? She looked in the kitchen and found it empty. The wooden table and chairs were beginning to rot. Vines grew wild around the walls. The living space was in no better shape. Dust was everywhere. Windows were broken. It was a shame really. This had been a beautiful home full of love at one time. Now it was an empty shell.
When she came to the bedroom, she found the door only slightly open. The faintest glow came from within. She entered and saw Haldir lying on his bed. His ethereal glow was almost extinguished. He seemed very pale, very still and very despondent. Caladwen walked up to him and looked down at his face. He was still the most beautiful of all the Elves in her eyes.
"Haldir, I have come to bring you back with me. What you did for me was very brave and I know you expelled a lot of energy. This is not the end. You have saved me and now it is my turn to save you." She waited for a response. "Will you not look at me?"
He slowly opened his eyes but they were no longer silver-grey. Now they were dark, as if his eternal light was gone and he was only a shell of his former self. "Why have you come? You are supposed to be back in the real world. I have made my sacrifice so that you can continue on with your chosen path."
"I cannot make that choice alone, Marchwarden. You were meant to walk along beside me, remember. You swore an oath to me. You are the Guardian of the Light." She kneeled beside him where he lay and touched his face. "Is this what you would choose for your future? Would you rather stay here in this fading world or follow me to our own fate?"
"I was supposed to die. I cannot be that Elf anymore." he whispered.
"No you cannot, but you cannot let your soul die along with him. You must separate yourself now. Let go of this old exterior. You are reborn into something so much more beautiful. It is time to grasp onto this new life and leave the old one behind. You have faded, Haldir of Lothlorien, Marchwarden of the Galadhrim. Rise as Guardian of the Light, the Light of Lorien." Her words echoed throughout the dying forest.
The faint glow that emanated from Haldir began to separate from his body. Caladwen watched as the transformation began. This was his soul. They were to meet again. His radiance became brighter as he finally stood before her. He looked back once more to the Elf lying on the bed. "He has protected me his whole life but it was not in vain." Haldir turned to Caladwen. "He was keeping me safe until such time he saw fit. You are the reason he let go."
Caladwen smiled and reached out. They touched and the spark was very evident once again. "This was why he protected you for so long. There is no other who makes me feel like this."
Haldir grasped both of her hands. "This is the way it is meant to be. We are truly soul mates. Caladwen, I am sorry if I ever hurt you. I know you must still make your choice one day. I can no longer hide away. I promise to follow you on whatever path you choose. I want to be with you. I long for you. I am out in the open, vulnerable, giving myself freely to you. I will wait forever for you. I love you, Caladwen." At this point, Haldir looked back at his former self lying on the bed. "He can no longer protect me for I no longer need him. I am yours if you will have me."
Caladwen's face was streaked with tears. "You are so beautiful. I have waited so long to see this side of you. I knew it was within you. I have loved you as a mentor and as a friend. This is who I have been waiting for. Yes, Haldir, I will have you." She reached out and took his hand. "You are wrong about one thing."
Haldir looked at her with confusion. Caladwen smiled and giggled. "You are part of my choice. The Light must not only choose her soul mate but also the one who would follow her no matter what path she takes. Will you be by my side whether I live forever or die alongside Men?"
"I will meleth nin." Haldir said staring deep into her blue eyes. Caladwen saw his pure love for her then. His word was true. He would never leave her side again.
Suddenly, the female voice returned. "Have you made your decision, my child?"
Caladwen took Haldir's hands in hers and gazed lovingly into his bright eyes. "I choose… immortality."
Haldir pulled her close letting all of his love and passion flow from his body into hers. "A'maelamin, melithon chen uireb. [My beloved, I will love you forever.]"
"The Valar accept your decision. Let it be known the Light has chosen her future. May they help guide you on your journey. Haldir, you have proven yourself worthy of her love. Be with her, help her, protect her." The female voice said.
Walking hand in hand, the two glowing souls made their way to the door of the talan. Just before Haldir opened the door, he stopped Caladwen and looked at her. "Your father will not be pleased. He may even think I persuaded you in some way."
Caladwen reached up and touched the side of his face. "He will come to understand my choice one day. Just give him some time." Caladwen ran her fingers through his soft hair. "Are you ready?"
Haldir smiled and nodded. He reached for the door and pushed it open. The dark woods were once again bright with light and color. The light became brighter until it was blinding. They felt a pull as their souls were brought back to their bodies. Caladwen was the first to open her eyes and see her parents still hovering over them, their faces worn with worry. She blinked and sat up. Legolas and Eowyn were still saying their elvish chants. How long they had been doing this she did not know, but the fact that they committed themselves for Haldir's sake brought joy to her heart. She reached out and laid her hand on Eowyn's arm. "It is alright. You can stop." she said.
Legolas looked at his daughter. He saw a change in her. She was no longer afraid. Her confidence had returned. Eowyn noticed it also. They watched as she slowly sat up, swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood. She walked to Eowyn and Legolas, bringing them both into an embrace. "Thank you. Thank you for believing in me, in him." she said glancing at Haldir. She saw his eyes flutter and her heart raced. She hugged Eowyn and then kissed Legolas on the cheek. She went to Haldir's side of the bed and laid one hand on his face, one on his chest. "Awaken my Guardian. It is a new age."
Haldir was blinded by the bright light in front of him. The warmth and electricity that emanated from it was overwhelming. He squint his eyes and laughed. "You are so bright. I would like to look upon your beauty but I cannot see." he said smiling.
Caladwen laughed and backed away some. "I'm sorry. I'm just so happy to see you."
Haldir sat up and gazed upon Caladwen with a newfound love. "You are truly the Light of hope to all. You are beautiful and you have my heart." he whispered.
Eowyn's eyes misted over with tears of joy. She looked up at Legolas who was standing next to her. He held his composure but she saw his doubt. The fact that his daughter, his tie to this world was giving her heart to another weighed heavily on his mind. It did not help knowing this other was Haldir. No one else could see it but Eowyn did, perhaps for the first time ever. It was fear, something this Mirkwood Elf never brandished before. Eowyn reached for his hand and squeezed it, bringing his attention back to her. She gave him a smile that told him everything would be alright. The anxiety she saw disappeared from his piercing blue eyes, though she knew it was still within him. Then she whispered to him. "She will not forget her purpose."
Legolas was unaware that anyone saw his angst. He forced a smile and turned back to the happy couple. "Marchwarden, how are you feeling? You were very close to death. Eowyn and I did all we could."
Without taking his eyes from Caladwen, he answered. "I am renewed. For the first time I think I see the world in all its glory." He sat up and hung his legs over the side of the bed. When he tried to stand, he faltered. He was light-headed from his experience.
Caladwen put her hand on his shoulder. "You should stay put. It was a very trying time and you need to recover some before you try to walk."
Legolas turned his attention to Caladwen. "You should rest also. You have been in a healing sleep for a long time now."
Eowyn used this opportunity to lure Legolas out of the room, giving the reunited couple a chance to spend some time alone. "As a matter of fact, I think we should go tell the cooks to bring them something to eat. Legolas, would you care to escort me to the kitchens?"
He furrowed his brow at the idea of leaving these two alone but the look on Eowyn's face said there was no other choice for him. Rather than argue, he nodded in compliance. "Of course, but we will be back soon to check on your conditions. Very soon." he added for good measure. As they left the room, Legolas looked over his shoulder before they were out of sight.
Caladwen sat next to Haldir. "So, what happens now?"
"That is for you to decide. You are the teacher. I will follow you wherever you go."
Caladwen laughed and looked down at her lap. "I have to get used to this 'new Haldir'. I have never known you to be so agreeable."
"It is amazing how easily it comes to me." he said with wonder in his smooth voice.
"It is easy once you open your heart. Too much energy was spent protecting it before." she looked him deep in his silver eyes. "You are absolutely glowing with new life. How does it feel to not have to worry anymore?"
Haldir's arms snaked around her waist. They looked longingly at each other. "I feel I can accomplish anything with you by my side. Lothlorien will be fine without me. Orophin and Rumil will do a fine job. I, on the other hand, have a new purpose and I would follow you to the ends of the earth and back.
Caladwen giggled and put her arms around his neck. "There is one thing I would have you do before we decide on which direction to take."
"And what would that be, meleth?" he asked, a sly grin on his fair face.
"Remind me what it is like to be kissed by an Elf." she whispered in his ear. Her warm breath sent a shiver up his spine.
They leaned into each other until their lips were almost touching. Haldir stopped and spoke. "Are you sure we are not breaking any rules?"
"We make up our own rules from now on, so kiss me." she said playfully.
As their lips came together, there was an explosion of colored lights and static charge in the air around them. Though they had shared intimate moments like this in the past, none had ever felt so right. They held each other tight and let the energy flow through them. Time seemed to stop and nothing else mattered. Tongues caressed each other as they deepened the kiss. A fire within their bodies burned hot. Their breathing became erratic as their hands began to wander. Haldir cupped her ears in his hands and moved his lips to her neck. She tilted her head to give him access to that which he sought. His kisses were very delicate and passionate.
"This is the most wonderful day of my long life." he said in a low whispering voice.
"And they will only get better from now on." Caladwen answered and they came together for another long passionate kiss.
By now, Eowyn and Legolas had come back. She pushed the door open and peeked in, finding Caladwen and Haldir enjoying their very private, intimate moment. She quickly closed the door. Legolas was standing right behind her, almost pushing her into the room. She pushed back on his chest, moving him away from the door. Legolas looked at her, the crease between his eyebrows quite defined. She laughed and continued to force him back.
"Give them a moment." she complained.
"And you approve of this behavior? That is our daughter in there." Legolas argued. He would not back down this time.
"Our daughter is a grown woman and able to make her own decisions. Why are you so adamant when it comes to Haldir? Do you not trust her judgment?" she countered.
"It is not Caladwen I am worried about." he said under his breath, looking over her shoulder to the closed door.
"I would think you of all people would understand what they are feeling, or do you forget our meeting? Our joining was not deemed appropriate at the time. Did that change the way you felt about me?" Eowyn made a good point and kept Legolas from arguing any further.
"After all these years, you still manage to keep me on my toes." he laughed.
"Come, Elf. Let's pay our friends a visit and inform them of the good news." Eowyn took his arm and led him down the hall.