42. Moving On
Chapter 42 Moving On
"Ah, there you are." came a bearish voice. Gimli came into view and found Haldir and Caladwen arm in arm. "Sorry if I interrupted anything but I was wondering when we might be headed out."
Caladwen's eyes lit up as she smiled at the Dwarf. "But you have only just arrived, Gimli. Would you not like to visit with my father a bit before we start our journey?"
"We Dwarves cannot stay in one place for long, Lady Caladwen. Besides, things will not fix themselves now will they?"
"That they will not Master Dwarf. Well, since you are anxious to go, I will not keep you much longer. I would like to first spend some time with my mother before we start out."
"Take all the time you need. I would not deprive you of these precious moments." Gimli said. He glanced over to Haldir and wondered why she did not mention him. He walked over to where Caladwen stood and whispered to her. "Would you not also want to spend some time with the Elf before we go? I am anxious but will not be the cause of a hasty parting."
"It's alright, Gimli. Haldir is going with us." she said with delight in her voice.
Gimli furrowed his bushy brow and looked over his shoulder to where the Haldir stood. He was hesitant to travel with the Lorien Elf. In the past, they had exchanged a few unkind words and he was not sure Haldir completely forgave him. "This will be an interesting journey indeed." he said under his breath.
"Do not worry, Gimli. I will make sure he is on his best behavior. I can see I have my work cut out for me. I will start with the two of you. It will be good practice to get my skills back into shape."
Haldir had heard their conversation from where he stood. He pretended not to though, not wanting to make Gimli any more unsure than he already was. The Dwarf did not know of Haldir's recent change of heart. He was a different Elf from the one he met so long ago during the Ring War. Maybe he would use this to his advantage. Legolas was not the only one Gimli would find to be difficult.
"It seems we are to travel together Gimli son of Gloin. I do hope you have learned to ride a horse. It is a long journey to Eryn Lasgalen and I have no intention of riding with you, no offence." Haldir spoke in his Marchwarden voice.
"None taken." Gimli growled back. He was seriously thinking of going to Legolas and begging him to go instead of Haldir. Dwarves never groveled and he was considering doing just that. Legolas would tease him for a while but it would be easier to deal with than the Marchwarden.
Caladwen laughed to herself. She knew Haldir was only teasing Gimli. If he were put out by having to travel with a Dwarf, he would have made his trouble known to everyone by now. She went to Haldir and eyed him, playing along. "I will have no arguing or fighting on this trip. You two will learn to get along and become an example for our kin in Eryn Lasgalen. If the head of the Lorien Guard can learn to tolerate a Dwarf then so should King Thranduil and his residents.
Gimli considered her words and went to Haldir. "I think it is time we set aside our differences. I know we have made amends in the past, but we have yet to spend any time in each other's company. Let us learn from each other and heal the wounds made by our pasts."
"And if not, let us put on a good show for them." Haldir said.
Caladwen had had enough. She slapped Haldir on the arm. "That will be enough from you. He is only teasing Gimli. Do not let him antagonize you any longer. Haldir is sincere when he says he will help to restore things back to the way they were supposed to be."
Gimli was still unsure of this. Dwarves were not ones to embrace change, especially when it came to trust issues. "Well I for one will not linger on the past any longer. Let bygones be bygones I always say." He looked up at Haldir. "I apologize for anything I may have said that offended you or your kind. Please forgive me." And with that, Gimli gave him a bow.
Haldir glanced over to Caladwen and she gestured for him to do the same. The Elf rolled his eyes and Caladwen shot him a harsh look. He quickly softened his features and turned his attention back to Gimli. "I accept your apology and I offer my own to the same regard. The days were dark then and so was my heart. Forgive me, Gimli son of Gloin." Haldir bowed next.
Caladwen smiled as the two grasped each other's forearms in a universal form of acceptance. "You two make my job much too easy." she laughed. "Now, I must go see my mother. I have a few things to gather together and I must arrange for my teaching things to be sent on. I think we should be able to leave in a week's time. Is that alright with you, Gimli?"
Gimli was excited to know they would not linger around for a month or two, which was normal. He always thought Elves had no concept of time. "That would be splendid, Lady Caladwen. The sooner the better."
Caladwen went to Gimli and kissed him on the top of his head. Even though she could not see it, she knew he was blushing underneath all the facial hair. It tickled her to think someone so stout and gruff could become so easily flustered. Then she went to Haldir and whispered to him. "You behave yourself with our traveling companion. I will see you in a little while. Perhaps we can pick up where we left off before we were interrupted." Her hand came up to touch the side of his face.
"If we continue on, we may not be able to leave in a week's time for I would drain you of all your energy." he said wantonly. He took her chin in his fingers and tilted her head up to meet her eyes. All the love she held for him shone bright in her blue depths. They leaned into each other and let their lips touch. The kiss was slow and lingering as they let the magnetic charge course through their bodies. Every time felt like a first when they kissed. They ignored the fact that a very embarrassed Dwarf stood by. When they parted lips, they could not look away from each other and gazed into one another's eyes. Their look spoke volumes. This was a love like no other. Nothing would stand in their way, not war, not enemies, not even embarrassed Dwarves.
Gimli thought the moment went on a little too long and made a noise as if he was clearing his throat. The couple smiled and finally broke their connection. Haldir glanced at Gimli as he spoke. "It seems our Dwarf friend needs no lesson in the ways of the heart. Are you certain you want to travel with us to Eryn Lasgalen?" Haldir toyed with him. "Or will our display of affection be to big a distraction for you?"
Gimli knew the Marchwarden was only trying to ruffle his feathers. This time he would not let him take the upper hand. "I think I have no other choice. Someone needs to look after you two. If you go by yourselves, you may never make it to the Elven King's hall."
Haldir smiled and gave Caladwen one more impish look. "Indeed, we may just lose ourselves and never be found again."
"Be careful what you wish for." Caladwen responded.
Gimli just rolled his eyes and shook his head. It seemed he would get no rest on this journey.
~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Caladwen went to the garden to pick some flowers and take them to Eowyn. She hated the fact that she would be leaving her but it was time. There was nothing more she could do to help lift her spirits. It was up to her mother to pull herself through the sadness.
As Caladwen was gathering flowers, Legolas approached her. "Suilad, sell nin. [Greetings, my daughter.]"
She jumped up and went to him, hugging him as she always did. "Suilad, Ada. Is it not a most wonderful day?"
Legolas raised an eyebrow. It was obvious she was very much in love. "Picking flowers are we?"
"I thought I would bring some to Mother. I wish she would come out and enjoy the sunshine again. It has been so long since we enjoyed the day as a family."
"She is in better spirits, though she remains behind closed doors." Legolas said. Caladwen heard something in his tone. He was worn down a bit. This was not normal for him. He was always so alert. She studied his face for the answer but he quickly covered any trace of fatigue with his radiant smile.
"Is everything alright, Ada? You seem tired."
"There is no hiding anything from you, is there? I have been amongst the city for a long while now. I just miss my elven home is all." There was a hint of sadness in his tone that Caladwen could not help but hear. She began to feel guilty for leaving, but Legolas insisted she go with Gimli.
"Maybe you should go instead of me, Father. Setting out once again with Gimli might do your heart some good. I will stay here with Mother."
"No. You have lingered her far too long. You are needed elsewhere. There was a reason Gimli came when he did, and a reason I cannot go. You were meant to go to Eryn Lasgalen. They need your teachings. It is time for my kin to open their borders and communicate more freely. The world is changing and so must they."
Caladwen wrapped her arms around Legolas. He gently brushed his hand through her hair. "I just want you to be happy." she said.
"I am happy pen vuin [dear one]. I am exactly where I should be right now. Your mother cannot remain this way forever. She will once again see the light but it must be her decision. And when she does, I want to be here to help guide her. I swore to never leave her alone. This is what I must do and I am content." His words brought Caladwen comfort. Seeing his endless devotion to her mother made her feel better about leaving.
"I must tell Mother of my parting. I hope it does not hinder her recovery."
"Nay, she will be pleased to hear of it." Legolas paused and then backed away to look upon her face. "How soon do you leave?"
"Gimli is eager to set out. I think in a week's time we will depart. I know it seems soon but the sooner the better."
"And what of Haldir?" Legolas' tone dropped at the mention of his name.
Caladwen looked to the ground. "He is going also."
Legolas was silent. He could say nothing for this was her choice. "It will be a long journey."
"I understand, Ada. Haldir is committed to me. He will follow me wherever I go."
"He belongs in Lothlorien with Lord Celeborn. Is he not still their Captain?" Legolas' voice rose slightly.
"He will always be their Captain, but times change. His warriors are needed less often in these days of peace. Many have sailed or are ready to. It was his choice to leave his home and be with me." It hurt Caladwen that Legolas was so apprehensive of her relationship with Haldir. She wished he would come around and accept what fate had given her. She loved them both very much. They were the two most important people in her life besides her mother. "I love him Adar and he has finally admitted his love for me. Can you not see how he has changed?"
Legolas heard the wavering in her voice, as if she was about to cry. He just could not accept the fact that his daughter, his bond to this world, was in love with someone like Haldir. "He may have changed now, but what about your future. What happens if he can no longer follow you around Middle Earth? He has been known to turn from those he holds dear. I will not have my daughter treated in such a way."
This had gone far enough. Caladwen needed to tell Legolas that she had made her decision to become elfkind and that Haldir was her soul mate. "Ada, there is something I need to tell you."
Legolas was not listening to her. "There is nothing you can tell me that I do not already know. I just worry for you sell nin. You are most precious and I love you. I only want the best for you and I'm not so sure Haldir…"
"Ada," she interrupted. "I have…"
Suddenly there was the sound of a twig snapping and their attention was drawn to the garden gate. Eowyn was standing there, watching them.
"We will discuss this later." Legolas whispered. He got up and went to Eowyn. It was the first time she had been out since they returned to Emyn Arnen.
Caladwen noticed how pale her mother looked. But to see her out of the palace and in the sunshine made her happy. It was the first step to healing her saddened heart. She thought about her and Haldir. They would always have each other. She felt very fortunate for this. She hoped to one day bond with him and spend eternity in Valinor.
She watched as Legolas went off to pick them some fruit, leaving Caladwen and her mother alone for a moment. Eowyn joined her under the oak. She smiled and reached for a lock of her golden hair, which she tucked behind her daughter's ear.
"Something is different. Something has transpired since I have been… away. I have never known you to look more elven. It must be Haldir. He has been good for you."
Caladwen smiled. "That is part of the reason." Then her smile faded and she looked to the ground. "Father still does not approve. He does not see how Haldir has changed. Something happened when we were together in our dreams. Haldir is not the same Elf he was."
"I have seen this when he came to your father and I for help. There was a light in his eyes that I never saw before. He has let go hasn't he?"
"Yes. He has admitted his love and commitment to me. He will never leave me again. Our souls have found each other."
"Your father should learn to listen. I think I will talk to him later. I know how important it is that he accepts Haldir. He loves you so much that sometimes he does not realize he is hurting you. Legolas does not mean to. You understand this don't you?"
"Of course, Mother. And I love him. I would never do anything to jeopardize our bond. Nothing could ever come between us."
"Good." Eowyn said with a smile. "Do not worry hennen. He will come around."
Legolas returned with some fruit from the nearby trees. "The trees are abundant this year." he said with joy. He had worked especially hard to make the fruit trees bare the best crop so far.
As they shared their sweet meal, Caladwen decided to tell them her news. "I have something to share with you." That got her parents attention rather quickly. "When I was in my healing sleep, I was visited by someone. A woman spoke to me. She told me it was time to make a choice. It was time for my Deciding Day."
Legolas put down the piece of fruit he was holding. Eowyn reached for her daughter's hand. "It has come? But I thought it would not arrive for many years yet. I was afraid I would be long gone by then."
"It has happened. She told me to make my choice and I did. Mother… Adar… I have chosen immortality." Caladwen waited for their reaction.
Eowyn smiled. "I knew you seemed different to me. I saw a change in you. This is such wonderful news. I picked a perfect day to leave the palace. It is like it was meant to happen this way." She hugged her daughter. "I am so proud of you. Somehow I always knew you would choose this path." Tears welled up in Eowyn's eyes.
Caladwen's smile faded slightly as she went on. "I also had to make another decision. As the Light of Hope, I also had to choose my hearts desire and… well… you already know who it is that I love. Haldir and I are soul mates. We will travel this path together from now on."
Eowyn was ecstatic but Legolas held back his cheer. "And did he agree to this?"
"Yes Adar. He had his own experience when we were healing. He has given up his former self. It is as if he is reborn. Gone is the Marchwarden he has been known for. Haldir lives and breathes as a different Elf. He has come full circle and is completely devoted to being my Guardian. Though we are not bound, we will never be separated. Our souls met and eagerly await the day they can come together and be one. Of course, I would never allow this to happen without you knowing all of this first. Besides, right now we are using this time to learn more about each other."
Eowyn hugged Caladwen as if to never let go. Then she whispered in her ear. "Now I know your father will never be alone. One day I will pass but he will always have you and your love. Thank you for easing my troubled mind."
Both women were crying tears of joy. Legolas sat silent and let them have this moment. There was nothing else he could do. Caladwen made her decision even if he did not agree wholeheartedly. He would have to come to accept the fact that Haldir was a part of her now. All he could do was pray that she was correct and the Marchwarden had changed his ways.
Caladwen let go of her mother and looked at Legolas. She waited for his response. Finally, he smiled and opened his arms for her. She cried a completely new set of tears and embraced her father. They could feel the bond they shared as father and daughter. Legolas was renewed. Somehow, he knew everything would be just fine. Then he whispered. "I am sorry to be so stubborn. I am happy for you sell nin."
Caladwen proceeded to tell them of her plans to travel to Eryn Lasgalen along with Gimli and Haldir. Eowyn thought it was an excellent idea, though she would miss her daughter. She had gotten used to her being around the palace. This got her thinking about making a change of her own. Eowyn decided it was time to move on with her life. She could no longer grieve for the loss of Faramir. He would not have wanted this for her. For some time now, she longed to be back amongst the trees. Seeing how much Legolas missed his home in North Ithilien, she decided to move back there with him, leaving the palace to her son Elboron and his family.
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.