43. Let Sleeping Dwarves Lie
Chapter 43 Let Sleeping Dwarves Lie
Just as she had promised the Dwarf, a week later Caladwen, Haldir and Gimli set out for Eryn Lasgalen. The journey would be long but they were in no hurry. This would give Caladwen the chance to see a friendship grow between Haldir and Gimli. Many thought it was odd when Legolas befriended the Dwarf. For Haldir it seemed like something that could never be accomplished. Of course, that was the old Haldir. They both learned from their mistakes and came to accept each other. Caladwen's heart swelled with joy. She could only imagine what King Thranduil would think of this new friendship. Caladwen knew she had her work cut out for her.
The journey had indeed been a long one but uneventful and rather enjoyable at that. They had just entered the outer border of Rhovanion, home to Eryn Lasgalen. It was only a few days journey to her grandfather's home. They had stopped for the night and were sitting around the fire, sharing stories. Gimli told them about the time his father Gloin and the other twelve Dwarves were captured and thrown in the dungeons of Mirkwood. Thranduil would not accept their explanation as to why they were in his realm. There was already distrust between Elves and Dwarves in those days. Back then there was stolen treasure about and each race wished to find it for themselves. Of course, the others wanted what was rightfully theirs. When Gloin and his company told Thranduil they were merely lost and hungry, the king did not believe them. He sent them to their prison and waited for them to speak the truth. Of course, they were not treated poorly as one might think. They were given plenty of good food and drink. On the other hand, Thranduil could not let them walk freely around his castle. Being Dwarves, he thought they would be most comfortable underground. To be kept prisoner in a flet in the trees would have been more cruel a punishment to a Dwarf. Still, the Dwarves did not want to be locked up. It was true that they were lost in the dark forests of Mirkwood. They were extremely hungry and tired. They had traveled far and even been attacked by the evil that lurked in the Southern woods at the time. None of this helped their plight. Then one day they all just… vanished.
Haldir had heard the story before but never told by a Dwarf. He listened intently as he became aware of a completely new side to the story. It had always been told from King Thranduil's point of view. Gimli shed new light on their adventures. However, it was still a mystery how the Dwarves escaped Thranduil's most secure dungeons.
"And just how did your kin elude the King's most trusted guards?" Haldir asked.
"Ah my dear Elf friend. That is for King Thranduil's ears alone. The matter of their escape has been a very touchy subject for the King. It will be up to him whether or not he wants to share that bit of information." Gimli answered proudly.
Haldir cocked an eyebrow. "Fine, keep your secrets, Dwarf. I care not for it has nothing to do with me. Just know this atrocity would not have happened on my watch. No one has ever escaped from Lothlorien without first speaking to the Lady Galadriel."
Gimli rolled his eyes. "Well, if you want to know anything more, you'll just have to ask the Woodland King himself. This is one Dwarf who will not divulge any information."
"That will be enough from both of you." Caladwen chimed in. "The night is getting late and we have a long day's travel ahead of us."
"I agree with the princess." Gimli said as he stood up. He walked to where he put his pack and made his bed for the night. As soon as he laid his head down, he was fast asleep.
Haldir and Caladwen stayed by the fire, sitting next to each other. He wrapped his arm around her waist and pulled her in close. She rested her head on his chest and stared into the fire. They smiled and were very content just to sit with each other.
Suddenly, the most awful noise came from where Gimli lay. He snored so loud it seemed the ground shook. This was something they had to deal with for the entire journey and Haldir had enough.
"How does he sleep and not wake himself up?" Haldir complained.
"He is quite loud isn't he?" Caladwen said. It seemed their quiet evening was no more.
"I for one cannot stand to listen to this for another night. I may not need sleep but I still wish to relax my ears from the noise of the day." Haldir stood up and held his hand out to Caladwen. "Let us take a walk."
"But we can't just leave Gimli here alone." she countered.
"I do not think anything or anyone will come anywhere near our campsite with that noise." Haldir said, looking over to the Dwarf.
Caladwen giggled and took his hand. "I think you are right about that. Besides, a walk sounds delightful."
They made their way through the forest until they were far enough away from Gimli's snores. He could still be heard, just not as loudly. Haldir stopped them and backed her up against a rather large pine tree. His eyes were darker than usual as the bright silver turned to grey. Caladwen felt her heart rate quicken. Many things changed about Haldir but this one thing remained the same. When the mood struck him, he was magnificently irresistible. She did not dare move, caught in his trance. He had roused something deep within her. "Haldir, I don't think…"
"What is there to think about, meleth? Have you not felt the pull of our souls needing to join?" His voice was low and sultry as his warm breath caressed her skin. Finally, his lips touched the nape of her neck and she inhaled deeply. "It is the one thing I have avoided for so long but now my whole being yearns for. Would you still keep me in agony by denying us this moment?"
"There was a time when you said you would not take me like this, hiding in the woods. You said I was worthy of something more." Her voice was wavering from fear and excitement.
Haldir moaned against her neck. "That was a different time and a different place. You are elf-kind and very deserving of the moon and stars to play witness. I have your love and you have mine. Think of how it would be to enter Eryn Lasgalen as bond mates. Maybe it would even help with your task, to set an example." She felt him smile against her delicate skin.
Caladwen laughed. "Maybe I should marry the Dwarf instead. It would be more useful as an example."
Haldir paused and looked at her smiling face. "You share the same sense of humor. However, I doubt he could do this." Haldir cupped his hand to the side of her face. They instantly felt a charge on their skin. He brought his lips to hers and the feeling traveled through the rest of their bodies. His fingers found their way to the tip of her pointed ear. Caladwen moaned into his mouth and felt his tongue search for entrance. Their arms wrapped around each other and they melted into one. Caladwen came up for air first and released his waist to run her slender fingers through his long silvery soft hair. She played with the braid that hung down in front of his shoulder.
"I want more than anything to become your wife, Haldir. I just don't think this is the time. I want you all to myself with no interruptions. What if Gimli wakes and comes searching for us?"
"I do not care about the Dwarf. All I want is to have you in my arms. I know you have needed this time to heal and I would not push you into this either. But I need you Caladwen. Let me give you a taste of what my love for you will be like." he said as he began nibbling on her neck.
Caladwen was on fire from his sweet caresses. Still, Haldir could sense her hesitation. He let go of her and cocked his head to the side. "Do you hear anything?" he asked.
"I still hear snoring if that is what you mean." Caladwen said smiling.
"Music to my ears." Haldir teased. He once again captured Caladwen's lips with his and poured all his passion into the kiss. "We may not be ready to bond yet, but that does not mean I cannot show you how much I love you."
Caladwen's eyes traveled down his strapping body as she saw the proof of his need. She blushed to see the bulge in his leggings and tried to back away. She was not going anywhere as she was still leaning against the pine. A gasp escaped from her lips.
Haldir merely smiled and turned on the charm once more. "Let me give you a taste of what it is we will experience one day." His hands once again traveled to her waist but Caladwen was quicker.
Just before he had her in his hold, Caladwen spun quickly and disappeared behind the giant pine. "You will have to catch me first. Let's see just how good you are at your craft, Marchwarden." she teased. She took off with a bound and ran further into the woods. Haldir let her have a head start and stayed where he was. A smile spread across his face. He would enjoy this game.
He slowly began walking in the direction Caladwen ran. His elven hearing noticed every little snap of a twig or rustle of leaves. She may have chosen the life of the Elves but she had not the stealth of the Galadhrim. He quietly climbed the nearest tree and searched for her on the ground. Every now and then, he listened for the Dwarf and was satisfied to hear him deep in slumber. He looked at the neighboring trees, scouring each branch for any sign of something out of the ordinary. Elves could blend in with their surroundings making them hard to detect. Caladwen was no different as Haldir was finding out for himself. She disappeared rather quickly. He thought he would have found her by now. As he searched for her, something tickled his ear. He swatted at the gnat and continued with his search. Just as he was about to move from his spot, he felt it again. This bothersome bug picked the wrong time to pester him. He tried to brush it away again but this time he heard a familiar sound. It was a very faint breathy giggle. He knew Caladwen was behind him in the tree and pretended not to hear her. With cat-like stealth, he jumped down from the tree and acted as if he was searching for her on the ground. With his ears tuned in to any sound, he heard the lightest thump not far from where he jumped down. He stopped and waited for her to catch up to him. Just when he thought she was right, behind him he spun around, expecting to capture her but instead grasping at nothing but air. Now Haldir was utterly confused. How did she slip away from him unnoticed? She could not be that fast. He began to think he was mistaken and it was an insect after all when someone pushed on the back of his knees, knocking his legs out from under him. He landed on his back and was suddenly looking up at a pair of radiant blue eyes.
"What's this, The Captain of the Galadhrim? I have caught off your guard and now you must answer to me. Tell me what I want to know and I just might go easy on you." Caladwen was straddling his thighs and held his wrists down to the ground. Haldir struggled to get loose but she gyrated her hips, grinding against his crotch.
"Be careful what you awake a'maelamin [my beloved]." he said feeling his desire for her grow instantly.
She loosed her grip on his wrists. "Surely you would not take advantage of your captor."
Haldir let out a low breathy laugh. "It seems you are mistaken as it is you who has the upper hand here." He pushed his hips in an upward motion. Caladwen felt the hardness beneath his leggings.
She knew what direction this game was leading to and could not deny her desire for him any longer. She wanted to slow things down just a bit. "Another truce then?" she said, scooting back.
They stared wantonly into each other's eyes. Haldir raised an eyebrow. "I already know what you would say. You are worried about our traveling companion and would have us keep our feelings in check for now. Is that what you imply, meleth nin?"
Thinking the game was over, Caladwen relaxed her body. "You know me so well, Marchwar…" Before she could finish her sentence, Haldir grabbed her and rolled them over so that he was now on top of her. His eyes darkened immediately.
"Rule number one; never let your guard down." He captured her lips with such force she could feel her breath leave her. Her body tingled all over with the current that traveled between them. The air was instantly charged. She could feel his arousal against her abdomen. She wanted him badly but was afraid of what would happen if they went any further. Caladwen knew their first time would lead to a bond. Their connection was too strong for just a casual joining. Why she was frightened confused her. Haldir confessed his love and loyalty to her. She had made her life choice. What was she waiting for?
His kisses became more demanding as his hand roamed to her breast. She moaned unexpectedly from his ministrations. It seemed there was no reason to wait any longer. It was inevitable that they would one day bond. Caladwen let his touch take her to another level of ecstasy.
"You are so beautiful, meleth. How I have longed for this." He raised his eyes to meet hers. "I promise we will go no further, but if you allow me to, I will bring you such pleasure as you have never known. Tonight is about you, my sweet love. My satisfaction can wait until you are ready to be with me for all time."
"I do not know why I hesitate. I know you are all that I want. You are my forever. Do you think our time has come? Are we ready to join our souls together?" she whispered, her voice high and unsure.
"You ask as if you are not ready to commit yourself just yet. The bond can only happen if you are completely willing to give your soul to me and me to you. We are giving up much, meleth. We are giving our lives to each other, to keep safe and hold on to forever." Haldir spoke softly as his words floated on the night air.
"You speak as though we are losing something. You say we must completely give our souls to each other. It is quite the opposite, my love. To allow our souls to join is to be complete. We are gaining everything our hearts have desired for so long." Caladwen reached up and stroked the side of his face with gentle fingers. "This is what we must agree to do."
"Then you have compliance. You are my world, my love, my light. You are what I have been waiting for and the reason for continuing on. Caladwen, A'maelamin, I give you my soul to keep and to cherish until the end of time. I will be your husband." As he spoke, his eyes filled with love for her.
Caladwen smiled and kissed him. Then she looked deep in his silver eyes. There she found her past, her present and her future. "Haldir, my beloved, you have been there from the very beginning. You have taught me things I would never have known without you. You have been there for me when I thought I could not go on. You have caught me when I have fallen. You say I am your light but you are the reason I shine. I love you and I want nothing more than to become your wife and give my soul to you, forever and always."
Haldir's heart felt as if it would burst from his chest. He leaned down and their lips came together. Their kiss was pure love. There was no more holding back for either one. Then he broke from the kiss and looked around.
"What is it my love." Caladwen asked.
His ears tuned in to hear Gimli still snoring. He smiled and rolled off her. Then he got on his knees and held his hand out to her. "Come with me. There is a place where we can be alone, just in case we wake the Dwarf." he laughed.
Caladwen looked worried. "Oh no, I forgot about Gimli. Maybe we should check…"
"He is sound asleep and if what I know about Dwarves is correct, he will not wake easily. Now come on." Haldir got up, pulling Caladwen with him.
They walked on a little ways until they came to a small stream. They each scooped up some water with their hand, quenching their thirst. Haldir took her hand again. "If my ears do not deceive me, there is a place not far from here."
Just as he said, they came upon a crystal clear pond with a beautiful waterfall at the far end. The moonlight bounced off the water as it fell over the edge of the rocks, making a white foam where it entered the pool below. They could see a ledge at the bottom of the rock wall that ran behind the waterfall. Haldir smiled. "Wait here." he said and followed the narrow shelf. Caladwen watched how he maneuvered effortlessly, never faltering, as he disappeared behind the fall. She took this moment to memorize the scenery around her. There were more pine trees in this area than in others. They were rather large and looked as if they had been there for a hundred years. The ground was covered with a type of vine of deep green leaves and small buds. She wondered what its flowers would look like. On the far side of the pond was a rocky wall. The same vine grew to the very top. More pines and some oaks could be seen up there though they were much smaller than the others were. She noticed the clear water of the pond. It looked very inviting. Small fish could be seen swimming around the edge. Patches of moss grew on some of the rocks lining the waters edge. Looking to the waterfall again, she found Haldir coming out from behind it. Never had he looked more handsome. He stepped out into the moonlight and the glow was almost blinding. His silver hair hung loosely about his shoulders like a curtain of fine silk. His fair skin glimmered in contrast to the dark grey rocks behind him. She was in awe of him. Never had he seemed so rejuvenated. There was no doubt in her mind that tonight was made just for them.
Haldir approached Caladwen. "Come with me, meleth nin. You must see what I found." he said excitedly. He took her hand in his and carefully led her around the rocky ledge that led back behind the fall. The wall ended and there was a cave entrance, concealed by the water. They went in and found vines and moss covering the floor. It was not a very deep cave, about the size of any room. Near the back, there was a hole in the roof where a beam of moonlight shone through, lighting up their surroundings. Caladwen looked back to the water and it looked like a curtain of light. She could make out the shapes of the area around the pond but the falling water distorted it.
"This is beautiful, Haldir. How did you know this was here?" she asked as she looked around.
"I didn't. I hoped this would be here and it was. It is as if the earth knew we would come this way one day and carved this special place just for us." Haldir turned to her and watched how her face lit up with the discovery of this place. He could see her studying everything about their hideaway. Her long wavy hair hung down to her waist. When she stepped into the moonbeam, the color was like pure gold. Her skin shone brightly. Never had she looked more elf-like and never had he loved her more. Haldir walked up behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist. Their fingers entwined with each other as he nuzzled his face against hers. She leaned back into his embrace.
"This is perfect, Haldir. This is exactly how I had always hoped it would be." she said, turning in his arms so they were facing each other. They kissed once more and the world around them melted away. There was no love greater than the one they shared and now they would make it complete.