Chapter 1 Haldir’s Resistance
From the first day he felt her move within her mother’s womb, he knew he would be her guardian. There was a very strong connection with this unborn babe. He silently swore to protect her. His need to sail to the Undying Lands was quelled. Haldir had a new purpose. Since evil had been destroyed, he felt less useful in his forest home. He made an oath to Lord Celeborn that he would not sail before him. He was and would always be the Marchwarden of Lothlorien. There was just less to do. Now with the birth of Caladwen, his spirit was renewed.
Haldir had not been around children or elflings for that matter. He spent his whole life preparing for combat. There was no time to think about settling down or starting a family of his own. The Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn were his family, in a matter of speaking. He trained his whole life for this one job. It was all he knew, but Galadriel had sailed now and the forest was quiet. Celeborn stayed in Lothlorien to keep order until the last Elf left the Golden Wood and then he too would sail. Haldir would follow his lord as he swore to do so long ago.
Caladwen had changed things, changed his course. The first time he held her was right after she was born. Something came over Haldir as he gazed down upon the newborn. Their eyes met and he swore to be her Guardian, her protector. He had not thought twice about it. This just seemed to be the way things were. He spoke to Lord Celeborn soon after about this. Celeborn smiled and told him that the Valar worked in mysterious ways and that he should trust his heart.
Haldir was not the kind to think of such things. He had a reputation to uphold and love had no place in his life. Most would say he did not have a heart at all. He was all business all the time. He had a job to do and he was the best at what he did. Orcs never made it far across the borders of Lorien. Haldir chose only the best warriors to train and protect his realm. Because of this, he had to keep on his toes. No one would ever come close to being able to do his job and that was his security. As long as Caras Galadhon existed, the Marchwarden knew his purpose. Unfortunately, the time of the Elves was ending. The fourth age had begun with the coronation of King Elessar. Men would soon rule the world. There would be no place for the Elves. Eventually they would all sail, even Haldir, but now it was just a matter of when.
Everything was easily laid before him. He was to protect his realm until his lord sailed and then he too would sail. Caladwen changed all of that. For the first time, Haldir was unsure of his future and it scared him. He did not understand why he was drawn to this child. Why had he sworn to protect her? She was the daughter of the Lady Eowyn of Rohan and the elven Prince Legolas. Caladwen was a gift from the Valar to the world of Men. She was one of the last Peredhil, half-elven; able to chose life as a mortal or remain immortal and sail to the Undying Lands. That alone confused the Marchwarden. He had no such choice. He was an Elf through and through and always knew he would one day sail, unless he died in combat. There was no chance of that happening. His arrogance alone kept him alive and untouched through many millennia.
And so it came to be that Haldir turned his path to follow that of Caladwen‘s, so long as she dwelled in Lothlorien. In her first few years of life, Legolas was gone to build his ship and Haldir was very protective of her and her mother, Eowyn. He took it upon himself to be her ’sitter’ though he hated that title. He said he was a ’teacher’ but no one was fooled. Never the less, he was there for them every minute of the day. At the time, it seemed Legolas would be sailing into the West and Haldir decided he would teach her the ways of the Elves in the absence of her father.
However, Legolas’ path did not lead him that way and he was given a reprieve. He would not sail and would be there for his daughter. Meanwhile, Eowyn chose Faramir as her true love and moved back to Emyn Arnen along with Caladwen. Haldir and his brothers escorted them there. He could not stay though. His heart remained in Lorien. He was beside himself the day he left to return home. He felt as though he had broken his promise by not staying with Caladwen in Ithilien. Through the years, he suffered silently over his decision to turn from her path, always feeling a pull in his heart. He did his best to go on with day-to-day life in Lorien. None could see his torment except for Lord Celeborn. Long ago, he had seen the Marchwarden’s path. He knew Haldir would never leave voluntarily. When the time was right, he would send Haldir on an ‘errand’. Many years would pass as Caladwen grew up in the world of Men. Haldir remained in Lorien and never mentioned his grief to anyone. Then the day came when Celeborn suggested he visit Ithilien.
“I feel no need to travel outside of my home, my lord.” Haldir said as he took counsel with Lord Celeborn. “Why would you ask me to suspend my duties?’
Celeborn smiled. “I merely suggest that you visit our Ithilien kin. I am not asking you to move there permanently. We have not spoken to Prince Legolas in a long while. I’m sure if Galadriel were here, she would want a report on how the North Forest of Ithilien heals.”
“Can you not send a messenger for such a report?” Haldir asked. There was a twinge of conceit in his voice, as if he was above such a task.
“I could, but I have chosen you. Besides, there are more than trees to report on. It has been a long while since you saw the young Caladwen. Do you not wonder how she fares? She will soon reach her maturity day among Men.”
Haldir creased his brow. “She is still a youth in the eyes of the Elves.”
“Ah yes, but do not forget she is a Peredhil and for now she has chosen to live amongst Men.” Celeborn walked to a table and poured two glasses of wine. He handed one to Haldir. “Are you not the least bit curious to see how she has grown? You were very attached to her when she was a child.”
“I thought she would grow up without her father and felt the need to instill in her the ways of the Elves. Legolas did not leave Middle Earth therefore she no longer needed me.” Haldir said as he sipped on his wine.
Celeborn listened to the tone of the Marchwardens voice. The subtle hint of disappointment was something only those close to Haldir would notice. Not even his own brothers could decipher his thoughts; he kept them so well hidden. Lord Celeborn was very wise and had lived far longer than any Elf that remained on earth. He knew the Marchwarden quite well and he sensed Haldir’s slight anguish. It was time for the Elf to fulfill his oath. “I think it would be good for you if…”
Haldir cut him off. “I do not wish to leave these borders. Who will protect them?”
“Haldir,” Celeborn said laying a gentle hand on his shoulder. “Your brother’s have learned everything there is to know from you. It will take both of them to do your job. There is no one I trust more. Now, I want you to go to Ithilien. You are only fooling yourself if you think there is no reason for this visit. I have seen how you mourn Caladwen’s leaving. She was a light in our fading forest. She brought much joy to us, but she does not belong to Lorien alone. She belongs to all and therefore she had to leave. I know no one misses her more than you.”
At this, Haldir dared to glare through the slits of his eyes at his lord. His countenance was not wasted on Celeborn who only smiled in return. Haldir was stubborn and arrogant but Celeborn could see through that. “You will leave in the morning.”
“But, my lord…” Haldir retaliated.
“I will hear no more of it. You will travel to Ithilien and that is that. You are no good to me in this state. Go and seek your answers. It will do your heart good.”
Again, Haldir glared at Celeborn. “It is alright Marchwarden. Your secret is safe with me. No one else need know such a thing beats within your chest. I will tell the others you left by my orders, yet reluctantly.”
“Then you will only be speaking the truth, my lord.” Haldir sat his empty glass down and turned to leave the talan.
Haldir hated the fact that anyone could see into his mind and read his thoughts. It was something to which he became accustom. The Lady Galadriel often looked into his mind. He had learned to keep certain things well hidden though, especially when it came to the affairs he had had with many of the ellith [female elves]. He was a well sought after bachelor and they rarely turned down his advances. It was something he prided himself on. Over the years, he managed to protect his heart and keep it locked away from anyone, as long as he made love for sport. When Eowyn came to Lothlorien, injured and with child, he did not expect to feel such a fondness toward her. She was the first woman he had gotten to know and they became friends, able to let his guard down when he was alone with her. Not even the Lord or Lady had witnessed this side of him. Haldir had lovers or warrior companions. He did not have friends, didn‘t have time or patience for such trivial things. It was after Caladwen was born that he felt a tugging at his heart. After that, he tamed his wild ways and turned away from the ellith that only needed him to quench their desires. There were rumors that Haldir had finally given his heart to his one true love, Lothlorien. He did not respond to any of this gossip and let them think what they may. He knew the real reason. It was his overwhelming desire to teach and protect the child that stirred his emotions. Even after Eowyn and Caladwen left Lorien, he continued to lead his celibate lifestyle, pouring all his energy into his duty as Marchwarden. He denied the fact that he missed the child and felt as though he neglected his oath. He became unapproachable over the years. Celeborn felt his anguish growing and waited patiently for the right time when he should send Haldir to Ithilien to fulfill his duty. It seemed Lothlorien was not the only thing Haldir held close to his heart, no matter how protected it was.
He went to his study to prepare instructions for his brothers, though deep down he felt they knew what needed to be done in his absence. It was not that he did not trust Rumil and Orophin. There was no one else he trusted more. They were, after all, his brothers. Still, he had a reputation to uphold and his rules would be enforced without him. He did not know how long he would be gone and wanted to make sure his authority was not forgotten in his absence. He let the Galadhrim know that reports would be sent to him frequently in Ithilien, keeping him informed. He expected things to remain unchanged upon his return, whenever that would be.
Haldir packed his travel bag, grabbed his weapons and made for the borders with his brothers in tow. He hopped onto his horse and headed off for Ithilien. Rumil and Orophin watched him until he disappeared from their view.
“I hope our brother finds what he is looking for.” Rumil commented as they returned to Caras Galadhon.
“Have no worries, my brother.” Orophin answered. “He will find that and much more. This task will not leave him unchanged.”
PLEASE... If you have not yet read my first story 'What Paths We Take', I strongly suggest you read it first. This is a spin-off of that one and is loaded with *spoilers*. As always, all LOTR characters and places are not mine. Only my Original Characters belongs to me. I hope you enjoy.
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