“Beside the falls of Nimrodel,
By water clear and cool,
Her voice as falling silver fell
Into the shining pool.” *
The familiar tale engulfs him; visions triggered by the song surround him. His bow is loose in his hand as his eyes fall shut, and he is pulled into a memory that has long eluded him.
The sun is suddenly brighter and the trees lighter. The trickling of water mingles with his father’s voice as he sings. The grass is soft beneath him, although the blades tickle his legs through the thin material of his leggings. His legs appear thinner and shorter, and when he stands he feels considerably lighter.
His mother’s laughter accompanies his father’s song and his brothers burst from the foliage and sit by him. He glances up and sees his father watching him, singing of Nimrodel and Amroth.
The song fades, and he snaps back from the memory, his sense of duty returning as he is seized by the realization that strangers have passed the borders. Silently alerting his brothers, they move quickly through the woods, lightly running across the paths he knows will take them to the river. He has guarded these borders for many years, and knows the quickest roads through the trees. The brothers move like they are hunting, and he knows that they shall be if the enchanting voice belies a darker body.
As he runs, his mind returns to the brief memory, and a half-smile comes to his lips as he remembers his father’s wonderful voice and his mother’s laughter. His chest aches as he thinks of them, but he pushes it aside, forcing himself to think only of the disturbance in his woods.
As he draws closer to the song’s source, he feels no evil, but a strange, united light that hasn’t entered Lórien in a long time. The trees, familiar to him by sight and smell, pass by swiftly, and he catches a brief glance at the intruders. In front of him stands a company of eight. Haldir would have loosed an arrow in that instant had he not been forewarned of their coming. His mind works fast, and he knows the news of a wandering fellowship; an unusual group walking over the Nimrodel is no coincidence.
Orophin and Rúmil branch away without instruction, and the three of them follow the company for a while, studying and watching them.
The four Halflings perplex him most when he recovers from the surprise of their presence. He thought of them as a dying race, and yet he has been told of them recently; now, he sees four. They are filled with fear, curiosity, and a hope not often seen in these times. Their innocence is almost blinding, and would be, if not for the small, but spreading taint of darkness that hovers above them.
The elf moves to climb one of the trees.
“Daro!” Haldir calls out, and the company freezes.
He laughs lightly at their shock and fear, and listens as Rúmil tells the elf that the hobbit breathes so loudly he could have shot him in the dark. The elf replies in the same light and engaging voice that sang not long before. Haldir climbs quickly but silently up the tree nearest to him and leaps into the canopy of the next one – the mallorn the elf was about to climb. He bids the elf to climb up with the Ring-bearer, and he feels Rúmil and Orophin settle behind him.
Leoglas is the name of the elf with the golden voice, and Frodo is the Ring-bearer. Haldir sees that the shadow floating above the company stems from this tiny creature, and he wonders of the power that lays only an arm span away from his grasp. It pulses from the hobbit’s chest in waves, flowing over and piercing him.
It whispers to him and he tastes the bitterness, feels the poisoned claws and sees the darkness. He recognises the endless depth of the shadows, the relentless evil, and he pities the Halfling. But his thoughts are mingling, changing, and he knows that with one swift movement such power could be his…
Haldir could forsake his duty as warden of the borders of Lórien, and instead use the strength of the One Ring to forever thwart the dangers that threatens the forest. His home will become the safest place on all of Middle-earth, and after he ensures this he will lead the last alliance of men and elves to victory over the Dark Lord. The shadow will pass, and all will know his name and revere it, even more so than the Lady of Lothlórien, Galadriel.
The power he will command will be the greatest ever seen, and he will have lords and ladies bowing to him, offering him their lands and legions. He would never again have to stand guard for a fortnight without rest, never have to engage in battle after battle with minor foes, never need to defend the borders of his home.
His eyes are drawn to Frodo’s chest, and it calls to him. His heart beats faster, his skin itches all over, and his head throbs; the need he feels for it screams inside him louder than the sea-longing has ever cried. It feels as though his muscles are stretching, and the pure, carnal lust causes his hands to shake.
He can take it if he wants. It ought to be his. He deserves to have it. He and his brothers have defended these borders long enough. They have lost so much because of the evil in this world, and they have tirelessly fought to hinder the spread of darkness.
He, Haldir of Lórien, should own the One Ring. He will share it with his brothers, and the three of them will become the most renowned Elven Kings of all the Ages. His brothers will stand beside him, and the three of them will rule all the lands in Middle-earth.
They may become jealous, the whispers taunt. They will take it from you…
Haldir almost jerks in anger, but checks himself. Why should he share the power with them, when they will only try to take it from him? No, he will keep it for himself, for their envy will drive them both into madness and they shall fall into despair. If they do, he will be ready for them and rid himself of such faithless and disloyal brothers. Many others will contend him for the Ring, yet he will overcome them by any means.
He raises the lamp to see the face of he who keeps it from him. The Ring must be his. The Ring is his. He deserves it and he must have it, for it is precious…
The Halfling stares back at him, his eyes, so blue…
His mother’s azure eyes are open and unseeing and his father weeps openly as he carries his wife’s body toward the river. Her tresses are matted with dirt and blood and swirl about her lifeless arms and he limps painfully. Her gown – once stark white and reminiscent of the Lady’s favour in her – now clings to her body, sullied and blood-stained. And when his father speaks, Haldir’s heart screams and he has never known pain could hurt so much.
“The well-being of these woods lies in your hands now, my sons.”
His father places her gently on the bank of the Nimrodel and lies down beside her. Haldir watches, his brothers beside him clutching at each other, as his parents lie side by side. Her light is gone, and his father’s fades fast. Haldir wants to rush forward, shake his father and tell him to fight, to stay strong, but he knows he cannot. Without his wife, Haldir’s father would merely exist. He would no longer see the beauty of Lórien. He would have no reason to keep its borders safe. Haldir can’t bear watching his father fade, but he won’t condemn his father to an eternity of grief. Haldir closes his eyes as the Marchwarden of Lórien and his wife take their leave of Middle-earth.
The air is riddled with howls and snarls, yet the forest is silent; it grieves for the loss of two immortal lives.
Frodo blinks and Haldir lowers the lamp, almost shaking from his momentary descent into madness. His chest burns for his lack of control, for his dark thoughts and betrayal of his brothers. He has been tempted by the darkest of evils, nearly taken it upon himself to steal it, to make it his – to possess and wield. He has overcome it, but if he had not…
Regaining restraint, Haldir speaks to them in the Common Language. He speaks slowly, still shaken by the severity of the visions of the Ring, and offers them safe harbour in the talans. Resuming his duty as warden, he questions the dwarf’s presence, but his mind is still on the little hobbit and his burden, so he lets it go without much objection.
Once the entire company is above ground and hidden by the leafy canopies, he takes a moment to calm himself in the sight of the flowing Nimrodel, remaining hidden in the trees. He cannot see Rúmil or Orophin but he knows they are there. They watch the river for signs of Orcs. His blood begins to rush through his veins, calling for the satisfaction of slaying the corrupted creatures. As the horde of Orcs surge into the beautiful stream and dirty the pure water with their foul feet and malevolent minds, he is angry for what his heart mourns for. For what he lost, and for what they took from him.
It would be folly to present himself now, though. He could not destroy this many, not even with his brothers fighting beside him. You can destroy them all… Once again the Ring calls to him, and he struggles to separate his thoughts from the twisted wickedness it speaks. If he has it on his finger, all the Orcs will die. He will raze them all down until only the remainders of their ash are left on Middle-earth. He will…
No, but he can’t, for the Ring does not belong to him. Nor will it ever.
Haldir runs now, speaking to his brothers in foreign voices, drawing the host away from the only person the Ring shall touch. He leaves his brothers to go on without him and slinks into the woods, doubling back so he now stands at the rear of the Orcs. They lumber forward after his brothers, and he grieves for the grass that they trample, the trees that they swing at.
He closes his eyes.
His mother and father still lay on the bank of the Nimrodel and Haldir steps forward, his movements soundless. Rúmil and Orophin follow him, and together they push the two bodies into the river. They watch as the departed elves float away and dip beneath the surface. Without speaking or making a sound, the three turn and dash into the trees, justice and vengeance on their minds. They trail the obvious tracks left by the host of Orcs, and find them shortly after. Moments later they stand alone in the forest of Lórien, staring at the littered corpses and carnage they just caused.
Withdrawing one arrow, he notches it into his bow and draws the string back towards himself. He closes one eye, opens it, and fires the sleek arrow. The ‘twang’ of the string sounds deafening to his ears as the bolt flies into the night, slamming into the chest and blackened heart of an Orc. None of the host stops or turns.
He lowers his bow. He does not need the power of the One Ring to avenge them. One Orc at a time, he shall rid the world of their darkness. He turns and faces the Nimrodel again.
Haldir returns to the Company, lighter of heart, for he is no longer tempted. He remembers what he fights for now, and remembers why he guards Lórien. Until the day comes that the elves pass from its borders and the light of Lórien shines no more, Haldir will remain the Marchwarden, and no evil shall walk in this place.
* This song is from “The Fellowship of the Ring” and was written by J.R.R Tolkien.
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.