12. So Comes the News
It has been almost two weeks since I discovered them in the woods. I could not believe my eyes. My brother, Haldir locked in a passionate embrace with Calavénë, my dearest mellon. I did not know the extent of their relationship but I received my answer when Calavénë struck Haldir. Tears were flowing from her eyes and the sorrowful look on her face broke my heart. It seemed Haldir had rejected her affections. She ran away from him with tears still in her eyes. I watched Haldir stood there motionless. Why was my brother so cruel in his actions? He was once a gentle soul who helped Rumil and I grow to be exceptional elves. No doubt the experience he had with Gwilwileth marred him but could he not see that Calavénë and Gwilwileth are two different people?
The subsequent days following my discovery did not fare well. Calavénë kept to herself and only emerged from her talan to join Frodo and Prince Legolas for their evening conversations. Even then she had a tinge of sadness in her eyes. Her laughs were cautious as if she was afraid of happiness and her smile had a certain feel to it, a smile of a broken heart. My heart goes to her but she will not let me console her. Each time I approached her with questions, she merely answered all is well.
My brother did not fare better than the lady either. He threw himself into his work, taking up most of the rotations Mebedir and I had. He barely spoke and he spent most of his time gazing away into the distance. I would call to him but he would be lost in his own silent reverie. The occurrence in the woods had affected him severely. Knowing Haldir he might be hurting inside but never would he voice his frustrations.
On the day the fellowship was to depart, we were there. Haldir kept his distance from them. I could see the jealousy in his eyes when Prince Legolas kissed Calavénë. I gave it no thought since I knew the nature of their friendship. Legolas thought her as his sister and so did she. Haldir did not even approach his friend to say a proper farewell. He merely nodded and waved from afar. I did not see the reason for his jealousy. If he does not feel for her, there is no reason for his reaction. I could only conclude that he too adores Calavénë but his proud heart and hard head refuse to accept the truth. There was no use talking to Haldir on the matters of the heart. He closed his heart ever so tightly it would take eons before the clasp loosens.
I do not know how are we to endure the next three days. Calavénë was scheduled to return to the borders to assist Herdir Annoguil attending to a gravely injured warden. If this solemn arrangement continues, I will be forced to voice out my annoyance. I missed my old friend, the laughing, smiling Calavénë. It is hard to admit but I too miss the old Haldir. The one that actually spoke, be it orders but spoke still. Only time will tell…
Calavénë sat quietly on her horse, Glîn, a gift for her from Lord Celeborn. Orophin and Rumil had travelled from the borders to escort her down. Herdir Annoguil could not cope with the demands of the healing tent. There were a number of wardens gravely injured and Calavénë was needed to continue their treatment. She sighed. How could she possibly heal anyone when she is hurt herself? Albeit not physically but her heart, her fea hurts. It has almost been one month since she professed her affections for Haldir and yet the pain did not subside. She did not know how long before she succumbs to her grief and fade from Middle Earth.
Orophin had taken notice of her unusual silence. It was not like Calavénë to spend the entire journey without songs or merry conversations. Rumil too sensed the change. He looked at his brother and questioned him with his eyes. Orophin merely shook his head, not wanting to divulge the real story behind her sorrow. Orophin slowed down his horse and rode beside her. She was too immersed in her own thoughts; she did not notice Orophin pulling up next to her.
Orophin watched as a clear droplet of tear rolled down her cheek. He was startled. Truly, her love is pure and he could see that she is broken. He reached out to her and gently brushed the tear away. Calavénë was brought back to Lorien at the feel of Orophin's fingers. She looked at him and quickly smiled.
Orophin looked at her intently, "Do not tell me that nothing is wrong. You cannot lie to me anymore mellon nin for your heart will not survive this if you do not share your burden."
Calavénë shook her head, "There is nothing to tell Fin. I merely missed Frodo and Legolas. That is all."
Orophin has had enough of this childish evasion. She will tell him or he would force the truth out from Haldir's mouth. She would not like the latter choice, "I saw you…"
Calavénë did not fully understand his words. He saw me? She thought. Of course he did! I am here in front of him! She watched Orophin, hoping he would continue. But when he said nothing she pressed on, "What do you mean Fin? You saw me where?"
Orophin moved in closer to her. He did not want to cause unwanted stories about her and Haldir, "I saw you in the woods. With Haldir…"
Calavénë felt the very breath stolen from her chest. She needed to find a way to mislead him. He cannot know the truth, "I am sure you did. I spent a lot of time in the woods. Perhaps you came upon us when we stumbled into each other on our way back."
Orophin smiled. She was a terrible liar, "Indeed. Perhaps the both of you stumbled into each other and accidentally locked yourselves in a passionate embrace that shook me to the very core. Perhaps the both of you tripped and fell to the ground with your bodies pressing into each other. Perhaps…"
Calavénë could feel herself alarmed. Orophin had discovered them. Shame washed over her beautiful face, and then came grief. Suddenly, a generous amount of tears flowed from her eyes and fell onto her tunic. Her sobbing was uncontrollable and this alarmed Orophin. Rumil stopped when he heard the commotion and rode to the back to find a distressed Calavénë. Orophin held up his hand, asking his brother not to step any closer. Orophin skilfully jumped from his horse on to hers, guiding the mare further away from the congregation.
As soon as they were some distance away from the group, Orophin dismounted and pulled Calavénë down, "Now, pen dithen. Tell me. Do not carry this burden alone…"
Calavénë buried her face in his broad chest. She needed the comfort. For a long time now she had to carry this burden alone. Orophin held her and whispered soothing words to calm her down. She cried earnestly; letting all her sorrow and anger flow from her heart out to her eyes. Soon her sobs became silent gasps.
Orophin sat her down on ground and lifted her chin, "For a while now we have been friends. I consider you my gwathel. If you consider me your gwanur then let me in…"
Calavénë lifted her face and looked at Orophin, "Forgive me Fin for causing you this trouble. I let my emotions get the best of me. I regret that you had to find out about Haldir and me in that manner. I love him Fin, with all my heart…"
Calavénë told him of the rainy night they spent in the abandoned talan and how she came to realize her love for him. She informed him of the day in the woods and how he rejected her. Orophin sat silently, listening to her tale.
Half an hour had passed. Calavénë was now crying again, unable to contain her sorrow. Just then a hand touched her shoulder. Calavénë turned around and saw Rumil. His gaze was soft and there was no judgement there. Rumil sat down and addressed Orophin, "Fin, I think it is time we tell Calavénë of Haldir's tale."
Calavénë looked at the both of them with questioning eyes, "Haldir's tale?"
Orophin sighed, "Yes, Calavénë. Haldir's tale. Perhaps after hearing this you could understand why his actions towards you were cold. It was almost one hundred and sixty years ago. Haldir was not always the elf you see him as now. He was carefree and very loving. He would jest and laugh with us. He cared deeply for everyone he knew. He was soft spoken and smiled all the time. We thought he could never be more charming and lovable than he was. But that all changed when he met Gwilwileth."
Calavénë looked confused, "Gwilwileth? Is she not the one married to Idhrenon?"
Rumil nodded, "Aye, the very one. He met her during the winter solstice feast. She was one of the singers that sang for the Lord and Lady. She was very beautiful, even more so than yourself."
Orophin shook his head, "Not more than yourself, Calavénë, perhaps beautiful in a different way. At the time there was no other elleth that could match her beauty. Haldir fell in love immediately. He pursued her day and night. She proved to be a very elusive elleth. He professed his love to her and for a while she accepted. They were to be wed by the end of the year. However, the orcs' activities were on the rise and he was called to the borders once again."
Rumil sighed, "It was the hardest year of our lives. The attacks came swift and continuous. Days became weeks and weeks became months. We did not notice it had been almost ten months since we left. But not long after, the attacks lessen and some of us were given a few days to return home and rest. Haldir took this chance to return to her and ask her to marry him once and for all."
Calavénë waited for one of them to continue, "What happened?"
Orophin shook his head, "No one knows the true extent of the incident. Haldir came back to the borders almost as quickly as he left. It was soon heard that Gwilwileth had married Idhrenon and they were expecting their first henn. The night Haldir returned to us, I could feel that he was changed. His eyes were a darker shade and his exterior hardened. He had forgotten to laugh or jest. Ever since that day he never laid eyes on a single elleth, vowing not to fall in love ever again."
Calavénë sat quietly, digesting this new information. She felt sorry for him, for what he had gone through. Suddenly anger rose inside her. He was making her feel the same way he did. He knew the pain that comes with a broken heart. Why cause her this pain?
Calavénë stood up wiping her tears. She looked down at the stunned brothers, "I feel for him, I do. But that does not give him the permission to break my heart. I am not Gwilwileth and if he had taken the chance to love me, perhaps now, his heart could have been healed. Instead he chose to break mine and cause me such misery. Nay! This is the only sympathy he will receive from my end for I receive none from his."
Orophin and Rumil watched as Calavénë walked away from them and mounted her horse. The both of them shook their heads in unison. It was Rumil who spoke, "They are a match made in heaven…"
They reached the encampment close to nightfall. Calavénë was grateful not to see Haldir. She quickly gathered her belongings and placed them in her talan. Soon she was put to work by Herdir Annoguil. Annoguil too had sensed some tension inside his young apprentice. He shook his head. Stubbornness in a young elf like Calavénë was understandable but in an elf as old as Haldir? It was inconceivable! He would deny himself love and happiness out of fear of getting hurt. Annoguil smiled to himself. Haldir would rather face the orcs everyday rather than open his heart again. That is a true Marchwarden.
After changing the dressings and cleaning the wounds, Calavénë went to the river to clean her work clothes from the blood and potion stains. She took of the apron and washed it in the flowing water. Her eyes wandered to the spot where Haldir touched her the first time. She sat down closer to the water's edge, letting her feet dip into the cool river. She rested her head back on the rock and closed her eyes.
Hot tears flowed from her eyes. She remembered his touches. How his hands felt on her skin and how his mouth explored her body. Her body shook from fervour and from her sobs. She needed him with her. But if he could only give her memories, than she will be content. Calavénë raised the hem of her gown and began stroking her thighs while muttering Haldir's name.
Haldir walked back to the encampment covered in orcs' blood. His legion managed to stop a group of orcs from entering the Lorien. He needed to wash. Haldir set down his weapons and made his way to the river. Half way through the path, he stopped abruptly. His leggings became too tight to contain his growing desire. He looked down and muttered a curse. Why was this happening? He was not dreaming, certainly not aroused. Sighing, he continued his journey to the river.
Once there he was startled to hear someone moaning his name. It was the same voice he had heard in his dreams weeks ago. He walked towards the clearing and saw an elleth sitting near a rock with the hem of her gown pulled up to her thighs. One of her hand was in between her thighs and the other was gripping the roots on the ground.
Haldir moved closer and heard the elleth moaned his name again. Almost immediately his erection throbbed and pulsated. He looked down at his bulging leggings and then up again at the elleth. He knew that voice. He pushed the shrubs to one side and saw Calavénë who was now lost in her reverie of Haldir.
Each time she moaned his name; his arousal would throb and pulsate. He could not contain his desires any longer. He loosened the bands of his legging and pulled it down. He took off his bloody tunic and cast it aside. He grabbed his hard erection and began stroking it as he watched Calavénë pleasure herself with his name on her lips. Her moans became louder and his breathing became ragged. Both of them were reaching their peaks and neither of them touched each other. Soon, the surrounding area echoed with the names of Haldir and Calavénë.
Calavénë fell on her back and pulled her gown back down to cover her legs. She felt ashamed at what she had done but her need was so dire she could not think of anything else. She was lost in her own pleasure she could even hear Haldir cry out her name. Tears fell down her face again as she stood up leaving the river.
Haldir watched as Calavénë pulled down her gown. She had tears in her eyes and in his heart he knew he was the cause. He pulled his leggings back up and waited for her to return before making his way to the river. So it had been her, the one he heard that night. How could he? If he had recalled carefully, she was here, near the borders and he was back in Caras Galadhon. Surely this was not possible. But he had witnessed it today with his own eyes, how his body responded to her without even touching her. This was too complicated. He will have to consult Annoguil about this matter. He made his way to the river and jumped inside, washing all the blood from his body.
Calavénë sat down next to the injured warden. He was running with a high fever for the wounds on his chest were infected. She had been administering a cooling potion to help break his fever. All of a sudden, her heart thumped wildly in her chest. This only happens when Haldir was around. Calavénë stood up abruptly and tried to leave the tent only to come face to face with Haldir.
Haldir looked at her. She was trembling. Her gaze remained fixed to the ground. She was holding back her tears and he felt the guilt inside his bones. "Mae govannen, Calavénë Thandiel. It has been a while since I saw you last."
Calavénë did not respond to his greeting. Instead she walked back inside the tent and sat down quietly near the injured warden. Annoguil heard the Marchwarden enter the tent, "Haldir! What brings you here?"
Haldir smiled and placed a hand on the healer's shoulder, "Maer du, herdir. May I have a word with you?"
Annoguil nodded, "Of course! What is the matter?"
Haldir glanced at an uninterested Calavénë, "Privately if you may…"
Annoguil nodded, "Calavénë could you please give us a moment?"
Calavénë nodded and left the tent, leaving the two elves to converse in private.
Annoguil took a seat and beckoned Haldir to do the same, "Could I offer you some wine, my lord?"
Haldir smiled but declined the offer, "Nay. Thank you, herdir. I need my clarity tonight as I have patrols. I have some questions regarding… er…"
Annoguil saw the hesitation in his manner, "Be open with me Haldir. I cannot help you if I do not know the full story. What is it you wanted to know?"
Haldir shrugged his shoulders, "Herdir, I have not been in the company of an elleth as I have yet to choose one worthy of marriage. But I am not all naïve in the ways of love. However something has happened to me, beyond my knowledge of the ways of love."
Haldir continued to inform Annoguil of his plight, though he did not name the elleth for the sake of her dignity. He waited patiently as Annoguil thought of the answer. Annoguil was intrigued. Never before has he heard such occurrence.
He looked at Haldir in amusement, "The first time it happened, you were in Caras Galadhon and this elleth you say was far away? Now again it happened and you watch yourself grow every time she utter your name aloud?"
Haldir nodded at the questions, "Yes, herdir. It happened just now…"
Annoguil smiled. If it had just transpired, it could only mean the elleth in question is Calavénë for she too had just returned from the river. However the identity of the elleth was not the main discussion here. Annoguil looked at the confused ellon, "I believe your fear are joined somehow. Perhaps not as strong as the binding of two fear for eternity but somehow connected."
Haldir could not believe his keen elven ears, "Joined? Connected? How so, herdir?"
Annoguil continued, "The matters regarding fear are not well known Haldir. But it has been said that fear connect where there is love, a strong love between the two separate fea."
Haldir nodded silently. His mind was racing, "But how can the two fear connect if only one fea carries the love?"
Annoguil smiled, "That is not possible. There must be some degree of love for fear to connect. Perhaps the love the other fea has for the lesser one is stronger; therefore it sustains the bond the two fear share."
Haldirs sighed. He cares for Calavénë and perhaps there is some degree of love there. So this was the reason that made his body react on its own accord. Haldir stood up and thanked the healer and made his way to this talan. He lay silent in his bedroll, thinking of what the healer said. The love Calavénë has for him must be great. If so, then her heart break would be greater…
Galadriel stood on her balcony looking towards Rivendell. She has felt the change in the air, "I amar prestar aen... han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae, a han nostan ned gwilith."
She closed her eyes and saw the vision of hier son in law, Elrond, Lord of Rivendell. He stood alone on his balcony looking at his people, leaving for the Grey Havens.
Galadriel continued, "The power of the enemy is growing. Sauron will use his puppet Saruman to destroy the people of Rohan. Isengard has been unleashed. The Eye of Sauron now turns to Gondor, the last free kingdom of Men. His war on this country will come swiftly. He senses the Ring is close. The strength of the Ring-bearer is failing."
Galadriel saw the vision of her son in law Elrond at his window, anger and frustration welling up within him, as he listens to her.
"In his heart, Frodo begins to understand the quest will claim his life. You know this. You have foreseen it. It is the risk we all took. In the gathering dark, the will of the Ring grows strong. It works hard now to find its way back into the hands of Men. Men, who are so easily seduced by its power. The young captain of Gondor has but to extend his hands, take the Ring for his own and the world will fall. It is close now, so close to achieving its goal. For Sauron will have dominion of all life on this Earth even unto the ending of the world. The time of the Elves... is over," Galadriel spoke.
Lord Elrond walked up to the painting of Isildur defeating Sauron with the broken blade of Narsil.
Galadriel asked him the very question that plagued his mind, "Do we leave Middle-earth to its fate? Do we let them stand alone?"
Calavénë woke up on her second day at the encampment. Last night passed by uneventfully. She stretched on her bed and sat up, enjoying the feel of cool air the morning breeze brought. Suddenly the voice of Galadriel appeared in her mind, "Pen dithen, I need you to return to Caras Galadhon immediately. I have informed Haldir and I am sure he is on his way here now. Dress and return home with haste."
At the very moment Haldir entered her talan, "Forgive my intrusion. But Lady Galadriel has requested our presence in Caras Galadhon. Gather your things. We will depart now."
Calavénë changed into her tunic and seized her sack. As she ventured out she saw Annoguil, Rumil, Orophin, Mebedir and almost all the other wardens, ready on horseback. Haldir approached her, "We need to ride swift. It would be easier if you ride with me."
That was not a request. Instead it was an order. Calavénë obliged since it seemed their presence were needed as soon as possible in Caras Galadhon. She has this sinking feeling that something terrible was about to ensue.
The battalion of wardens arrived in Caras Galadhon near noon. Haldir dismounted and helped Calavénë down from the horse. He hurried inside the palace where Lady Galadriel and Lord Celeborn waited.
Haldir and his officers, Rumil, Orophin and Mebedir knelt before the rulers of Lorien, "We came as soon as we received word."
Lord Celeborn approached them, "The armies of Rivendell are on the march. They will reach Lorien in two days time. It is my wish and Galadriel as well, we send out our best wardens to aid those in Rohan. Sauron's army would be impossible to defeat without the strength of the elves. It will be our last act on Middle Earth before we leave for Valinor."
Galadriel approached Haldir, "My Marchwarden. You will lead the army into battle. You have done us great service over the years and it would give me great comfort to know that someone as experienced as you would lead us into battle."
Galadriel turned her attention to Annoguil and Calavénë, "Annoguil, I leave you in charge of the injured during the battle. You will take Calavénë with you for she will be of great aid. I fear we need all the help we can muster."
Celeborn addressed the group of elves in the room, "The battle of Helm's Deep will be a massacre. There are children and women. Protect them as you would protect your kin. Be strong and may the Valar be with you. Return to your homes. Meet your families and say your farewells. As soon as the armies of Rivendell arrive, you will march to Helm's Deep."
So it had begun. Sauron's armies had reached their full strength. The people of Rohan will need all the aid they could find. Calavénë looked nervously at Haldir. He was to head the battalion. Calavénë closed her eyes and prayed to Eru to keep him safe from harm. May victory be ours…
Pen dithen – little one
Maer du – good night
I amar prestar aen... han mathon ne nen, han mathon ne chae, a han nostan ned gwilith.
- The world has changed... I feel it in the water, I feel it in the earth, I smell it in the air.