29. Return to Lorien
Haldir sat beside the bed that held the lifeless body of his one true love, Calavénë. It had been almost half a day since her passing. Rumil arrived earlier bearing the Crescent Bloom which he found in his expedition but soon knew it was too late. He stood by the doorway watching Haldir shed silent tears, mourning the loss of Calavénë. Must the Valar be so cruel? Nay, there had to be a reason for the mystic beings work in mysterious ways. He entered the room and stood behind his gwanur.
Haldir did not notice Rumil's presence until he placed a hand on his shoulder. Haldir turned to see a dishevelled ellon with bloodshot eyes, "Rumil! I was not informed of your arrival..."
Haldir was surprised when all of a sudden his younger gwanur fell to his knees, "Haldir... Forgive me... I have failed you and Calavénë..."
Haldir shook his head, "Nay... If fault is what we are seeking now, then it would be mine. I caused this... I failed her... and our ion..."
Rumil stood up and walked towards the bed. Calavénë looked peaceful. Her golden hair tied in Lorien's braids and a pair of braids signifying her new stature as a naneth. He stroked her hair and tears fell from his eyes. Haldir had been through so much, could he possibly survive this? Rumil suddenly remembered Calavénë's grieving parents. What would happen to them if they knew? He turned and faced his gwanur, "Haldir, have Calavénë's parents been contacted? Do they know of her passing?"
Haldir nodded, "I suppose so. Lady Galadriel contacted Lord Celeborn and requested that he broke the news of her passing and also of Mallen Maethor's birth."
A crease formed in between Rumil's eyes, "Mallen Maethor? Is that my nephew's name?"
Haldir nodded, "Yes. The name Calavénë and I picked out. You should go and see him. He has a round face like mine and hair as golden as the sun like his..."
Haldir could not continue and choked on the last words. Tears fell from his eyes. There was no stopping them now. He ached inside. No matter how many times he will tell his ion how much he looked like his naneth, Mallen Maethor would not come to know her himself. He would never know how loving and kind his nana was. How beautifully she sang and he would not be able to enjoy the taste of her wonderful cooking. Haldir closed his eyes and sighed deeply.
Rumil watched as Haldir held her hand one last time. He stood up and pulled the veil over her cold body. He turned to face Rumil, "Come... We must discuss with the Lady of Light and Legolas on the matter of her burial ground. I wish to take her home, to Lorien..."
Rumil nodded and followed his gwanur's lead. They walked towards the throne room where Legolas, Lady Galadriel and King Thranduil sat, discussing matters of the state. Haldir knocked on the door and waited to be called inside. Moments later, he could hear Thranduil's voice, "Enter, Marchwarden."
Haldir entered the throne room with Rumil in tow. The both of them bowed before the King, the Lady of Light and the Prince of Mirkwood. Thranduil addressed the Marchwarden, "I feel for your loss Haldir. Please accept my humblest condolence and my heartiest congratulations on the birth of your ion. I know it must be bittersweet for you."
Haldir bowed before the king, "Thank you my lord."
Thranduil continued, "To what do we owe this audience?"
Haldir walked closer to the court, "I wish to discuss with the three of you on Calavénë's burial ground. I wish to bring her back to Lorien with me."
Galadriel nodded and spoke, "I think this is best. That way her parents could visit her resting place on last time. When do you wish to depart henn?'
Haldir looked at the Lady of Light, "Tomorrow, at first light..."
Legolas stood up, "Then I will see it done." He turned and faced his ada, "Ada, allow me to escort Haldir back to Lorien and permit me to stay there until her funeral."
Thranduil nodded, "Very well ion nin. Haldir, you are permitted to use any horse and wagons you see fit to transport her body. I will send a few of my guards with you for your journey."
Galadriel looked at the Marchwarden, "I will follow... It has been a long time since I left the Golden Woods. Your ion will need the care of an elleth and perhaps I could be of assistance."
Haldir smiled and bowed before them, "Thank you all. I take my leave. There is much I need to prepare."
Laugoneth fell to the ground. No parent should experience the pain of losing a child. Especially one that you have loved and hoped for as long as you can remember. Thand went to her side and held his hervess. Lord Celeborn knelt down beside them and offered comforting words, "Nothing I can say could ease your pain. But do not despair. She did not fade away without leaving behind a token of herself..."
Thand looked at the mighty lord, "What do you mean my lord?"
Celeborn placed a hand on Thand's shoulder, "She was with child, Thand. You have a grandson..."
Laugoneth looked at Celeborn with sadness in her eyes, "She has an ion? Where is he now?"
Celeborn stroked Laugoneth's grief stricken face, "He is with his ada, Haldir. They will return to Lorien on the morrow to lay her to rest. Stay strong for your grandson. Haldir and he will need your support."
Thand stood up, anger festering in him, "Give me one reason not to kill him when I see him tomorrow!"
Celeborn held Thand's shoulder, trying to calm him down, "Because... your grandson will need his ada... A child should never grow up without a parent and you would take both from him? I know you are hurting, both of you. But Haldir is hurting much more. He knows the wrath he will face from the both of you. Find it in your heart to forgive him. He did love and still do, love your iell. Perhaps the Valar sought to test you and Laugoneth as well as Haldir."
Thand sighed. In a way Celeborn was right. It was unfair to judge Haldir so. Who knows what he was going through right now and what was in store for him in the future. To raise a child alone without any elder to help would be a daunting task.
Laugoneth stood up, holding Thand's hand, "No, hervenn. Our judgement and decision drove Calavénë away. She was afraid of us and what we thought of her. We will not repeat the same mistake with Haldir and his ion. We have lost our iell; let us not lose our ion..."
Haldir looked upon the beautiful face of a once lively elleth. The guards were ready. The trunks and chests were loaded and Haldir sat in the wagon with Calavénë's body and his ion in hand. Haldir looked at the bundle wrapped in white silk. His ion was awake but was getting drowsy and sleepy. He smiled and stroked the plump cheeks. The little elfling cooed and wriggled happily in his arm. How he wished to be young again. His ion would never know the pain he was going through. He glanced over to the still body. He swore his ion would never feel all the pain he had gone through...
Moments later Legolas poked his head near the opening to the tent erected on the wagon, "All ready Haldir? Would you like me to bring the nursing maid for Mae?"
Haldir shook his head, "Nay... The only milk he will be having is that of a cow. I do not wish for him to forget the taste of his naneth's milk."
Legolas nodded though he did not agree. A child needs the milk of a nursing elleth. It was the best nutrition nature could offer but Legolas understood why Haldir felt that way. He walked around the group to ensure everything was in order. Lady Galadriel descended from the stairs after saying her farewell to his father. He helped her climbed up the wagon and there she sat with Haldir and Calavénë.
Rumil and Orophin would follow from behind as Legolas led the group on. With one last glance towards the gardens, Haldir knew Mirkwood was where he would never set foot again.
The group moved on. They passed the gates and ventured into the forest. It would take them, five days to reach Caras Galadhon. Haldir was grateful to Lady Galadriel for she helped with the funeral preparations. Calavénë was to be buried in the Garden of Memory. Haldir saw it fit, that be her final resting place as she would always remain in his memories. There were not to be any magnificent tomb or statues for her funeral. She would be buried beneath the earth under the trees with the beautiful Nephredil planted on her grave.
Haldir held his ion tightly in his arms. So far, little Mallen Maethor had been nothing but a delight. He seemed to posses the calmness and patience of his naneth. If he was to grow up and be the exact copy of his nana, Haldir would approve. He watched as the little one yawned and fell asleep. He had so much hope in him for Mallen Maethor once he knew of his impending arrival. Now, all seemed meaningless. What was the guarantee that his ion would not be like him when he grew up? He did not want the life he had to be the life his ion would soon come to know. Calavénë was there to balance everything in his life but without her? He was too afraid; afraid that he might corrupt the only memory of Calavénë...
Galadriel watched the ellon in front of her who seemed lost in his thoughts. She could sense his worry and regret. Haldir still has much to learn about love and hope. Galadriel spoke to him, "Tell me Haldir... What do you see in your ion?"
Haldir lifted his gaze to meet hers, "I see myself in him... What he would become..."
Galadriel shook her head, "Yes... I too see you in him. A caring, loving and compassionate ellon who is also brave and strong..."
Haldir frowned, "That is not me you see..."
Galadriel smiled, "Of course it is. I saw the arrogant and aloof Marchwarden turn into this wonderful, warm and courageous ada, who will protect and care for his child no matter what. You are a changed ellon Haldir from what I see. That is saying something as my eyes, do not lie..."
Haldir felt his face warmed up hearing the compliment. Was he really a changed ellon? He looked at the little creature in his arms. Yes, he was... In a way. He would love unconditionally now and never hold himself back for no one was certain of tomorrow. It was a lesson he had to learn the hard way as he watched the lifeless body of his would have been hervess...
Thand waited patiently by the gates. Earlier today Mebedir informed him that the wardens spotted the assemblage moving towards Caras Galadhon. Laugoneth soon joined him. The preparations for the burial were all in order. They stared at the path, hoping to see a glimpse of the wagon carrying their iell. At long last they could see Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood heading the cavalcade. There were already a few elves gathered by the gates and a sense of grief enveloped them. The tale of Calavénë's love became the talk of Caras Galadhon. Some cussed and some were awed by the conviction she had towards the one she loved.
Legolas halted the cavalcade. He dismounted and greeted Thand, "Sir, I am Legolas of Mirkwood. I am sorry for your loss. Calavénë was dear to me... to us..."
Laugoneth stepped forward, "Where is she? Where is iell nin?"
Legolas pointed to the wagon at the end of the assemblage, "She is in that wagon together with Haldir and Lady Galadriel."
Laugoneth and Thand waited as the said wagon pulled up closer to the gate. Lady Galadriel descended first and met with Calavénë's parents, "Thand, Laugoneth... My sincerest apologies. I could not truly care for her when she was in my charge. Now, she is lost to all of us..."
Thand shook his head, "No, my lady. You were the best thing that had happened to her..."
Galadriel smiled and looked at the wagon, "Nay, Thand. I am not the best thing that happened to her..."
Thand followed her gaze and saw Haldir climbing down from the wagon. He froze when he saw the both of them but then he walked towards them with heavy steps. He came upon Thand and Laugoneth and immediately fell on his knees, "I am at fault... I failed her and you... I will suffer your wrath with open arms..."
Thand shook his head and held Haldir, "Have we not had enough death because of this? Nay Haldir... I do not seek to punish you. What happened is behind us now... All that matters now is your ion, Calavénë's last memory..."
Thand looked at the bundle of joy in Haldir's arms. Tears fell from his eyes as he took a look at his grandson, "He looks much like Calavénë..."
Laugoneth stepped closer and took the little elfling in her arms, "Yes... Haldir, the sun is almost setting. It would be best if we hurry with the funeral..."
Haldir nodded and looked at Rumil, Orophin and Legolas. The three nodded and slowly lifted the glass coffin holding her body. They marched forward towards the Garden of Memory where she would be put to rest. Haldir followed them with tears in his eyes. The spot Thand and Laugoneth chose was beautiful. It was directly under a magnificent Mallorn tree facing the Anduin. The three of them gently placed the coffin to the ground and lifted the glass cover.
Thand came forward and looked upon his iell. She looked peaceful and her face was no longer sad. He placed a kiss upon her cheek, "Rest well in Valinor, pen vuin... Le melon..."
Laugoneth stepped forward and knelt beside the coffin, "I will take care of you ion my dear. He will grow up to be just like you." She bent down and kissed her temple.
Just as Laugoneth was about to stand, the little elfling began to cry. His wails were heartbreaking as if he knew they were separating him from his naneth forever. Laugoneth tried to calm him down but to no avail. She turned around and saw that his little hand held his naneth's gown tightly. Galadriel could not bear the sight, nor did Mirnimmeril who was present. All those present shed tears at the sight of the relentless elfling clinging to his naneth.
Haldir stepped forward and took his ion in his arms. He hugged the child and whispered soothing words just like he would to his naneth, "Shh... dithen cugu... Let go of your nana... She is not truly gone. She will be with us... In our hearts..." He kissed the child and gently tugged the gown from his hand. His ion continued to wail and wriggled in his arms. He held him tight and looked upon the Calavénë one last time.
The elves began to sing a lament for her. Haldir closed his eyes. They praised her. They spoke of her beauty and of her kindness. They spoke of her voice and her eyes. They sang about her heart and her undying love. He turned to Orophin and Rumil, "It is time..."
Rumil and Orophin stepped forward and gently lifted Calavénë's body. They laid her into the freshly dug earth. Haldir backed away a few feet from the grave. He could not bear to see her covered in dirt. His ion did not cease crying and this caused great concern to him. He held him close to his heart, "No, ion nin. Do not despair. I am here... I will care for you. I will not let you feel alone and without a naneth's love..."
He watched as Rumil planted the Nephredil atop her grave. So it was done. Her body had finally returned to Arda. He stood by the grave and thanked all who came. Soon, everyone left save for Legolas, "Come, Haldir. Let us return to your talan. It needs adjusting to accommodate your ion."
Haldir nodded, "Yes, I know. I just need a moment... Can you please take Mallen Maethor with you? I will be up in a moment..."
Legoals nodded and took the child into his arms. As he walked away, he turned to look at Haldir. He was still standing motionless by the grave. Legolas sighed; such a heartbreaking ending to what would have been a great love story. He walked on with the little elfling in his arms.
Haldir waited until he can no longer feel Legolas' presence. He fell to the ground with his face in his hands. This was the finality. He could no longer see her beautiful face. He could no longer caress her long golden hair. There were no more gentle kisses and soft touch. He looked upon her grave. In hushed tones he spoke into the night, "I did not bind to you when I had my chance. But now, I vow to never marry another. Your love I would cherish. I would raise our ion to be someone you would be proud of. May one day we will be united once again in Valinor..."
He sat there by her grave and all the memories he had of her flashed through his mind. Her laugh and her smile will forever be etched in his mind and carved into his soul. He stood up and with hasty hands he reached for his silvery locks. He braided his hair. Tomorrow all will see him as a married ellon, vowed and bound to one elleth... Calavénë.
Le melon – I love you
Dithen cugu – little dove
Hervess – wife
Hervenn – husband
Ada – father
Naneth/nana – mother
Ion – son
Iell – daughter
Ion nin – my son
Gwanur - brother
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.