Chapter 24 – Regrets
Rhavaniel slept restlessly. She had visions of Legolas. He was in a dark place and his heart was troubled. He had lost something very dear to him. The vision was vague and she could not make anything else out of it. Something about him had changed. He would never be the same again. Well, wasn't that true about herself?
She slowly woke to the feel of someone twirling a strand of her hair. Legolas used to do this as they lay in each other's arm. They were happy then, free to love each other. No worry of war. She reveled in the feel another moment and then realized that Legolas was not here. Thoughts of the previous day flooded her memory. What had happened to her? She was in a crazed state of lust for blood and sex. How could the two every be mingled together? She inhaled his musky scent. Haldir. Suddenly she felt sick. Not only had she let him take her, but she had claimed her own dominance over him. She was disgusted by her irrational decision. And now he stroked her hair in a loving manner. Rhavaniel sat up and slapped his hand away. "Don't touch me." she said sleepily. Her voice was cold and unfeeling.
Haldir sat up next to her and lightly brushed his fingers along her shoulder. She jerked away from him, not wanting him to touch her. He laughed smugly. "Good morning to you too."
His voice rang through her head and she remembered how he had screamed her name in pleasure. Only one had every shouted her name in passion. Oh what had she done?
She got up quickly and looked around the forest, collecting her clothes. The smell of orc blood disgusted her. It no longer fueled her as it did yesterday.
"The next time you fight, the feeling will not be as strong. You will know what to expect now and you will be able to harness its power." Haldir said as he collected his own clothes and dressed. He went to her but she turned from him. "Rhavaniel I…"
"Do not speak. Your voice repulses me." she spat. She was not in the mood for his charms. Now that the blood lust was gone, she no longer needed him. She needed to get away from him.
Her words hurt him. Though he knew she could not love him, he at least hoped they had found some kind of comfort in each other. He buried these feelings and became stone faced once more. "We must get back to the others. They will have had the forest cleansed by now and begin to wonder where we are." He picked up his weapons and started to walk off in the direction of the camp. Rhavaniel followed but at a distance.
* * *
"There seem to be no other threats." Orophin reported to Haldir.
"Good. We will remain at camp until we receive word from the Lady to return to the city. I suggest everyone stay on alert. We will move to the talans. There is no telling how long we will be here." He glanced back to Rhavaniel. She would not meet his eyes so he let her be.
Rumil had seen the exchange. He waited until later when everyone was settled in their talans then he went in search of her. He found her not far from a stream, standing alone and gazing into the distance. "Would you like some company?" he called before invading her privacy.
She looked over her shoulder. "Are you alone?"
"Yes. Orophin and Haldir are speaking with some of the Galadhrim." He approached her and came to stand at her side. "Are you alright? You seem very distant today."
"I don't want to talk about it."
Rumil shifted, feeling uneasy around her. Obviously, something had happened last night. "I must admit, I have never seen anyone fight with such passion as you."
Rhavaniel said nothing but sat on a rock by the stream. Rumil remained standing. No words were spoken for a long while. He could tell her mind was in turmoil, but he would not impose. When she said nothing else, he turned to leave. He only took two steps when she finally spoke.
"I betrayed him." she whispered.
Rumil stopped and turned back but said nothing. He walked over to the rock she sat on and joined her.
"I threw away everything I cared about when I left my home. I did not know I would throw away our love too." Her voice wavered.
"Love is never easily tossed away."
Rhavaniel looked down at her hands. "Rumil… I…" she paused. "I gave myself… to Haldir. Last night, after the battle. I don't know what came over me but I seemed to forget everything in my past and just live for the moment. I did not know the effect that battle would have on me. It pained me. I had never experienced anything like it. Haldir called it a battle-lust."
Rumil nodded. "Yes. I have heard of this, but I did not think there were any left in Middle Earth who was susceptible to it anymore. It is very rare, so rare that it is deemed as a fable. Did you know?"
"No. All I knew was that I craved the fight. I did not know what would happen to me when I was allowed to completely commit myself."
"I see." Rumil said. "So Haldir did not know this either?"
Rhavaniel looked at him. "He did not say anything about it. I don't think either of us knew."
"Maybe you should speak to him about this new connection between you." Rumil said quietly.
"I don't want anything to do with him. He is part of the reason why I feel as I do. I hate what did Rumil. I feel unclean and ashamed."
"Do what you must Rhavaniel. Just know that one day you will have to face the Prince. You will have to make a decision about your future. It is a very unusual position that you have put yourself in and I have no advice for you except to say, follow your heart." Rumil laid a hand on her shoulder and squeezed. "You can always talk to me."
"Thank you Rumil. You are very understanding." she said with a forced smile.
* * *
Rhavaniel managed to avoid Haldir for a few days. He gave her the space she needed right now. At least he respected her in this way. However, she felt an urge deep within her to talk to him. She was still rather confused by what happened. Haldir seemed to know something about it and he could help her, but she just could not bring herself to face him. She hated what happened between them, hated herself for letting it happen. The heat of the moment took over her mind and her soul. The choice to react in this manner would haunt her.
She had just got done bathing in the stream and was on her way back to her talan at the camp when she felt a presence as she walked past a tree. It was the moment she was dreading.
"Rhavaniel please, may I speak with you?" Haldir said as he walked out from behind the tree.
"I have nothing to say to you." she said in a cold voice.
"Then at least let me do the talking. I feel we need to discuss what happened. We cannot ignore it. We must deal with it." he pleaded.
Rhavaniel stopped walking and waited for him to say something. She was not ready to hear her own voice mingled with his.
Haldir calmly walked up to her until he was close enough that he could feel her warmth. "I wish you would not avoid me." His voice was sincere. "I hope you know that this was not a trick on my part. Neither one of us could have known we possessed this anomaly."
"Then it is true. You know of this… battle-lust?"
Haldir nodded. "I have been a warrior for a very long time. Stories of it have been passed down through the generations, but none has possessed it for many millennia. It is said to be only a myth, folklore. None know they have it unless their other half is near. Truly, I did not know. By the time I felt you, it was too late. Even had I known, I could not have avoided it." He laid his hand carefully on her shoulder. "And I would not have wanted to. What's done is done and it could not be avoided." He tried to comfort her, knowing she was still angry with him and neither one understood what happened. "We are battle soul mates. We have found each other and are bound. We cannot be separated, at least as warriors."
"We were caught up in a moment being so close to death. We did not think before we acted. It was nothing more than a thoughtless act." Her voice was cold and unemotional. "The battle-lust may be one thing, but what we did last night was a mistake."
"It was far from thoughtless and it was no mistake. It was necessary. You were in a state of passion mixed with rage. We both were. We connected on a different level. If we did not relieve our bodies, we might have become very ill. Do not ask me how I know this. Instinct took over and we did what we had to. But from what I have heard, one can learn to control the battle-lust. We will not need each other in the ways of the flesh every time. Still, we will yearn to kill together. That will never end but by one of our deaths."
"I don't understand this. You said we were bound as warriors. What does that mean?"
Haldir now circled around so he was facing her. "Our warrior hearts are one in the same. Just as two elves are bound in love, we are bound in war. We are a match. We will always feel each other when we fight, no matter whether we fight together or miles apart. When one of us is in battle, the other will know and yearn to be there."
Rhavaniel shook her head in denial but Haldir went on. "I know you have not fought often, but when you have, what have you felt? I gather you wished to not be alone, not for protection but for energy. I know this because I have felt it too. For me it was not enough just to kill. I needed to know there was someone beside me, fighting just as brilliantly. I craved this for so long. I will admit I sensed something when I met you, but I thought it was just your life force, your Mirkwood heritage speaking to me. It was not until I went to you on the forest floor that I felt our connection. I know you felt it too. Tell me Rhavaniel."
"I understand everything you say. I felt this the first time I battled. As I said, I was on my own. Legolas was not with me then. I did not think much about it until he asked me about my journey. I craved it then. I wanted to keep killing. It did not mean much to me at the time. I thought it was just the excitement of war and being on my own. Legolas did not share the same excitement. He seemed a little put off by my explanations. Then there was an incident when we finally fought together. It was unexpected. We did not know the enemy was there. I finally got my chance to battle alongside Legolas. He was amazing to watch but there was no lust for what he did. I felt empathy exude from him. It angered me to know he felt like this. These creatures killed our mothers. How could he find it within his heart to feel sorrow over their deaths even by his own hands? A part of me resented him but I buried these feelings. I thought it was just anger on my part. It distracted me and I was injured. That was only the beginning of my decline with my father, my home and Legolas. My injury caused everyone to think I was not able to be a warrior, but it was them. They clouded my senses and I was caught off guard.
However, when I came to Lothlorien, I knew I would be set free of my inhibitions. I felt your energy right away, but like you, I thought it was your Silvan heritage. You have seen much in the way of war. I wanted to learn from you. I wanted to be like you. You gave me freedom I have never felt before. And yes Haldir I sensed our connection in the forest. I fought it with everything I had but it did no good. You instilled something in me. I could not deny it and so I let it take me over. I understand this bond of war but I despise it also. Again, I am trapped and needing to be with someone. I am not truly on my own yet and you make me feel I never will be. I know I will want you every time I fight and it disgusts me. I do not love you yet I want you. The one I do love may no longer love me. So you see Marchwarden, I am ensnared in this game. I am deceived by my enemy's blood and the need to spill it. I am seduced by your fighting talents and the need to have you beside me during battle and inside me afterwards. I am still not free." As she finished, a single tear ran down her cheek. Haldir reached out to wipe it away but she put her hand up. "I meant what I said. Please do not touch me. I am confused right now. I need to be left alone."
Haldir lowered his hand back to his side. The last thing he wanted was for her to feel this way. He had searched for this his whole life and now he felt as though he could not hang on to it. Maybe he was just as confused. "I will not bother you. I will not seek you out unless you are needed at the border." He turned from her but stopped and tilted his head back towards her slightly. "I am sorry Rhavaniel. I never meant for you to feel this way." This was the last they spoke to each other for a while.
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.