28. Moving On In Lothlorien
Chapter 28 – Moving on in Lorien
Time seemed to pass slowly in Caras Galadhon. Rhavaniel avoided Haldir at all costs as long as she was not called into action. She hated her irrational decision to lay with him out of anger for Legolas. It just made things worse.
She had seen members of the fellowship occasionally but she did not go to any of them. They were all very desolate over the loss of Gandalf and needed this time to recover. They were gaining their strength for the next part of their journey, which would start soon. Boats were being prepared for the travelers. Weapons, cloaks and food were gathered, ready to be stocked in the vessels. Rhavaniel could not help but want to seek out Legolas before he left again. They were going right into the hands of the enemy. How many would survive this task? Would Legolas survive? It was these thoughts that filled her head now. She could not stand to bear the thought of leaving things the way they were and something happening to him. She did not think she could live with that.
A few days later, the fellowship members met with the Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods. It was time to depart and they were saying their final farewells. Rhavaniel did not go. She stayed hidden in the trees and watched below where they stood by the water's edge. She fought with herself whether or not to go to Legolas. If she did, she was afraid he would tell her goodbye. Her heart was already breaking and to have him tell her he did not love her anymore would be devastating. Could she live with the unknown? Could she let him go first?
Suddenly, she felt a hand upon her shoulder. Rhavaniel turned to find Haldir behind her. "Your timing is terrible." she said. "You are the last…"
"I did not come to you for an argument." Haldir interrupted. He removed his hand from her. "Go to him Rhavaniel. Go before it is too late. It is not good to leave loose ends."
"But what if I don't want this? What if I tell him that I still love him and want a second chance? What if he turns me away? I don't think I can live with that." she said sadly.
"How can you live with not knowing the answer? You will always wonder what might have been. You will never be free."
"I am not free now." she whispered.
"Rhavaniel, I would not keep you in Lothlorien if you did not want to. I know we connected in a way, but it does not tie me to you for eternity. It is only a bond in battle, not in love. I have no claim over you but to fight by your side. I know you still love Legolas and I would not want to take that from you. What we have is nothing of the sort. Now please go. Go to him before it is too late. Free your mind and rid yourself of this worry." As Haldir finished speaking, he backed away from her and left the tree, giving her the room to make her own decision.
Rhavaniel climbed down and made her way through the shadows until she was closer to Legolas. He was helping the hobbits into their boats and checking to make sure the others had everything they needed for their journey. She could not help but notice the seriousness on his countenance. She could not read him. He was in such turmoil and she was part of the reason for it. Haldir was right. She needed to do this.
Legolas put the last of the lembas bread into Aragorn's boat when he sensed a presence behind him. He stood up straight and gazed over to the trees. He felt her standing there but could not find it within his heart to go to her. He had betrayed her just as she had betrayed him. Neither one made good decisions lately, but he just had to know if there was any hope left for them. Lately it seemed hope was nothing more than a myth. When one as strong and powerful as Gandalf could be defeated, how could one have any hope at all?
Then Legolas heard her call to him in his mind. There was no more avoiding it. He needed a clear mind for this journey and Rhavaniel was a distraction. It was time to talk and say one way or the other what was in their future. He made the first move and walked towards the shadows. Rhavaniel emerged just as he was half way there and they met in the middle standing face to face.
"Please Rhavaniel let me speak first." he said cutting her off. "What we have done is unspeakable. There is no excuse. We have both made mistakes or at least I have."
"I never wanted to hurt you Legolas. I only wanted to be free, but I don't know how we ended up here." she said, looking to the ground.
"I watched you fight with Haldir. You have it don't you. You have the battle-lust."
"I… I did not know."
Legolas turned from her and placed his hand on a near-by tree. "I knew but I denied it."
Rhavaniel looked at him, confusion on her face as her eyebrows creased. "You knew? But how…"
"I sensed it. I sensed it when you came back from the Lonely Mountain. The way you explained your experiences was too vivid. I thought about the stories I have heard of those with this ability. I chose to ignore it though. I needed you then and I was afraid to lose you."
"Lose me? Legolas I…"
"Rhavaniel please, I knew you had this anomaly but even more, I know that I do not. It was only a matter of time before you went in search of someone who could help you with this. Haldir is the one isn't he. You have seen his warrior soul. You have found your battle mate."
Rhavaniel put her hand on his forearm wanting him to face her. "It is no more than that. He does not have my heart. Legolas please, I just want things…"
Legolas finally turned to her. He cupped her face in his hands and gazed deep into her eyes. "We have turned a page in our lives but we are heading in different directions. I think I felt it a long time ago, but I tried to deny it and make you into something you are not. We must follow our hearts and go where we are needed. This time it is not together though. I have sworn an oath to my fellowship members. I must walk this path with them now. You have your own destiny to fulfill." Here he stopped and took her hands in his. "I am sorry if I held you back. I never wanted to make you feel trapped. You are an untamed spirit and you always will be. But just know that my heart will always call out to you. We have been through so much together and that cannot be changed. I will always hold a special place for you inside my soul. I will always love you Rhavaniel."
Rhavaniel could not control her emotions any longer. She stepped forward and embraced him, burying her head in his chest. Slowly, Legolas wrapped his arms around her. They took these last few moments to feel each other's souls and what was left of their love. She finally looked up at him with tear stained eyes. "I am sorry for hurting you Legolas. The hardest thing I ever did was leave you that night in Imladris, but I knew if I didn't do it then, I never would. I hoped that you might understand but now I see I have only hurt you. You are right though, our paths go in different directions. My heart will always yearn for you and maybe one day when these dark days are behind us we can..."
Legolas put a hand up to stop her. "I have never doubted your strength or your fighting abilities. I have always known that you were meant to do so much more. I just wish it..." He stopped from saying anything more. "Rhavaniel, I release you from my love." And with that, Legolas let go of his hold on her.
She stood there a moment, searching his face for any sign of compassion. She found none. It was as she feared. She broke his heart and it was over.
"Goodbye Rhavaniel." He said and turned quickly before their eyes could meet. Rhavaniel merely stood there and watched him join his companions as they were ready to set sail and continue on their journey.
* * *
As the elven boats made their way out into the middle of the river, Rhavaniel watched them and walked to the water's edge. Legolas sat tall and proud with Gimli sitting at the front of the boat. He was once again on his mission and it showed in his stern face. He had never looked so princely than at that moment. He never looked back to her but she knew he sensed her watching him sail away.
Rhavaniel did not leave her spot until the tiny boats could no longer be seen. Then a familiar scent wafted past her nose. Haldir was close. He came up behind her and rested his hand upon her shoulder. Not able to hold her emotions in any longer, Rhavaniel spun around and buried her face in Haldir's chest. She started to cry uncontrollably and hated herself for it. She was strong and tears were a waste of time. Haldir let her have this moment. He did not move. He did not judge. He was merely her rock at the time, someone for her to lean on and he relished the fact.
* * *
A few weeks passed by and the Galadhrim were called once more to the borders. Rhavaniel was ready. Every day she went to the practice fields. It was all she could do to get Legolas off her mind. The thought of fighting sparked a new interest in her. It would help to relieve some of the tension that had been building in her soul.
"Hello Rhavaniel." Haldir said coming up alongside her. They were half way to the border and so far, she had walked alone.
"Hello Marchwarden." she addressed him.
"Are you ready to once again protect Lothlorien? I need you to have a fresh mind and good concentration." he asked.
"My ghosts are dealt with if that is what you mean."
"Good." he responded and remained silent a moment longer. "Will you still fight by my side?" His voice was a little softer with this question.
Rhavaniel glanced sideways to him. "Only if you can keep up with me."
Haldir laughed to himself. "I see you have not lost your sense of humor."
"Nor my battle-lust, but I think I can control it better now." She did not want to give him any false hopes that she would need him in that way again. Haldir was a magnificent lover and when she was in the throes of lust for war and body, he satisfied her beyond compare. She needed to control that aspect from now on.
* * *
They had been at the borders for a week with no sign of friend or foe. All was quiet, too quiet for Haldir's taste. He sensed something had changed lately. There was a growing threat yet it was not moving towards Lothlorien.
He was in counsel with Orophin and some others when Rumil came with urgent news.
"A messenger just arrived from the city. We are being called back. There have been some new developments and the Lady needs every warrior. She also says we will be greeting some visitors. They should arrive very soon and we are not to leave our post until they are here. Then we are to escort them back to Caras Galadhon."
Haldir's brow creased. "How many should we expect?"
"The size of a small army." Rumil said excited.
"What? A small… Where do they come from and who are they?"
"It seems the Lord and Lady has been corresponding with the Woodland King of Mirkwood. He sends as many soldiers as he can spare but for what I do not know. It will all be explained once we get to the city." Rumil finished speaking and left Haldir's talan to warn the others of the arriving guests.
As Haldir tried to figure out what was happening, Rhavaniel came into the talan. "Is it true Haldir? Does Thranduil send troops to Lorien?"
"My… word spreads quickly." he said under his breath. "You have heard correctly, though I know not why they have been deployed here."
"Something changes. Something grows. I can feel it." she said.
"Yes so have I. It will all be explained once we return to the city. Come, let us greet our guests. I know you are anxious to see your fellow guardsmen."
They joined the others at the very edge of the trees and watched for any sign of the Mirkwood elves. Finally, there came a small army of tall elves dressed in the traditional greens and browns indicative to the Wood elves. They wore no armor and were all armed with bows and long knives. It was truly an amazing sight and one that most of the Lorien elves had never seen before. Long had it been since the two elven armies joined forces.
Their captain and leader stepped forward as did Haldir. They met in the middle of the glade, alone. Each officer bowed with hand over heart. Rhavaniel watched the exchange from the trees with Orophin and Rumil. Haldir and the Mirkwood captain spoke for a while.
"Do you know who this is?" Rumil asked Rhavaniel about the Mirkwood leader.
"I do not. I have been gone for so long and have heard no word from my home. I do not know who leads this army." she answered, never taking her eyes from them.
Haldir bowed his head and turned back to the tree line. The Mirkwood captain turned to his forces and signaled for them to advance towards the trees. Rhavaniel's heart pounded loudly as she wondered who might be amongst those below.
She climbed down from her tree and jumped the last few feet to the ground. Then she waited patiently for the Mirkwood army to break through the trees. She kept her hood over her head and watched silently. It crossed her mind that not all would be glad to see her. She did, after all, defect from her home, abandoning them to join forces with another realm.
She watched the familiar faces as they passed by. Most she recognized and some were new to her, but there was one she knew instantly. Rhavaniel threw the hood from her head and ran to this elf, throwing her arms around him.
"Antien!" she yelled as she embraced him, almost knocking him to the ground.
"My dear sweet Rhav." he answered and the two friends laughed. "You are a sight for these sore eyes. I hoped this was where you were. I have missed you my friend."
"Oh Antien, I'm sorry. I'm so sorry to leave like I did." she said as she looked into his eyes.
"It is alright. I knew you would find your own way." His words came out as a whisper of compassion and the two held each other tight.
"And where is Glandur? I have missed him also. Is he here with you?" she asked looking around at all the Mirkwood soldiers.
"You may have already seen him. He met with the Marchwarden. He is our captain on this mission." Antien answered proudly.
"Yes, and I may have been your captain also had you not left us." said a deep smooth voice from behind.
Rhavaniel turned to see Glandur standing behind them. Instantly, she embraced him. "I am so glad to see you." She released him and took a step back. "Wow, a captain, you really have moved up amongst the ranks. I knew this would be your destiny. You are amongst Mirkwood's best."
"Speaking of which, have you received word from the Prince or any of his companions?" Antien interrupted. "Word was sent to us about his mission in Imladris, but we have heard nothing since then."
Rhavaniel looked down and away from her friends. Antien noticed her demeanor but it was Glandur who spoke. "What have you heard my dear?"
"They came through Lorien but left and are headed for Mordor. It is the last I have heard." she answered.
Antien felt her sadness. "What happened Rhav?"
She swallowed the lump in her throat and forced a smile. "He follows his chosen path now." was her simple answer.
Antien took both of her hands in his and Glandur laid a hand on her shoulder. Then Antien took her into his arms, embracing her and feeling her desolation over the loss of her love. It felt good being surrounded by her friends. For so long she had been on her own and this was a nice reprieve. Then she got her emotions together, smiled softly and looked to her two Mirkwood friends. "Come now. There is much to show you and even more to tell you about. Wait until you see Caras Galadhon. It is truly magical."
Antien and Glandur looked at each other acknowledging how quickly she changed the subject. Neither one said a word but went along with Rhavaniel. The journey to the city would give them all a chance to catch up with each other.
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.