A/N: I hope everyone is still enjoying this story. Thank you for your reviews and I hope you stick around for the end. Read and Review. Thanks!
Those You Love
The Maddening of Haldir
Why is it that those I love end up getting hurt? First my parents and now my wife has been taken from me. What have I done to deserve this pain?
"Haldir, you haven't eaten a thing in three days...Please, you need your strength." Orophin said to his older brother pushing the bowl of soup towards him.
"I have no desire." Haldir replied pushing the soup bowl away from him. His gaze returned to staring at the wall.
Orophin sat looking at his brother. He was unsure of what to say. What could make Haldir feel better? Right about now Orophin couldn't think of anything. Three days ago his brother's wife was killed by orcs. Sadness came over him as he thought about Princess Lutheriel. Both Orophin and Rúmil both loved Lutheriel very much and were so happy that she made Haldir happy. "Hal-"
"I don't feel much like talking." Haldir said turning his face to look at Orophin, his voice was stern and cold. "In fact I would like to be left alone."
Orophin nodded slightly. "All right. I'll come back in a little while and check on you." He said as he stood up.
Haldir said nothing more to his younger sibling as he left Haldir's flet. After the door was shut and Orophin was out of sight, Haldir rubbed his temples and then placed his hand over his eyes as he rested his elbow on the table. He felt absolutely sick to his stomach and his head was throbbing with pain. He wanted to cry but he swore to himself that he'd never shed another tear after his parents were killed. A messenger from Lorien had been sent out to tell King Thranduil and Prince Legolas of the news. Haldir could just imagine what Legolas would say. All these thoughts and feelings were so much for him to bear and as much as he tried not to think of the day before yesterday, those dark memories kept flooding into his mind.
Haldir came down the flet to greet the sentry below. He wondered why he sounded so desperate. Haldir noticed that the sentry's voice was a bit unsteady. "Yes?"
"Sir...." The sentry started and then stopped. "Captain...We found your wife out away from the borders.... Sir, she was attacked....and killed." His face was pale and distraught as he stepped away to reveal the two elves holding Lutheriel's limp body.
Haldir stood there frozen and wide eyed as he looked at the elf maiden. At first he refused to believe that it was her. "...no..." His voice was barely audible.
"I'm so sorry, Captain Haldir..." The sentry apologized. "When my troop arrived outside of the borders, the orcs had already wounded her. After we killed them I ran over to her and told her we were going to take her back to the Lady....but she was so weak... She wanted for me to tell you that she loved you deeply...those were her last words, Sir."
The other two-elven soldiers laid Lutheriel's body down and stepped away from it. Haldir moved slowly to her and knelt down beside her. He looked into her clear blue eyes, which were now starting to cloud over. "Lutheriel..." He muttered taking her hand and squeezing it gently. He wanted for her eyes to blink and then wrap her arms around him but he knew that not going to happen. Haldir looked at the sentry that found her. "Do you know why she was out there!?" His voice boomed almost as if he was blaming them for her death.
"No, Sir....we did find a basket with some picked narcissus. I guess we can assume that she was out gathering flowers." The sentry guessed.
Haldir looked back at his wife, still holding her bloodied hand. "Of all the years you spent in Lorien, why was it today that you chose to go outside the borders, my love?" He thought as he looked down at her and then slowly with his other hand closed her eyelids.
"Captain, The Lady and Lord where just informed and they request that Lutheriel is taken to Galadriel's garden." Another elven sentry said as he placed his hand on the captain's shoulder.
"I'll carry her!" Haldir snapped just as two elves went to pick his wife's body up. Haldir wasn't about to let another soul touch her. Carefully, he bent down and lifted her slowly from the ground. It hurt him so much to look at her face, still as beautiful as ever just as if she were sleeping, but as his eyes traveled down the length of her dress her death was evident. Haldir only felt this type of pain once before and he survived it but now he wasn't sure if he could go through this again.....
The Elves followed behind Haldir solemnly; it was unusual and rare that a death was ever in Lorien. This was the first one in over four hundred years. All of them respected the Woodland princess and loved her dearly; it was strange that she was gone. Haldir walked slowly down to Galadriel's garden and placed her on a rose colored linen that was laid across a row of flat stones. The Lord and Lady were standing at the base of the stairs, their faces grave with sadness. Lady Galadriel stepped down and approached Lutheriel's body. She placed her hand across her own heart and then reached down to touch Lutheriel's. She closed her eyes and spoke a prayer for the fallen elf. When she had finished she looked at Haldir and walked over to him. "I know this pain is unbearable but you must be strong...we must all be strong in times such as these. Lutheriel has passed to the Halls of Mandos, where the Valar will take care of her."
Lord Celeborn motioned his hand for the other elves to leave and give Haldir sometime with her. Once the elves were gone Celeborn joined his wife's side. "I am sorry for your loss."
"I didn't do my job....I didn't protect her..." Haldir mumbled shaking his head, looking at the ground.
"There was no warning of this attack Haldir. Even my mirror did not show me these events. You did your job protecting Lorien before the orcs over ran it." The Lady said as she placed her hand on the march warden's shoulder. With that said, she looked over at her husband and nodded slightly. Celeborn acknowledged and both of them began to walk back up into the palace.
Haldir watched them go and once they were no longer to be seen he walked back over to his wife's body and knelt down beside her. He gently grasped her hand again and brought it up to his lips, kissing it. Her skin was still slightly warm but was growing paler and her lips were a purplish rose color now. "I love you. I wish I said that more to you, I wish I was more of a husband to you, I wish...I wish...I could have protected you...but I failed you...." He could barely choke out the words. He kissed her hand again and then brought it up to rest on his cheek. His heart ached more than ever and it was hard for him to breathe. "Lutheriel, you made me so happy. I don't know what I would have been like if...if it wasn't for your love..."
Haldir rubbed his temples again as he sat at the table in his flet. Why did it have to happen? Why was she taken from him? She was so innocent and sweet....why did she have to fall victim to such an evil act. She did not deserve it. "Perhaps if she would have stayed in the Woodland Realm she would have been safe....I wish I never met her...I wish I didn't fall in love with her....I wish I never married her....She would still be alive...."
The Woodland Realm.
Legolas threw his saddle on his horse and tightened it securely. He had just received the letter from Lorien that his beloved sister Lutheriel was killed by orcs and now he was riding back to the forest. His father was unable to join him on his journey to Lorien but would be coming as soon as he could get away from his kingdom.
"Son, please ride hard and quickly. Lord Celeborn stated in his letter that some of the orcs retreated away from Lorien and headed back into the hills. They could still be lurking about." King Thranduil explained.
"I will father. Those orcs better not hope they meet me..." Legolas gritted his teeth as he swung his leg up over his horse. His heart was both heavy with anguish and hate.
"I will ride to Lorien in four days time just as soon as my advisor returns to take my leave of absence....." Thranduil's words trailed off and he slumped down into a chair. He covered his eyes and sobbed.
Legolas looked at his father with worry. "Father...."
"I'll be fine, my son, I'll be fine..." It was so hard for Thranduil to except that his only daughter was gone. "You should get moving before dark."
Two escorts plus the Lorien messenger would be accompanying the Prince back to the Golden Wood. They took their place at either side of him and waited to begin their trek. Legolas nodded. "See you in a few days, father." He said lovingly to Thranduil, He then looked to his escorts and gave a nod. Once the elves were outside the stable, Legolas made a clicking noise with his tongue urging his horse to move quickly. The other riders followed at the same speed, and all the Woodland Elves that they passed wondered what Prince Legolas was leaving so quickly for. For the news had not yet been broken to them.
Orophin walked quietly through the gardens of Lorien. "It only seemed like yesterday that Haldir was getting married...." He thought, gazing up at the golden trees. "I had never seen him so nervous in all my life but he was also probably one of the happiest elves I had ever met. In all our years Rúmil and I both wished for Haldir to find someone to love, and then as if the Valar sent her, the beautiful Lutheriel Greenleaf shows up in Lorien and breaks his cold spell. And now she is gone, taken by the darkness....."
"Do not worry for your brother, Orophin, but now deal with his healing...." A soft voice called just beyond the rosebushes. Slowly Lady Galadriel came from behind them and made her way next to Haldir's youngest brother. "Haldir needs people around him to be strong and yet comfort him. This is part of the healing process. Grieving for long will only lead to death of an elf."
This Orophin knew, but having the Lady tell him made him believe it and that made him feel better. "It's still so sad though...not just for my brother, but for everyone. I know she is safe in Mandos but she is separated from those that love her...."
"For now, but not forever.." Galadriel smiled and touched Orophin's shoulder. "I know that your family has gone through so much..."
Orophin nodded. "Haldir had always been the one to take death the hardest...but after our parents were killed...He built this stonewall around him...not showing any type of emotion. When the Princess came, she was able to tear it down...I'm afraid...afraid that he is going to rebuild that wall, but this time he will build it so sound that no one will be able to get to him."
Queen Galadriel knew what Orophin meant. In all her years that she knew Haldir, she had seen him deal with pain in the only way he knew how -to isolate himself from everyone around. "I will not lie and say your brother is not difficult but the only way he will except her death is if we continue to treat him as we have always done. Haldir is not looking for pity but for kindness and friendship. He will be fine." She assured.
What she said did make some sense to Orophin and he nodded his head. "He asked to be left alone, so I will wait for a while before I go to him again."
Galadriel smiled and nodded ever so slightly. She began to open her mouth to speak but was interrupted by one of her guards.
"My Queen, sorry for the intrusion." The elven male said bowing his head to her. "Prince Legolas and his escorts have just entered Lorien."
Lorien looked the same as it always did but yet the feeling of it did not feel the same. To Legolas it almost felt cold and bitter. Perhaps he was just the one that felt cold and bitter. He got here faster than anyone anticipated instead of it being a three-day journey he made it here in less than two days. He did not stop for rest and rode his horse fast until he entered inside of the forest. He was here now, in Lorien, usually when he came here it was to visit his sister and brother-in-law but today he was here to mourn her. His heart was heavy with a sick sadness.
The Prince jumped off his horse and turned to his escorts. "Please rest for awhile, I know you all must be a bit exhausted." The escorts bowed their heads to Legolas and then headed off into another direction. Once they were out of view, sadness crept over Legolas like a shadow. He tried not to let it show too much to his escorts but now that he was alone, his true feeling showed.
Two Lorien sentries were standing at the entrance of Lady Galadriel's garden, they bowed to the Prince and then let him pass through the gates. Legolas entered the garden slowly; his heart was beating so fast it felt as if it was going to jump right out. He took a few more steps until he saw Lutheriel's body placed on a soft bed made up of silk and fresh flowers. Legolas froze dead in his tracks almost to scared to go over to her. He didn't want to see her and yet he wanted to. He swallowed the hard lump in his throat and took a few more steps until he came into view of her face. She looked as though she were sleeping. Legolas noticed that she had been fitted into a new beautiful dress and her wounds were cleaned. She looked perfectly fine, just his beautiful sleeping little sister. "Lu....." He whispered, kneeling down next to her and placing his hand on top of hers. This emotion rushing through him was overwhelming. He tried not to let it take him. "I'm so sorry Lutheriel....this should have never happened......." He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand. Tears welled up in his eyes and he quickly wiped them away.
For a moment he had decided that he would go and hunt down every orc to avenge her death but he knew that it would not be possible, it wasn't even realistic, there was no way it could be done. He touched his sister's hand again. "What can I do for you, Lu? What would make you happy?" He asked knowing that she would not give him a verbal answer but after thinking about it for a moment he knew what would give her the greatest joy.
"Haldir, don't you wish we could have a family?" Lutheriel asked her husband as she hugged him from behind.
"No." Haldir snorted at the notion of that idea. "And I am thankful Arwen Undómiel was the last born of our people. I don't think I could handle children and fatherhood."
"Not even a son whom you could teach archery to? Not even a daughter whom you could give a piggyback ride to?" Lutheriel kissed Haldir on his back through his clothing.
"Honestly, I don't like to dwell on things that can never happen. Why waste the time to think about things unrealistic when there are far more important things to think about, love?" He asked turning around to face her. He took her face in his hands and kissed her mouth tenderly.
"But Haldir...we have all the time in the world..."
Haldir sat at his table still, he hadn't moved all day. It was night now, and the only source of light was from the moon. He sat there in almost complete darkness with his head down on the table. All day he had been thinking about different conversations he had with Lutheriel over the span of their marriage. "Why was I so cruel to you? I did love you, Lutheriel....even though I didn't show it..." He whispered as if she was sitting across from him listening. He wished he could have a fresh start with her, he'd be so much different. He would never say sarcastic remarks to her or shut her out completely...he'd always be there for her. "Please give me another chance...please let her come back to me..." He practically begged the Valar. "This is stupid! Why am I begging like this?! She is not coming back! I failed her...I didn't protect her like I promised! I should have refused this necklace and let her keep it!"
Anger was building up in Haldir and before he knew it he sprang out of his chair picking up the bowl of soup that Orophin had given him and threw it against the wall. Haldir gritted his teeth feeling a little satisfaction from his destructive action. "What kind of march warden am I, if I can't even protect my own wife from death?! What next? Will I not be able to protect the Lord and Lady?" Haldir shook his head, enraged that he would soon not be able to protect anyone. He slammed his hand on the table so hard that everything on it shook. He kicked the chair, knocking it over on to the floor. Haldir moved away from the table and towards the shelves where he had a drawing of his parents, it was the only image he had of them, with out that he'd have no remembrance of what they looked like. "I'm sorry I failed you too..." He said out loud. "I'm a failure...." Haldir cried out, slamming his fist into the shelve, knocking off all the items on to the floor.
The picture of his parents fell to the floor and the glass shattered. Haldir stopped his wild demolition at the sound of breaking glass. He looked down, seeing the picture lying with shards of sharp broken glass. He took a few deep breaths and tried to calm himself as he picked up the picture. "I'm sorry..." He muttered softly, setting the picture gently back onto the wood shelf.
Haldir gazed at the wall for a few seconds in a daze. His whole world seemed to be crumbling down around him. Who would be the next to go? His brothers? Queen Galadriel? Lord Celeborn?..... His mouth was open slightly as he shook his head and wandered over to his bed. He was so tired; he hadn't slept since Lutheriel's death. He sat down in the darkness, fearing if he went to sleep his dreams would be filled with nightmares of things he had no control over......
The door to Haldir's flet opened and Legolas poked his head in. "Brother Haldir?" He called out.
It was dark inside Haldir's flet and for a moment he wondered if his brother was at home. "Maybe he's off on border patrol?" Legolas thought to himself. "No, he wouldn't be on patrol...he should be here..." Legolas walked a few more steps into the dark room and stumbled over a tipped over chair. When he caught his balance he stepped on some already broken glass. "What has happened in here?"
"Haldir?" He called out again.
"I'm over here." Haldir replied. "Sitting on the bed." He half expected for Legolas to show up soon. Was Thranduil with him too? What would they say about him?
Legolas used the moonlight to guide him over to the bedroom area and finally through the pale moonlight he saw his brother-in-law sitting on the bed. "What did you do Haldir?" Legolas asked about the room.
For a second Haldir said nothing. "....I..I lost it..." He confessed. "I lost my temper...I don't know what's been happening to me lately. After getting married-I don't know why I'm telling you any of this." He stopped suddenly and looked up at Legolas.
Legolas sat across from Haldir and placed his hand on his shoulder. "I know what you're going through... As you have lost your wife, I have lost my only sister. Haldir, this was not your fault. I know that you don't believe that, but it is true. This was unpreventable...." That was the truth. Legolas knew Haldir had no control over his sister's death but Haldir was blaming himself for it.
"Legolas, I loved your sister so much...I didn't really ever show it as much as I should have. I could have been a better husband to her...We had great years together but I still never really showed how much I loved her."
"She knew you loved her dearly. In her letters home, she wrote on how wonderful you where to her. She said that she could have not asked for a better husband. You brought joy to her life, Haldir." Legolas smiled, recalling the letters Lutheriel often sent home to Mirkwood. "Even though you may have not said the words or showed her you loved her...she knew."
"I don't know how I'm going to make it through the rest of my life without her?" He said shaking his head. "I don't want to turn into the ugly monster I was before."
"Haldir, we can be there for each other. We can help each other get through this pain. It's what Lutheriel would have wanted for us. Remember when I first found out that you were going to marry my sister? I was going to kill you." Legolas tried to make light of the subject. It was helping him forget about the pain of losing Lutheriel.
Yes, this is what Lutheriel would have wanted. She wouldn't have wanted her two most beloved people hate each other. She would want them to be friends. " I know we started off badly, Legolas, and I am sorry for that. I know as the years progressed that we became closer but I think from now on things will be different between us, Brother Legolas." Haldir said smiling very slightly.
Legolas nodded. "Lutheriel would be very delighted to hear that. We will keep her in our hearts and hold her dearly forever.
And from that day on, Haldir and Legolas had become more than just brothers-in law, they became great friends. Sometimes it takes a tragedy to bring two people together. Though things seemed to start looking better on the horizon, there was one who could foresee things to come.
"...The time is near.....The dark shadow will soon be released from Mordor...." Galadriel whispered as she gazed into her mirror.
....to be continued....