Farewell, My Son

The time draws near that I must depart. I am ready. My sword is honed. My quiver is full. My bowstring is tight. My armor is polished. My brothers come with me, but I have bid my good-byes to my wife, even to my lord and lady. I am ready.

I am not ready. I have one task that I have yet to perform, and it is the one that weighs most heavily upon my heart. I have put it off as long as I can, but I can push it back no further, as my time in the Golden Wood grows ever shorter.

I must say goodbye to you.

I lift you carefully in my arms for fear that my armor will hurt you. There is not time to remove it so that I might hold you properly; yes, I have delayed that long. You are asleep now, and I pray that you will stay so until I depart. Your fine, silver hair is soft against my fingers as your little head rests in my hand. Every day when I look down upon your sweet face I see myself, and if you were to open your beautiful, blue eyes, I believe I might throw down my sword right here and linger behind in Lothlorien forever. It is hard enough for me to leave you; how much easier it will be if you sleep!

I must be honest with you; I do not know that I will ever see you again. On this very day that I depart for the land of Men, you and your mother will also leave the Golden Wood, to the white ships that will bear you to Valinor. If all goes well at Helm's Deep, I shall join you there shortly, but I cannot promise that I shall ever return.

I fancy that you will miss me while I am gone. Truthfully, you are so young yet that I do not know if you are capable of such emotion. It hurts my heart to think of leaving you, but it must be done. It would be enough were it only a command from my lord and lady, but it is more than that. I am not the only march-warden in our shining land who is capable of leading our soldiers, but Lord Elrond has selected myself, and I owe to him a life. He is father to three children himself, and he knows what he asks of me, and that he still asks it tells me the gravity of this thing that shall soon happen.

A life for a life. I believe it is a fair trade, as the life that I owe to him is your very own.

Now you stir restlessly in my arms. Nay, my love, do not wake. It is yet early in the morning, and the sun has not risen. The air is damp, and cool, and it smells of life, though that is ever-fading. The silver moon nears the horizon, and when it is gone, so shall I be. Your tiny hand curls around a lock of my hair that falls over my shoulder. You do not wish me to leave, do you? Alas, but I must. It was not but several months ago, just before the Ring became known to the world once more, that you fell ill. The healers of Lothlorien could not aid, you, and so we traveled to Imladris, you and I. Of course you do not remember it, but it was the skill and herbs of Lord Elrond that saved your precious life. I cannot deny him the request he has made. That is why, though I might protest this duty that has been given me, I take it willingly, and with pride, though not with joy. No Elf can kill with joy in his heart, be he slaying the creatures of Morgoth or his own kin.

Ah! The horns call, and I hold you tighter. The moon has nearly disappeared behind the trees, and I must away. My precious son, I know no word to speak the pain in my heart. We have never been so far apart as our journeys will soon take us. Do not forget the golden trees of the land of your birth, nor the blue of the sky, or the green of the grass, or the silver twilight. Should I fail to return from the shadow, do not forget your father, who loves you above all things.

Yes, close your eyes, dear one, and sleep, and dream of all that is green and good. When you wake I shall be far from you. The horns sound again. I must away. Tears come unbidden to my eyes as I lean down to kiss your small forehead.

Farewell, my son.

A/N: This was inspired by a piece of fanart by Hogosha Tenshi, (Visit her website and see it! The picture is under Haldir's profile, titled "Farewell, my son." You have to see it. It's beautiful. I'm obsessed with it now. It's the wallpaper on my desktop.) which was, in turn, inspired by one of my own fanfictions, "The Moon of Silver Twilight Sets". (We've got a neat little circle going there, huh?) Again, as in "Silver Twilight," does Haldir have children? I don't know! Tolkien never says anything about it! But he could, and we've become very attached to the idea.