Haldir o Lórien
Disclaimer: Haldir, Rúmil, Orophin, and all related characters belong to JRR Tolkien. No intentional copyright infringement is intended through their use.
Haldir o Lórien
Lothlórien, the Golden Wood, was not a happier place when the Fellowship departed, nor was it sad. The arrival of the Fellowship did naught but disturb the usual activities of the Elves a little, but who had minded it not.
Haldir, the head of the March Wardens of the fair Golden Wood, was not one of them. He welcomed the Ringbearer only as instructed by Galadriel, though he felt pity for the burden of the Halfling; but he did not like the feel of the accursed Ring going to Caras Galadhon, nor even coming near the borders of Lothlórien at all.
It felt as if Doom was already marching to meet them, if not for the news sent by a messenger from Imladris that the Ring was being brought to Orodruin to be destroyed. Truly destroyed this time, hopefully.
Or as if they were marching to meet Doom.
Haldir sighed, reassuming his watch, positioned high upon a talan. Even though the greater evil had passed away from the Golden Wood, lesser dangers born of it still followed in its wake, plaguing the neighboring lands and Lothlórien's borders: Orcs.
It had been more than two weeks--almost three--since the Fellowship had departed, and though he remained in Lothlórien, he had oft felt as if he was traveling swiftly, leading a small army of Elven archers over the lands, over great plains and hills and rivers.
He wondered how the nine fared now, if the Ring was still on the way to Orodruin or if the Ringbearer had been waylaid. "The Ring must be destroyed," he murmured to himself, disliking the prospect of visiting Mandos Halls.
"Haldir, Orcs approach from the north-west," Rúmil said.
Haldir turned his keen eyes in the direction of his brother's finger, and he saw that it was indeed a band of Orcs traveling at great speed, carrying flickering red torches.
"It is near dawn," he said. "They will have need of shade before the sun rises."
"Where do you think they head for?" Orophin asked.
"To Mordor to rejoin their kin and Master," Rúmil spat, then turned a mischievous grin unto his brother. "They are not far, Haldir. What do you say we welcome them?"
Haldir turned to his thoughts for a moment. "Very well. I would have us mar as little of Lórien as we can."
"Look!" said Orophin. "They like not the waters of Nimrodel, but they cross her."
Haldir turned and descended the talan. "We will bring battle out to them, away from Lórien."
Rúmil and Orophin followed.
"Nan barad!" Aragorn shouted to all his allies, then to Haldir, waving his hand to signal to the Elf. "Nan barad, Haldir!" (1)
Haldir looked befuddled for the moment, not understanding the Man's words through the noise of battle, then nodded to Aragorn and called for his kin to retreat to the Keep. He stepped backward, fending off a few Orcs and Uruk-hai, trying to protect himself.
"Nan barad!" Aragorn called again to urge his allies on, then chanced a glance for Haldir. The sight of an un-sensed Uruk-hai behind the Elf filled him with horror. "Hal--!"
An axe embedded itself deep into the Elf's back. Haldir froze as he felt the terrible pain. He could not breathe, could not cry out, but stared in shock into the rain-filled night, dropping to his knees.
His eyes saw the carnage, took in the fallen bodies of friends and foes alike, and saw the fear in some of their faces: the horror of war and the marring of souls once meant to be pure.
Yet, as more enemies came for him, his keen eyes saw deeper. And he saw the peace those unblinking eyes held beneath the fear, and wondered at that.
In Men, the peace seemed like that which felt as if they were loved, finally being free of the constraints of horror and the fighting which had been going on.
In the Orcs...Haldir paused for a brief moment. In the Orcs...
A warmth enveloped him and though the pain was still great, it was pushed far from his mind. He felt himself fall backward, and a feeling of his body tearing into two.
Fear filled him for a moment before the warmth encompassed and soothed, and he sensed Aragorn's frantic run to get to him as he hit the ground.
There was a gentle tug as his feä separated from hroä, as if a bond had suddenly been cut. And as his feä sped to Mandos Halls, he saw briefly the feär of the dead Mortals, full of peace, and an even briefer vision of himself still in Lórien, still fighting Orcs.
And the last thought he had ere he departed over the Straight Way of the world was feeling the joy as his long sundered kin were finally free from the slavery of the Shadow.
Haldir fought alongside his brothers and kin a few leagues away from the borders of Lórien. The sun had risen three hours earlier, and the Orcs had few places to run to that the sun they shunned could not see them.
As he fought, he felt his battle lust soar as it never did, as if he held the fury of two. He fought for long before he thought he heard Aragorn's voice in his ears, shouting for him to retreat to the Keep.
He felt confusion for a moment and faltered ere he recovered himself.
A few moments later, a pain erupted in his back as if a sword had cut through his flesh. He hissed and spun around, but his brothers were behind him and no Orc could have broken through their rank.
He was not bleeding as well.
The last few Orcs were slain by the rest of his kin.
Haldir stumbled to a tree and laid against it in a swoon. In his Elven mind he saw dead bodies of Men and Orcs, and breathed in gasps.
"Haldir!" Rúmil cried and leapt to him.
He felt the distant presence of Aragorn and a sudden hollowness in him, and cried out: "Elbereth!" For he knew that feeling.
A warmth both distant and near filled him ere the pain and vision passed, and he rose. "I am unhurt. Let us return to our posts."
"What fell upon you, brother?" Orophin touched his shoulder gently.
"Naught did, Orophin. Do not worry." Haldir led the way back, and though his steps were steady, his heart shook.
He had died.
(1) "Nan barad."--Taken from Gwaith i-Phethdain. It means "To the Keep (lit. Tower)"