Orphan Eyes - The Path Love Leads
But she also sang for other reasons. Reasons she did not tell anyone, until she told Laurehiril about the dream. Maegwen felt angry with herself, in a way, about the new feelings she was having. She felt as though she had to be loyal to Figwit. But every time she saw Haldir pass by in that tall and strong way that he did, she felt her heart beat faster. It was as though he set a trance upon her, and she was filled with all the feelings that are golden and good when he was around. And she cursed herself. In her bliss and mirth in Lorien, and when she laughed at Haldir's silly ways, she cursed herself. Somewhere in the back of her mind was a dark figure, blood seeping through his clothes. Figwit's shadow haunted her.
"What is the matter?" Haldir asked, as he and Maegwen sat under the shade of one of the mallorn trees in a large field. The woman was stretched out on her back, and staring into the sky, as she thought about these things. She looked over to see Haldir was propped up on his elbow, looking at her like he was trying to figure out the answer to a tough riddle, though the answer lay in front of his face. Maegwen sighed.
"Nothing. Nothing is the matter." She sat up and looked out into the grass. Far off in the field ran two golden haired elves, one a maid and the other a male. Like a haunting, elvish song came their laughter to her ears. Their happiness made her think of when she and was young and so free. But with Figwit had gone her childhood.
"You do not lie well. There is something wrong. I can see it in your face." Haldir looked to his brother and his wife in the field. "Are you thinking of Figwit?"
"Not entirely. Other things too."
Haldir grinned widely. "Me?"
Maegwen laughed, but did not answer his question. She asked her own. "You have asked me a question-"
"And have not gotten an answer." said Haldir with a smug grin. Maegwen rolled her eyes.
"Fine. If I answer your question, will you answer mine?"
"Well, if you must know, I was thinking if it was going to rain today. I have not see a drop of water fall from the sky. Does it ever rain here?"
Haldir did not fully except this answer, but did not bother her about it too much. If Maegwen did not want to speak of it, then there was no use in prying. "Yes, it rains here sometimes. Much in the spring, actually. Now what were you going to ask?"
"It is much more personal than a mere question about the weather, and you don't need to answer if you do not want to." Maegwen sat up and took a fruit from the basket, and tossed it about in her hands. "Why did you not go to Valinor with Milokamen? If you loved her, and she loved you, why did she leave you?"
"I did love her!" snapped Haldir. He looked away. "But I could not bare to leave Middle earth, or the beautiful land of Lorien and the lord and lady. But something else kept me here, something that I cannot explain. She is gone now. But you are here... "
Maegwen smiled, and noticed that Haldir had moved closer to her. She looked at a blade of grass that seemed longer than the other ones. She picked it out, and set it down. Haldir grazed his lips past her cheek. Maegwen leaned over, unable to stop what she was doing. Suddenly, a loud whoop from Laurehiril sent them sitting back into place as though nothing had happened. Maegwen glared. The last time she had come so close to someone, this had happened, and then he had died. The two were very quiet for the rest of the day, and when it was time to return back to the wood for sleep, Maegwen could not stop stealing glances in his direction. She went to where she usually slept alone, denying the proposition posed by Haldir to take her there. Neither Rochon nor Gilgnalad were there. Maegwen was glad. She sat down on her couch, and stared up above. The stars were lighting up, and they hung low in the sky. The woman felt tears staining her cheeks. How could this be happening? How could she be doing this?
"Figwit..." Maegwen moaned as she lay back and was totally blinded by tears. She wanted to ask him to forgive her, to tell her things were all right. She wanted to tell him that she thought she might be in love with Haldir.
"No!" she cried into her arms as she shifted to lay on her stomach. She could not be in love with Haldir -- she loved Figwit! But Figwit was gone. Part of her knew this. Most of her didn't want to leave Figwit's memory for Haldir's existence. She felt if she allowed herself to love Haldir, it would be as though Figwit never was. So she could not love Haldir. She couldn't.
Maegwen did not see Haldir for a few days, some to her relief, but most to her disappointment. Instead she spent much of her time with Laurehiril. She turned out to be a very close friend to Arwen, and in the days that Undomiel had housed in Lorien, the two had spent much time together. Laurehiril would laugh sometimes. Maegwen and her 'sister' were very different in personality, but in somethings not so. Maegwen told Laurehiril about her dream, and neither of them could know for certain what it meant.
"It is hard to tell what it meant." Laurehiril said as the two approached a group of half a dozen golden haired elves in the usual Galadhrim attire that made it hard to distinguish them from the trees. "It might just be nothing."
"Well, it does not seem as though it was just nothing. It was so real." Maegwen said slowly, looking at the ground.
"It is pretty queer." Laurehiril commented. "But I think that if that was not just a dream, and something else, than I'd say that it was about Figwit wanting to see you happy again." the elf maiden stopped walking so that Maegwen and her could share a last word privately.
"I do not think Figwit would appreciate me... courting with anyone." Maegwen said darkly as she looked over at the group of elves. Haldir was there, and he was looking at her. The woman cast her gaze to the ground.
"Well, not if he was alive he wouldn't!" Laurehiril said. "But he isn't alive. I thought you understood that now."
"I do!" Maegwen said angrily. "I understand that he's dead..."
Laurehiril put a hand on her shoulder and looked into her mortal friend's eyes. "Then let him rest. Let him rest, and let Haldir live." The elf's eyes were suddenly very sad. "I was speaking with Haldir last night when you had parted and Orophin went to find Rumil. He said some things that... I do not even think he had said or felt when he and Melokamen were together. Maegwen, I'm asking you, for Haldir's sake and for Figwit's sake, do not let your thoughts dwell with the dead. Do not let Haldir pass. Give him a chance."
But she said no more of this matter. She went to Orophin, and pulled him away through the trees to talk, be merry, and be loved. Maegwen did not move. She stood, rooted to the spot, staring off into the distance. She saw that Haldir had crept up behind her, but she said nothing and did nothing. She thought about what Laurehiril had said. Perhaps as she thought deeply and confused, she did not notice Haldir was stroking her hair with an arched finger, his eyes closed. They stood there, mindfully in different worlds. Maegwen was trying to believe the words of Laurehiril. Haldir was trying to push away the thought of Melokamen as he fondled Maegwen's hair. Both of them were struggling with the same battle. They had lost someone close to them, and it ached them to want to be with another, but they did. Perhaps for Haldir it was easier. Maegwen thought this. Melokamen had walked away. Just left him. Figwit had died on her, in her own arms. It was different.
Haldir would have argued. Melokamen was still in a world where he could reach out for her, and she would reach back, not stand silently and refuse his love. Maybe Haldir would go to Valinor, and leave this world of heartache and confusion. But could he leave Maegwen? The thought she was mortal only struck him now.
What did it matter? It mattered nothing to him, that Maegwen was mortal. He could still love her. Show her such love that she would never feel lonely as long as she lived. Haldir longed to tell her this. He wanted to tell her that she would always be loved, but could not.
Maegwen wanted to just stop hurting for everything that had happened. She missed her best friend, she missed her horse, but deep down she missed her family the most. She wanted to tell Elrond or Arwen. They would know how to make things well and help her stop hurting. They were family. They had always helped her in times of need. But she did not want to leave Lorien as well. If she went back to Rivendell, she knew she would probably never see Haldir again. Part of her loved him, that was certain. And a portion of her held him as one of the best friends she'd ever had. Maegwen felt safe around Haldir, and a strength that she had never felt around anyone before -- not even Figwit.
As Maegwen stood, swaying slightly, and Haldir numbly making a small braid in her hair, Laurehiril and Orophin returned, smiling as if nothing could possible make the day more wonderful. Orophin kissed his wife lovingly. Maegwen closed her eyes and looked away. Laurehiril saw Haldir absent-mindedly combing his fingers through Maegwen's dark hair. Haldir did not notice that she was staring at him, but when he did, he blushed and turned to speak with his brother. Maegwen followed Laurehiril into a field of golden elanor. The elf woman was laughing softly.
"What?" Maegwen asked. "Why are you laughing?"
"I've never seen Haldir blush. Not once in my life." Laurehiril sighed. "What is it that you did to him? Or is it any business of mine?"
Maegwen's jaw dropped. "Are you accusing me of-"
"I'm accusing you of nothing!" Laurehiril laughed. "I meant it as a jest." then she looked over her shoulders at Haldir. It seemed as though the light in his eyes had been watered as soon as Maegwen had left his side. The immortal maiden sighed. "I have never seen him so distraught. It is as though he cannot smile without you by his side."
"How poetic of you." Maegwen said dully.
"Perhaps I will write a book of poetry. Swing me round the mallorn tree..." Laurehiril hummed as they walked again. The two walked to the arbor for Maegwen wished to lay down. She was tiered from thinking so much, or at least, that was what she said. The day was growing old.
"Are you sure you do not want me to stay?" Laurehiril asked. Maegwen nodded. "All right then. But promise me you will think about what I said, about Haldir."
And she left. Maegwen did not fall asleep on her bench, but on the grass. The night was fragrant with the smell of coming rain and pollen. As it drizzled, Maegwen laughed. She did not know why. She just laughed.
Gilgnalad and his younger brother found Maegwen some time later, and were awed at the joy in her face. It was true; they had not spent much time with her. Perhaps she had gotten over Figwit's death. Perhaps she had gone insane. It was hard to tell with the mortal daughter of Elrond.
"We will be departing from Lorien tomorrow evening to return to Imladris." Said the Gilgnalad. Maegwen's brow fell, and she looked saddened, but she did not look at the two brothers. She stood, shoulders arched as she held herself for warmth. The rain had stopped momentarily, and the air was incredibly cool.
"That is what you want, is it not?" asked Gilgnalad. Maegwen nodded.
"Yes." She said passively, staring behind them. She saw something moving among the trees, but just out of the corner, and the others did not see.
"Are you fine?" asked Rochon. "You are shivering."
Actually, she was shaking with silent sobs. She did not think that they would be leaving Lorien so quickly. She nodded.
"I am cold. But there are blankets here." her tone was frostier than the air. The two elves looked at each other. Perhaps she was still moody about Figwit. They had no idea. And they left to leave her to sleep, Rochon worrying about her, but wishing to speak with the lord and lady about the next days' preparations.
And so they left. Maegwen watched them leave. Once they were gone, she saw that a figure was moving across the grass and to arbor. He had his hood up so that his face was hidden, but Maegwen knew who it was. A warmth entered her heart, and it seemed to flow throughout her body.
"You are leaving."
It was not a question. He knew. Maegwen slowly pulled the hood back and smiled softly. Haldir looked down at her. His eyes were so sorrowful it broke her heart. But she had to go. And now that she thought about it, she really did miss Elrond. Being embraced by Haldir was better than anything in the world, she thought, as her ears listened to the steady beat in his chest. But Elrond's hugs were a different wonderful. He was her father.
"Yes." Maegwen could not say anything else to express herself. "I have to. Elrond will be questioning our whereabouts. And I miss him."
"I will miss you." Haldir said, brushing her hair out of her face. She looked down at their feet, but Haldir brought her face back up and he looked deeply into her eyes. Maegwen swore he was looking right into her soul, and that he knew everything that she felt.
"You have helped me in ways I did not think anyone could and you understood me. You..." Maegwen felt that Haldir was pulling her closer to him, and stuttered as she spoke. She felt his warm breath on her face as tears spotted her cheeks. "You..."
His lips were so fervid. Maegwen arched her back as he kissed her passionately. She put her hands on the sides of his face, wiping away his own tears that spilt happily from his eyes as they continued to kiss. He pulled back and the stars shone in his face, the rain stopped suddenly, as though some unseen force had put a protective blanket over them. Haldir picked her up easily in his arms and their eyes did not break their bond until they reached the arbor. Haldir wrapped his arms around her, and they sat, Maegwen resting on his chest, and wishing the night would never end.
"Sing for me." asked Haldir, breaking the silence. Maegwen sighed. So she sang. She sang softly, but the words got louder, and she poured her heart into the song. As she sang, Haldir listened to these words and grew sad. Maegwen knew what it was she sang, and it was sorrowful. She sang it in the elvish tongue she had grown up with, but in the tongue she used every day and would pledge her love in, it goes as follows.
"Swing me 'round the mallorn tree
Watch from the branches, sparrows flee
In the blue sky they fly so free
Are there such trees beyond the sea?
Run through the grass with me, my love
under the starry sky above
sleep with me upon the hill, my love
till o'er head flyeth the morning dove
Hold me tight, don't let me go
Show me bliss I've never known
Tomorrow you go where the Great Sea flow
To a place my kind aren't supposed to know
Now go, my love, to Valimar
where all you kin and friend are
let the waters take you afar
your map the dusk and Earendil's star
Don't look at me so, weep not for me
to know you'll be blissful beyond the sea
is enough to give me both mirth and glee
where there you'll ever stay beautiful and sorrow free
yet one more wish I give to thee
swing me around the mallorn tree"
Maegwen had to admit it. When she had heard Laurehiril humming the tune, and said but the first lines, Maegwen's saddened mind had made up the rest.
"Why did you sing that?" Haldir asked.
"You asked me to sing. And I did. Did you not like my song?" Maegwen asked ruefully. She shifted so that she could see his face.
"I like it as much as I like your leaving tomorrow. You sing so beautifully, but why that song? Are you fearing that I might leave?" Haldir took her hand and kissed her fingertips.
"Yes..." Maegwen broke down, and retracted her hand to cover her face. She was being weak and pathetic, and she knew this, but did not care. "Figwit died, Haldir!"
"I..." Haldir shook his head, not knowing what to say, taken back she would bring this up.
"Figwit died... I can not have you die too." she looked up, her lip quivering.
"I will never leave you alone, Maegwen. Never." it felt so good to tell her this. Haldir kissed her lips to stop their shaking.
"But when I die..." Maegwen began. Haldir had thought of the same thing. He would out live her presumably, but Haldir could not bear to think of such things.
"Do not speak like that-"
"You will go to Valimar." Maegwen continued, ignoring him. "And I want to let you know that if you and Melokamen are-"
"No!" Haldir said. "I love you. Not her. You are my only. Now please, sing something more cheerful. Unless you want me to sing. And I hope it will not come to that. But someone must break this cheerless silence."
Maegwen smiled, and settled back. She did not known many songs, and so she sang a song she knew from Rivendell. She gazed at the stars while she sang.
"A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!"**
It was short, but it didn't matter. Haldir smiled, and him happy was all that mattered.
"Beautiful." he sighed, speaking mostly about her, but the song as well. "I wish I could hear you sing every night." Whispered Haldir, cradling Maegwen in his arms.
"I do not want to leave." She said, not being wholly true, but closer to the truth than ever.
"You must. Your father expects you. He too deserves your love." But Haldir sounded like he did not mean it, and wanted her to say with him.
"I know." Maegwen said.
"I love you."
Maegwen turned around, still sitting in his lap. She traced a finger down his cheekbone. Haldir pulled her in again, and kissed her neck passionately. He found her lips, and Maegwen could not help but think that it was so different from when Figwit had kissed her. But that was because Maegwen had known it was the end of her and his relationship. But would it be the end of theirs? Would she ever see Haldir again? She suddenly felt cold hand on her back.
"Haldir!" Maegwen gasped as the elf carefully undid the band on her dress and the silk fell from her body. She knew what was going to happen after. Everything felt numb. Haldir sat back, eyes wide in his own fear that he had done something against her liking.
"Do... you wish me to stop?" he asked, and began to pull the dress back onto her. Maegwen pushed his hands away, and kissed him. It was the first time she had kissed him, not the other way around. It felt so good. So right.
"I love you too." She whispered.
Haldir did not leave the arbor that night.
It was the next afternoon. Maegwen was still in Haldir's arms as they watched the sun fade. That was all that they could bear to do. They talked about the last days that Maegwen had spent in Lorien. It was too painful to go forward in time, to when the Company of Imladris would depart. Maegwen still did not want to go. But Haldir felt that it would not be the last time that they saw eachother. Then he put his hands over the girl's eyes.
"I have a surprise for you." He whispered into her ear. Maegwen grinned.
"What is it?" she asked. Haldir shook his head.
"You must close your eyes first."
Maegwen sat up straight, bouncing almost with anticipation. She loved surprises. She covered her eyes with her palms, and felt a cool sensation on her chest. Before opening her eyes, she felt the necklace, and turned and gave Haldir a hug.
"Thank you!" she squealed childishly, but she couldn't help it. Then she held it in her fingers and sighed. It was the shape of a star, wrought in silver, and set in it were three glistening sapphires.
"I think you said in one of our conversations that you like sapphires."
It was true. Maegwen loved sapphires, and for that matter, almost anything blue. But the gems in the medallion were so beautiful, tears formed.
"Thank you." She said. "Thank you so much. I will never take it off." She said, nuzzling him. She settled back into his strong arms, and continued to look at the necklace.
"I would hope you would not." Haldir said. "It is a sign of our love, and when ever you wear it, you will think of me."
"I do not need it to remember you." She kissed him quickly, then looked into his eyes. "But I've nothing to give to you."
"I do not need anything. You showed me that you loved me last night. I need no more." Haldir smiled. Maegwen cuddled closer to him, and they were silent again until it was eve and Gilgnalad and Rochon came, finding Maegwen crying silently and Haldir with a far away look in his eyes.
"It is time to go." Gilgnalad said softly. Maegwen looked over from Haldir's chest, and nodded.
"I will walk with you." Haldir said.
The stars were barely visible, and the moon hid behind a thick cloud. Maegwen walked hand in hand with her elf love and the other one stroked her necklace. Galadriel and Celeborn stood there, other elves stood there as well, and Laurehiril was waving sadly as she stood with Orophin and another elf that looked like Orophin and had Haldir's nose, but was different. It was Rumil. Maegwen had not met him personally, but from what others said, he seemed nice.
Galadriel and Celeborn gave the group a gift of parting each. Gilgnalad received a dagger with elvish inscriptions on the blade, and the handle was adorned with golden leaf patterns. Rochon was given a bow, much like the ones the Galadhrim, the Tree Elves of Lorien, used, and it was carved with foliage patterns, and it was strung with strong elf hair. Galadriel and Celeborn came to Maegwen last, and she bowed. She was presented with a bundle wrapped neatly in pale blue material. She touched it with her fingers. The material was soft and silky. She looked up. Galadriel smiled.
~*~*~Do not attempt to turn away this gift,~*~*~ said a voice in her head. It was Galadriel's sooth wont. Maegwen's brow furried. She was just about to say that she did not deserve it. She had been a hermit her time in Lorien, and save when she arrived, she had not spoken at all with Galadriel or Celeborn.
~*~*~You were a guest in our Wood, and we shan't turn you away with naught. And you have given one of ours such joy. It is right we give you something.~*~*~
Maegwen bowed low.
"Thank you Lady." She said. She turned to Celeborn. "Lord." She bowed again. Celeborn smiled. But Galadriel had one more thing to say, and it left Maegwen wondering for many a long day after.
"I do not think this will be our last meeting, Maegwen of Imladris." Said the Lady of Light. "Farewell, and have a safe journey."
They got onto their horses, and began to ride west, but Maegwen kept her head turned as she watched Haldir disappear into the trees and the dark evening air.
Maegwen was half asleep by time she could again see the foundations of home. They climbed over a hill, and there was the valley. It was night again, and the stars flowered in the sky, and the full moon shone brighter than ever. The orphan was filled of happy, sorrowful, distraught and painful thoughts. She would now be reunited with her father, who she missed and loved dearly. But she would have to tell Celebrought, Arwen, and Elrond and all else about Figwit's death, and at this thought, Maegwen shuttered with the cold wind. She had escaped; it seemed, from any unpleasant thoughts while she had stayed in Lorien. Yet even now, she felt chill creep back into her bones. She looked at a rock, as they now grew closer to Imladris and the candlelight danced in the air. The rock was large, and there was a little hole underneath it, enough room to hold two elflings. Figwit and Maegwen had played there often, when they were younger. They would climb the rock, dig tunnels under the rock (thought they usually got about a foot then stopped), just about anything that came to mind. Sometimes they might play house. Sometimes the rock was a fort, and the two were fighting against hundreds of the orcs. Maegwen and Figwit always seemed to win.
A cluster of elves was there to greet them, and she saw Elrond was smiling upon her, and Arwen was at his side, smiling a little as well. But their faces fell. Something was wrong.
"Father?" Arwen asked quietly so no one else could hear. "Whose horse is it Maegwen is on? That is not Renia. I believe that it is Nimroch... Where is Figwit?"
Elrond shook his head, jaw clenched, eyes wide. "I know not, but I fear the worst."
Maegwen glided off from the horse's back, and went to her father, and buried herself in his arms. A sudden outburst of talk sprinkled over the elves, as they saw Maegwen was crying, and Elrond was not having ease with trying to comfort her. Elrond led Maegwen away. They went to her room, and the girl sat on her bed, rocking back and forth in her father's arm as he hushed her and combed his hand through her hair. Finally she was able to calm down and told Elrond what happened. By the end, the lord was groaning with anguish, his face in his hand. But Maegwen told him nothing about Haldir.
"I am sorry Maegwen." Said the lord. "I did not see this. I thought you would go there, and triumph, not lose so much."
Maegwen nodded, and laid back. She shed her outer cloak, and lay on her back, staring at the ceiling. Then, a line of yellow light cut through the darkness, and Arwen's head popped in the room. Elrond went over, spoke quietly, then left, but Arwen stayed. She sat on the edge of the bed, and stroked Maegwen's head. It was all so horrible. It was like reliving his death again. Like Figwit had just died. But then she had other memories too, like he had died before, and everything was just so confusing. And then Maegwen told all. She told everything that had happened to Arwen. The things that she had not told Elrond. The things about Haldir. Arwen's eyes grew to the size of dinner plates when Maegwen said that Haldir and her had spent a night together. That they had made love.
"Maegwen!" gasped Arwen, standing up, fury in her face. "How could you do that? I am very disappointed in you! Have you said anything to Elrond?"
"N- no." answered Maegwen, picking at the frills on her dress. Arwen had never spoken to her like this. And the woman pleaded. "But do not tell! He does not need to know."
Arwen's cold glare did not melt. "Of course he needs to know! He is your father! I thought he had brought you up to know..." but she fell silent. She knew her father had not always approved of Aragorn and her being lovers. And Maegwen had such a look in her eyes that seemed to apologize for everything that had happened. She knew what she had done was wrong. Or at least, that is what Arwen made it feel like. But it had felt so right when she had agreed to give Haldir everything -- her love, her trust, and her hope. Her mind, soul and body.
"Yes. All right." Arwen said, and nodded. She would not tell her father. Arwen knew that telling him was the right thing to do. But he would probably find out one way or another. Besides that, Maegwen the one who should tell him. It was her responsibility. If Maegwen was not a child, though she felt so after Arwen had been through speaking with her, she would tell Elrond.
"Are you angry with me?" Maegwen asked quietly, not able to hold eye contact. She was trembling and her eyes were shut. She felt like a failure. Maegwen had long looked up to her sister, and at times, wanted to be just like her. Arwen sighed.
"Not angry." Arwen sat back down next to her sister, and put one of her arms around Maegwen. The mortal girl lowered herself and her head rest on her sister's lap.
"I am not angry." Arwen said again. As she thought of the things she felt about her sister, anger and ire formed into confusion. "Just... curious. Why Haldir?"
Maegwen smiled as she pulled her dark locks behind her ear. "What do you mean, 'why Haldir'? You dwelt in Lorien for a time. Surely you must have seen what a... beautiful man he is."
Arwen smiled a little. "Beautiful is not the word I would use. Brooding and repine, perhaps."
Maegwen laughed. "He's changed since you've seen him then, Arwen. He is not like that anymore. He's so... joyous and... angelic... like an angel." she pictured him easily in her mind. Arwen said nothing. All she could picture was Haldir with the saddened scowl on his face.
"And I love him." Maegwen sighed. "I miss him already."
"That is the way that love leads." Arwen said, and now imagine Aragorn. She did not know where he was, or what he was doing. She missed him. She looked at the ring that he had given her that was on her finger. The two were quite, thinking of their loved ones and cursing duty for keeping them from them. Arwen eventually left Maegwen, and she slept, dreaming of nothing but her and Haldir holding eachother under the stars. But when she woke, she was troubled. She doubted that she would ever see Haldir again, unless it was in her dreams.
**After I redid this chapter thirty times from the original, I was too darn lazy to correct myself. So Nienna? Have fun.