Chapter Eight: An Unlikely Alliance
“Emissary, come, join us,” the voice of Celeborn called out to him.
It had been a very long day and the last thing Haldir felt
like was listening to the adventures his Lord had on his
hunt. Not that he was opposed to a good tale or two; Celeborn was a master storyteller. It was just that when all Haldir had to boast of was being caught listening in on
secret confessions and almost losing a she-elf under his watch, he knew that it would be a much less mutual exchange. All he wanted to do was put the picnic behind
him and retire for the evening. But alas, he was tapered to his duty to the King and Queen as poor Legolas was his mother.
“Yes, M’Lord,” he said coming into the hearth area of their apartment wing. He approached humbly and was very much surprised, and displeased to see Legolas was in company. “Good evening, Prince,” he said with a bow to Legolas.
“Good evening,” Legolas said, his words dripping with distaste. His green eyes seemed to be lit both with the
flame from the hearth as well as a larger one from within. The prince, who was sitting on the stone hearth, turned and looked into it.
Haldir had fully expected his anger, but had hoped they
could resolve it before it arose to the attention of others.
“Please, sit, Emissary,” Celeborn said, gesturing for a chair across from himself.
Haldir sat down and crossed his legs, resting his elbow on
the chair arm and his chin in his hand. He looked at his
Celeborn sighed, folding his fingers together over his gut
and surmising Haldir with all the supremacy of an elder.
And so he was, but it was rare that he would take on such a role to Haldir and he looked not to be rejoicing in the necessity of it.
The elf King had known Haldir since he was an elfling like
the young Feldor he pulled from the river today. Though his Lord had entrusted much responsibility and important
charge to Haldir, there were times like this when the
Emissary got the feeling that the image of himself as a
wee one was quite present in Celeborn’s mind.
“I’ve just had an interesting discourse with the Prince of Mirkwood over the representation of our Kingdom at the
pre-counsel festivities here in Rivendell,” he said.
His chin still resting in his hand, Haldir glanced at Legolas and was partly annoyed and partly moved to pity that the poor prince felt he needed Celeborn’s input to settle these matters. He looked back at his king and reasoned that it would do him no good to try to explain, as he had no good excuse on which to rely.
“Yes, M’Lord?” he said with the faintest touch of innocence.
Celeborn’s eyes narrowed slightly, letting Haldir know he would be greatly displeased to have to make a formal accusation and would much prefer a confession. But the trouble was, Haldir was unsure just which offense Legolas
had brought to the king’s attention, the eavesdropping, being inappropriate with Elienne the night before or the incompetence which allowed the danger of death to disrupt their picnic; perhaps all three.
Whichever combination of faults the prince had selected to bring forth, there was a slight chance that, because he was
on watch, Galadriel may have accounted to Celeborn, Haldir’s failing to remain emotionally distant from the young
she-elf. Normally his queen remained out of such personal affairs, but in matters of state, she had in the past made a few exceptions.
“I can offer no excuses,” Haldir resigned finally, sitting up straight and folding his hands in his lap. Legolas turned
away from the fire, watching and listening as Haldir continued. “I have been taking myself and my actions far less seriously than I should while on this holiday, allowing
the playful, good nature of the young ones around me to distract me from my duties. The good prince here has
every right to call me to task… I am most rightly humbled.”
Legolas’ grew tense and his eyes darted at Celeborn. His king, never taking his piercing eyes off of Haldir said, “Legolas did not come to me… I called him, just as I
Haldir wondered if his miscalculations would be
“I apologize for my assumption, Prince Legolas,” he offered. It seemed to do little to ease the Prince’s indignity.
Celeborn surmised both of them with his eyes and then explained, “I’ve been watching the two of you and the
foxtrot you’ve been engaged in around the young… may I emphasize, very young, Lady Elienne…”
Haldir kept his eyes on Celeborn but could see in his peripheral vision that Legolas was watching for his response. To the best of his ability he gave him none.
“…The only reason I’m getting involved is as a favor to the two of you. As your elder, and someone who has had experience… successful experience… at the game that is called ‘love’, I feel it is my responsibility to pass on a bit of useful advice.”
Celeborn’s tone was just short of amused and Haldir
casually lifted his hand and pressed his knuckles to his lips, attempting to cover his smirk. He had thought himself
skilled enough to train the Mirkwood prince and now he was going to receive his own lesson. He allowed his eyes to shift to the young Prince and saw Legolas hands were gripped to
the stone on which he sat and there was a look of
trepidation in his expression as he listened to Celeborn.
“First of all,” Celeborn said, “The longer you allow her to
play you against one another, the easier it is going to be
for her to ensnare one of you unawares… Note, I am not saying that falling in love is altogether an avoidable state
of being. I have allowed it in my life and it has brought me many rewards…”
The king paused, his eyes shifting between his two students. “But what I am saying, I say with the utmost caution, and I implore you both to take heed as if it were your very souls on the line… Love should be entered into soberly… with reason guiding your passions. And CERTAINLY not for the purposes of winning some primitive competition of masculinity!”
Haldir knew he was right and nodded and gave a low agreeing hum.
“Excuse me Lord,” Legolas said. “But… ” He glanced at
Haldir as if he didn’t want to be so bold and vulnerable in front of the Emissary. But his earnest desire to understand overcame his wariness and he asked Celeborn. “…are you saying I should ignore my feelings? In all my life I have trusted what my heart tells me and it has served me well. What you say… it goes counter to all I believe in, certainly most regarding the affection two people share for one another.”
There was a bit of tension as his last words hung in the air. Celeborn looked sadly at Haldir, knowing what the Emissary knew. He sat up in his chair and leaned towards the prince. “And therein lies your dilemma,” he said as kindly as any father would have to his son. He lifted his hand with
two fingers stretched up to the heavens and said, “There must be two… For Elienne I fear her heart has not yet decided. And who she will choose is as predictable as a wildfire on the dry summer plains. She shifts this way and that with the wind and the only thing that is certain is that someone is going to be burned.”
Haldir clenched his jaw, realizing the all too unpleasant
truth in that statement. He watched a distant look fall into Legolas eyes and the prince stood, taking a few slow paces to the end of the large hearth.
“What does your heart tell you now?” Celeborn asked in a voice as gentle as a whisper.
Legolas put one hand on the mantle of the hearth and the other he laid on his chest. He stared down at the floor and said, “It tells me you speak the truth… As much as I hope
to be the one to bring it, my desire is for her happiness
from wherever it may come. I cannot be presumptuous. It pains me to say it, but she may indeed see something in
the Emissary that I cannot offer her.”
At this, Haldir spoke up quickly. “Well she needn’t consider her decision any longer,” he said, “I for one have given
good thought and reason to the matter and plan to take myself out of the running in this little contest that I was thrown into. Therefore you need not worry that I will distract her from you any longer.”
He felt quite proud of his statement, but neither Celeborn
nor Legolas were impressed, as they ought.
“You would throw away the chance at love,” Legolas said walking back. “Is it not the desire of all Elves to find a bond mate? And though I wish it were not so, there is obviously a connection between you and Elienne that should at least be further explored…” Haldir rolled his eyes as the Prince spoke. “What you say makes no sense to me,” Legolas proclaimed.
Celeborn was sitting with his fingertips pressed together, tapping the index coupling to his lips.
“M’Lord Celeborn understands,” Haldir said.
“Yes…” Celeborn said in a slow thoughtful voice. “More than you realize.”
Haldir smiled and shifted in his seat. “M’Lord?” he asked.
Celeborn turned to Legolas and said, “Please, sit.”
Legolas took a seat on the hearth again and Celeborn leaned in to the two of them. “Do not make any decisions, save this…”
They both looked at him eagerly, awaiting his final word of advice.
“The two of you should become well acquainted, maybe
even develop a friendship,” he said. At first they were both suspicious of the suggestion and Legolas was about to protest outright when Celeborn said, “Imagine how it will confuse her!”
Haldir grinned and Legolas paused, thinking it over.
“Now go… Spend some time talking of the things that Elves do and put she-elves out of your mind. Allow yourselves some time at the banquet and I am sure you will find you have more in common than the young Darkwood Princess.
In the end, it would serve all Elves well to know that these matters can be settled in a noble matter.”
Haldir studied Legolas face as the Prince thought it over.
“I think it would be good for her not to have all the arrows
in her quiver for a change,” Haldir said. “If anything,
perhaps it will make her take the entire situation more seriously.”
“A good point, Emissary,” Celeborn said, staring at Legolas with expectation.
Legolas smiled slightly and looked at Haldir. “I too can
forget our differences…. for the sake of Elienne,” he said.
They clasped hands and it was decided they would tarry around before the evening meal. But as they left Celeborn with his own thoughts Haldir couldn’t help thinking that the noble love of this Prince could not be matched by the
passing fantasies of an Emissary. He truly hoped Elliene would see that as well.