Aliana's Destiny - Chapter Twentyseven
"Forgive me, my friend. Know that my heart aches for her. I would give my life if it would bring her back."
Aragorn thought on his friend's words for a moment before he spoke.
"Gandalf is right. As much as I would have denied her, she had no other recourse. I find myself for the second time being saved by her." Looking at Legolas he asked, "When is it my turn to save her?"
"I felt her, Aragorn. I could hear Farion running hard, swiftly carrying her to their destination. If only I could have seen her face......" he trailed off.
"I will not let her departure be in vain. I will find a way to finish this, once and for all. If Sauron wants a battle at Minas Tirith, then war is what he will get." Aragorn reached out and placed his hand on his friend's shoulder. "And I would be honored if you were at my side, my friend."
Legolas looked up to see Aragorn smiling at him. He did his best to smile back at him. There was nothing he could do to bring her back. All he could do was move forward and make it possible for them to spend time together before the inevitable separation that he knew would be much harder than this.
"I would be nowhere else, my friend. Someone has to save you in her absence."
They both laughed at the elf prince's remark.
Aliana rode hard all day, driving Farion harder than ever before. She stopped at dusk long enough for her horse to cool off and for both of them to take some nourishment. She rode on until darkness made it impossible to see. She stopped by a stream, letting herself and Farion drink away their weariness. Deciding against a fire, Aliana laid out her bedding and laid down, looking up at the stars.
The North Star twinkled down on her, catching her attention. She felt broken in two. She hoped she made the right decision. Thinking back on the haunting voice that was forever taunting her now, she knew it was the only decision she could make.
"Please understand. Please forgive me. Please let me feel you with me," she whispered into the wind. As the tears rolled down her face, she fell asleep.
The morning came quickly. She rose with the sun, finding Farion standing over her. She quickly rose and packed her things and readied her horse for the day's ride. If she kept the same speed today, she would only have one more half day's ride. The last comfort she gave her self was washing her face in the stream. The water was cold and brought her senses to their peak. Aliana looked down and could see the sky's reflection in the smooth water. As she stared down, she found herself not being able to turn away. Clouds seemed to cover the sky, leaving a small ray of sunlight shining through the middle. As she watched, a winged beast flew through the hole in the clouds and came down towards her. She quickly looked up, grabbing her sword from her back. As she sat there on her knees with her sword drawn staring up, she saw nothing but clear skies.
Aliana knew it had been another vision. It was a vision that filled her with fear. She knew he was coming for her. Once her heart finally calmed, she placed her sword back into her scabbard and rose to her feet. Farion walked to her and nuzzled her neck.
"He is coming. I can feel him. We must be swift today, my friend," she quietly said to him as she hugged his neck. Farion whinnied in acknowledgement. She climbed up on his back and took one more look around, having a better view from her higher position. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary around her, she nudged Farion into a full gallop, feeling the need to put as much distance between her and this place.
It was another hard day's ride. Aliana stopped twice throughout the day to allow Farion to catch his breath. She only stopped for the night when once again it was too dark to see. The weather had turned cool, as a storm was imminent. She found shelter under a small grove of trees. It would be another night without the warmth and security of a fire. It would only draw attention to her. Aliana found berries to fill her stomach and washed them down with the water from her pouch. She unpacked her bedroll and laid down. It bothered her that she could not see the stars. They had always comforted her. She closed her eyes and tried to only think of Legolas, waiting for sleep to take her. She listened to her heartbeat and soon could feel his beating in time to hers. "I fear I am not strong enough. I need you, my prince. Please forgive me," she silently cried, hoping her words would reach him. As she hoped to hear his calming voice in her head, instead she was filled with that daunting laughter.
"He cannot hear you. You belong to me and so it shall pass to be. He will be forever haunted with only your memory."
His heartbeat was torn from her and she was left with nothing but terror. She quickly sat up and grabbed her sword, pushing herself backwards until she felt the bark of a tree against her back. As tears rolled down her face, she sat there unmoving until the sun made its way over the mountains.
It was a sweet dream. He could feel her heart beating in time with his. He could hear her voice calling to him through the darkness.
"I fear I am not strong enough. I need you, my prince. Please forgive me."
"Aliana," he cried out into the void. Suddenly he felt another presence. He was filled with dread as the haunting laugh rang through his head. He could still fill Aliana's heart beating, but it was much faster. He could feel her terror. Again he cried out to her, "Aliana!"
He heard the words that the entity said to her. He felt her pain as strongly as the first time he stood on the terrace with her tear in his palm. He yelled her name once more as he felt her heartbeat torn from him. Legolas instantly sat up in Aliana's bed, still drenched with fear. He got out of bed and moved to the window, throwing the shutters open. A cold wind blew and the stars were hidden behind thick black clouds. He had never felt so helpless in his life. Legolas knew Sauron was stalking her. Yes, she had achieved her goal and left them safe to do what they needed to do. But he also knew that Aliana did not realize how vulnerable she left herself to the evil she now faced alone. Not being able to sleep, Legolas moved to the fire that was still burning brightly in the fireplace. There he sat the rest of the night, waiting for the sun to rise.
By the time the sun finally made its debut, Aliana was exhausted. She only had a couple hours left if she pressed Farion hard. Packed once more, she called to her horse who was only a couple yards away and climbed onto his back. Once Farion felt her securely set, he took off on his own accord, knowing the danger Aliana was in. Farion must have felt the evil stalking them, for he ran more swiftly than he had ever ran before. Before noon he had her in sight of Lorien Forest.
Aliana felt relief wash through her as Farion brought her safely into the trees. She kept a keen eye on the trees, hoping to see a sign of the elves watching her. It was over an hour before she caught her first signs of life.
"What business brings you into these woods," asked a voice from within the treetops. Aliana looked around but could not discern where the voice had come from.
"I seek the Lady of the Wood."
"The Lady sees no one." Called the voice.
"She will see me." Aliana grew irritated at being questioned.
"What makes you so special, my lady? I told you the Lady sees on one."
"I was once held in high regards in these woods. Has so much changed that I am no longer welcome?"
A tall blonde elf dropped in front of her. Before she could turn, several more moved out of the bushes and surrounded her. The blonde elf seemed to see something familiar in her. Finally he questioned,
"Lady Aliana? Is that you?"
"Yes, it is I." Looking deeply into his face, she realized who he was.
"Rumil! You have not changed!"
"Do you forget, I will never change. But my lady, you have definitely changed! Lady Galadriel will be so pleased to see you! She speaks of you often, especially lately. She said you would come. Please my lady, follow us. We will be there by dinner if we go now."
Aliana followed the elves, asking Rumil many questions. As they traveled, she found out that not much had changed in the elves lives. But Sauron's minions had been attacking the edges of the forest, leaving the elves more on guard. She was thankful that Rumil did not ask her too many questions about her travels. She was too tired to explain herself.
As Rumil had said, they arrived in Caras Galadhon at dinner time. As she was led to the biggest mallorn tree, the aromatic smells of the feast above wafted down. Aliana found it hard to walk up the stairs that encircled the huge tree. She felt her weariness catching up with her. Rumil must have noticed, for he offered her his arm and helped her the rest of the way.
Once they reached the top, she gasped at the site. There were many elves seated at many tables on the huge flet with food filling every table. As she peered through the crowd she noticed the table at the other end. At that table Galadriel and Celeborn were seated with several elves seated on either side of them. Next to Galadriel was an empty chair. Galadriel stood and walked around to the front of the table. Still holding his arm, Aliana let Rumil escort her down the aisle. About halfway down, Aliana let go of his arm and ran, quickly finding herself wrapped in her adda's arms.
As she wept, Galadriel whispered to her, "My child, I have waited for this moment. You have never been alone as I have always been with you." Holding Aliana's head up, she finished, "Come, my child. You have had a long journey. Your dinner is getting cold." As Aliana gazed up at her, Galadriel winked at her.