Aliana's Destiny - Chapter Twentysix
"He will not save you. No one will save you. Come to me and I will spare them. Fail me and you will watch them all die!" His evil laugh filled her mind.
Letting out a scream, Aliana shot straight up in bed. Feeling strong arms grabbing her shoulders made her flail about, trying to ward off whatever was attacking her. The arms wrapped themselves around her, pinning her arms to her sides. As she screamed for help, she heard gentle words in her ear.
"It is I, Aliana. You are safe. It was just a dream. Open your eyes."
The sound of his voice finally reached her conscience. She reluctantly opened her eyes and searched the room, seeing nothing to cause alarm. The fire burned brightly, casting a warm red glow on the room. She felt his arms slack his hold on her body and she turned to look upon him. Tears fell from her eyes as she finally realized that it had been a bad dream. She let herself fall against him and he gently wrapped his arms back around her. As he rocked her, she fell back to sleep.
Legolas sat on the bed holding her through the dark hours of night. As the first sign of dawn peeked its way through the closed shutters, he finally loosened his hold on her and laid her back down on the bed. He sat back down in the chair he had pulled up next to the bed earlier and let sleep finally come over him.
His slumber did not last long. Soon the sun was brightly shining through the cracks in the shutters, calling him to open his eyes. He looked over at Aliana and found her sleeping peacefully so he decided it would be a good time to find a cup of hot tea. Quietly he rose and slipped out of the room.
As the door shut, Aliana opened her eyes. Finding herself alone, she quickly rose from the bed and gathered her belongings. She knew she would not have much time before Legolas would be back so she changed into her traveling clothes quickly. She made her way quietly into the hallway and crept down the hall towards the king's chambers, looking for the door she had accidentally found the day before that would lead her into the private garden. It was where she remembered it......the second door to the left from the king's chamber door.
As she opened it, she heard footsteps at the other end of the hall. Aliana slipped through the door and quickly closed it. She leaned her ear against the door holding her breath as she listened for any sign that she had been discovered. Moments later she heard another door open and close with silence ensuing.
Breathing a sigh of relief she turned from the door and made her way through the garden. Roses of every color were in bloom all around her as she made her way through the maze of pathways. The stable roof was visible over the tall hedge at the other end of the garden. She stopped at the hedge and listened for any signs of movement on the other side. Once she was satisfied that there was no one around, she climbed the hedge and threw herself over the other side. She found herself against the back wall of the stable. Silently she made her way to the side door and listened before opening the door.
Aliana could hear the stable boy inside feeding the horses. He was carrying on a conversation with someone, which she quickly decided was the livestock inside. She heard someone else enter and call to the boy, needing his help elsewhere. Once all was quiet, she slipped inside.
The main door was wide open, letting sunlight in. Aliana was glad for this since it made it much easier to find her bridle and saddlebags. She found Farion in the last stable. Holding her finger to her mouth, she motioned Farion to stay silent. Her horse seemed to nod his head and she quickly placed the bridle on his head. She threw her belongings into her saddlebags and threw them over the horses back. Ready for the journey, she led him to the side door she had entered through and made her way back through it.
Once outside she pulled the hood of her cloak over her head to hide her identity and took the side roads to the main gate. Luckily the guards had business outside the gates and had left them open. She mounted Farion and quickly made her way through the city gates, finding nothing but open land in front of her. Not wanting to draw unneeded attention to herself, she kept Farion at a walk for a fair distance. As the guards voices finally droned out, she stopped and turned to take one more look upon Edoras. The city stood proud with the sun lying low behind it, making it seem to glow. She hoped he would understand her decision. She could not let them fall to Sauron because of her. Knowing she had made the right decision, she turned back towards the north and spurred Farion into a full gallop.
Legolas finished his tea sitting quietly by the fire in the dining hall. As he finished and decided it was time to check on Aliana, her brother entered the hall. Aragorn grabbed a cup he found on the front table and made his way to Legolas' side, filling his cup from the teapot sitting on the hearth in front of the fire.
"How did she sleep?"
"The nightmares did not last long. I believe she became too tired for Sauron to be able to penetrate her mind."
The hot tea brought Aragorn more to life. His night was almost as fitful as he was sure Aliana's night had been. Looking to Legolas he asked, "Did you take any rest for yourself?"
"I found what I needed early this morning. It is a good thing that elves do not need the sleep you humans do," Legolas teased.
Aragorn smiled. "My sister is blessed to have you to look after her when I am not present."
"And it is time that I made my way back to her. We will meet you shortly for breakfast. Hopefully her appetite will be good this morning." Legolas filled the extra cup he had taken from the table and filled it with tea. He then brought himself to his feet.
"I will let the cook know he has a hungry crowd this morning. Please tell Aliana I inquired about her."
"I will," replied Legolas as he made his way to the door.
He walked back down the hall and found Aliana's door slightly ajar. Knowing he had securely closed it, he carefully made his way inside. Legolas sat the cup on the table next to the now empty bed and looked around the room. He walked to the open bath chamber door and peered inside, finding it also empty. Something was wrong. He looked around the bedroom once again, looking closer for what he was not sure. It was then that he found it......Aliana's belongings were gone. Her boots, her cloak, her quiver and weapons, her small pack... they were all gone. Legolas was instantly filled with panic. He ran from the room and knocked on Eowyn's door across the hall. After a moment a slightly disheveled Eowyn slightly opened the door, peering out with sleepy eyes.
"Have you seen Aliana this morning, my lady," asked Legolas.
"I have just woken. I have not seen anyone this morning. Is she not in her room?"
Not waiting to answer her, Legolas ran back down the hall, opening each door he came to, checking the rooms for some sign of her. By the time he reached the dining hall door he was filled with dread. He entered the hall once more and quickly walked up to Aragorn who had not moved from his spot.
"Aragorn, she is gone."
Aragorn looked at his friend dumbfounded. He was sure he did not hear his friend clearly.
"Where is she," was all he could ask.
"I do not know. She has taken her belongings."
Aragorn stood and headed for the door with Legolas following behind him. Together they made their way back to her room. Aragorn found the same thing......she had left with everything she owned.
Angrily Aragorn turned on his friend.
"How could you let this happen?" he cried out enraged.
Before Legolas could answer Gandalf burst through the door. He looked around the room then turned to the two men standing before him.
"It is as I was afraid it would be," whispered Gandalf.
"You thought this would happen? And you did not warn us? We are speaking of my sister! My little sister! My only flesh and blood! How could you not tell me?" Aragorn spat at the wizard. Gimli and Eowyn entered the room in time for Aragorn to push his way past them and out the door.
"What has happened," asked Eowyn.
In a low voice Legolas replied, "She has left."
Knowing what had transpired between his elf friend and the maiden, Gimli patted Legolas on the back.
"Do not worry laddie, I am sure she is not far. We will find her."
"Aliana has done this to save us all." Gandalf replied.
"What do you speak of Mithrandir," questioned Legolas.
"Sauron now knows that Aliana is here as well as he thinks pippin and the ring are with her. He thinks he will catch both of his greatest treasures at once. Aliana knows this is what he plans. She has left to draw Sauron away from us. She knows that if he attacks us now, we have no way to help Froto. If she stayed, we could not have carried out our plans, and middle earth would be left to him. Aliana is very wise. She has seen what I did not see until now. I must take Pippin with me to Minas Tirith. That will leave Sauron no reason to come here." Placing his hands on the dwarf and the elf, he finished, "And it will leave you to save middle earth."
Gandalf walked to the door and turned once more. "I must make ready to leave. Send word to Pippin that he will accompany me." In an instant he was gone.
Gimli left the room to find Pippin, leaving Legolas and Eowyn alone in Aliana's room.
Legolas walked to the window and opened the shutters, letting the sunlight bathe the room. He scanned the countryside hoping for a glimpse but found not what he had hoped for. As the tears fell from from his eyes, he kept his back turned to the lady. Feeling his grief, she approached him and placed her hand on his shoulder.
"She is the strongest woman I have ever known, my lord. I am sure she will be fine." With those words, she turned and left the room to find Aragorn.
As the door closed, Legolas fell to his knees, burying his face in his hands. Visions of Aliana swam through his head. He pictured her in the starlight only the night before. He could feel the touch of her lips upon his own. He lowered his hands and stared at them, still feeling her skin under his touch. He remembered how scared he was when he heard Saruman speak of her. He remembered her questioning him about that conversation. The realization of their bond flooded him with renewed hope. Legolas moved to the bed, wanting to be close to the last place he saw her. He laid down and closed his eyes, concentrating on her face. He could feel his heart beating loudly in his ears. A muffled sound came to his ears and grew louder as he found himself engulfed in blackness. Another heartbeat sounded in his ears and he instantly knew it was hers. He could hear Farion's hoofs hit the ground hard as he was obviously in a dead run.
"Please Aliana, do not separate us now. It will come soon enough. Let us spend what time we have now together. Please hear me. I swear on my own life that I will protect you from him. He will feel my wrath if he comes near you." He lay silent for a moment, feeling her heartbeat in time with his own. "I love you Aliana." The hoofbeats grew softer as did her heartbeat. Legolas slowly came back to the emptiness of the room. He turned to lie on his side, and buried his face in the pillow. Her smell still lingered on the fresh white linen. He laid there for what felt like eternity. Finally he noticed that the sun had moved higher in the sky. It was time for him to find Aragorn. It was time to ask his friend for his forgiveness.