Guardian of Mine - Part One

Arwen moved quickly through the Tower of Ecthelion, running to meet the guests whose arrival she had just learnt of. She had been awaiting her grandparents all day long and finally they had come. She herself had only arrived in Gondor a few days prior, after her betrothed's coronation. Now that Aragorn had become king of both Gondor and Arnor, the time had come for her to take her place as his queen. When she had made her way to the grand courtyard that stood at the entrance of her new home, Arwen was greeted with a warm sight.

Her father, Lord Elrond, had seemingly beaten her to the arriving guests. Arwen paused and studied, with a smile on her face, the scene play out before her. Elrond shared a rigidly masculine embrace with his wife's father, someone who in many ways had been a father to Elrond as well. After their greetings, Celeborn turned and assisted his radiant wife down from her saddle. After she had gracefully dismounted, Galadriel tenderly took her daughter's husband into her arms. Her embrace was one of a mother to a son. Both Elrond's mother and father had passed from this world long, long ago. It had seemed as the years advanced he had taken Celeborn and Galadriel as his surrogate parents, and they were gracious and kind in complying.

That had been enough of observing for Arwen, she strode lightly across the flowered courtyard to her family. Galadriel had seen her standing in the distance before she had dismounted from her horse, but she had said nothing. She now stood silently waiting for Arwen to make her way over to her.

"And here is my lovely granddaughter." Celeborn said with a small smile. He held out his arms and Arwen went swiftly into them, wrapping hers around her grandfather's back.

"Yes, here I am. I have been waiting for you." She replied softly into Celeborn's shoulder. Galadriel drew nearer and gently ran her hand over Arwen's raven hair. Arwen seemed so content here, Galadriel thought. There had been hesitation on everyone's part when it came to Arwen's choice to remain in Middle-earth with Aragorn. It had plagued everyone's thoughts for many, many years. Galadriel, perhaps more so than anyone, was unsure of her precious granddaughter being left behind to die a mortal's death in Middle-earth. Whenever the thought crossed her mind, the fact that she could not go west either always arose. She would not die as a mortal does, but she would at least be here with Arwen. That thought brought her some comfort, though it was very little.

The day pressed on into the evening rather quickly. All of the expected guests and some unexpected ones had arrived during the course of the day. When the night began to show itself they all gathered in the main hall, where a feast of celebration had been laid out for them. The hall, which had been the only room spacious enough to accommodate so many people, had been filled with long tables and cushioned chairs. Glasses were drained and refilled while platters and bowls of food were passed and served. Servants scurried from table to table while the guests' conversation filled the room like a loud hum.

Arwen and Aragorn had witnessed every person they could possibly hope to attend their wedding arrive in Minas Tirith. Elves, men, dwarves, and hobbits had all made their presence known. A wizard and an ent were also there. It seemed to the king and his soon-to-be queen that nothing could be improved upon. There was no way for them to know that another guest had been making their way to Minas Tirith, someone who had not been invited and would arrive at the Tower of Ecthelion within the hour.


***

The celebration for Aragorn and Arwen continued joyfully inside the main hall. Outside, the guards had been met with a strange disturbance. Someone, none of them knew who, had managed to pass every guard that stood between the gates of Minas Tirith and the ornate doors of the main hall. The intruder glided calmly through the looming halls and stairwells unhindered. Often this intruder would encounter a guard standing his post. Poor fools acting orders, trying to halt the stranger but to no avail.

Two men were posted at the doors of the hall. Sounds of the celebration were muffled but could still be heard loudly outside. One man, out of the corner of his eye, saw a shadow moving behind the pillars toward them. After a hard smack on the shoulder and a gesture from the first guard, the other one grew aware of the shadow moving towards them.

"You there! Show yourself!" One of the guards shouted into the cool darkness that surrounded them. Without pausing, the stranger pressed forward and came right up on the two guards who held their post. The stranger's stride slowed to a stop in front of the men and remained silent. The stranger's eyes pierced that of the guards before him, telling them to step aside. It was as if the intruder's will was being poured into them, mentally pushing them to move. The stranger wanted them to stand aside and they did.

The stranger pushed the doors open and proceeded to walk in gracefully and casually. No one seemed to notice the new arrival though the new arrival was aware of everyone else. Tables were scattered, a mixture of people seated at each one. There was also a head table. The king sat there with his soon-to-be wife. The maiden's family was also seated with them, her father, her brothers and grandparents. The stranger resumed walking to the head table.

Elrohir was the first to notice that something was off. A moment ago he had been eating and drinking happily, but then an indescribable feeling fell over him. He turned to his brother and gave him a questioning glance. Elladan had felt the same as his brother and returned Elrohir's expression. The two simultaneously began to look around the large room. It took only a moment for them to find what they were searching for.

A man was steadily moving towards them. When the twins looked closer they could no longer tell if it as a man at all. He moved with a confidence and grace that no man or elf could possess. He appeared to be a young man, fair and tall like an elf. In fact he was taller than both Elladan and Elrohir. His hair was longer than most men's', almost past his waist, and it was a blinding white. His clothing was gray in color and flowing. The origin of it was strange but beautiful, it only added to his already regal appearance. His skin was almost as pale and luminous as his hair. His ears indeed came to a point, though nothing else told them that he was of the elven kind. Finally Elladan and Elrohir were able to look into his eyes, and those also were not of the elvish variety.

His eyes were not blue like Arwen's or even grey like the twins'. The stranger's eyes were as silver as the moon. As he continued walking, occasionally the candlelight around the room was caught and flashed brightly in his eyes. If his eyes were as the moon, the rest of him shone like the stars. He was surrounded in the glow of starlight, more so than any elf. By now many more people had taken notice of the new arrival to the celebration. Everyone's breath was caught in their throats at the overwhelming sight of him.

The man, if he could be called that, finally came to the head table where Elladan, Elrohir and the rest of their family were. He stood tall and proud before them and his eyes glided over Gondor's royalty, the lord of Imladris and his sons, finally they rested upon the Lady of the Golden Wood. Galadriel and the stranger locked eyes and remained silent while all others watched them. After several moments, the silence was broken. The man breathed one word; his voice was soft but cold.

"Alatariel..."

*to be continued...*



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