In Times Like These - Chapter 2

Disclaimer: All characters are Tolkien other than my "OC."

Important Note: My "OC" is referred to by different names by different characters in the story. It is explained in the first paragraph, but I thought I should point this out lest you get confuse. To fans of Legolas, the beginning is important for me to get through before he can be introduced into the storyline. He makes an appearance in Chapter 3, how much of one that I am not sure of. Enjoy this chapter!


2: Vision Of What May Be (February 5, 2003 to February 7, 2003)

.III. .2801.

Many years had passed by human standards but still the unusual elf girl that Elrohir called Melaeanaire still had yet to speak, though she now at least reacted to others. The one she was closest to was Celeborn, who named her Estelinde, while Galadriel called her Fanyarelisse. But to those of the Galadhrim, who knew that this girl was Galadriel's chosen successor, they dubbed her Galadhriel, one of the Lady of Lothlorien's many names.

Depending on who was addressing her, they called her by different names, but none of those within Lothlorien had gotten her to speak yet. It had taken a few years for Galadriel to be able to get Fanyarelisse to open up her mind. Once it had happened, she'd been astonished to find the depth of turmoil that her pupil had suffered. Though it'd taken a long time to get any kind of communication with her, it'd taken a year for them to get her out of bed and longer than that to get her out of her room.

It had been unusual in the beginning to see the lost child wandering around Lothlorien. It had alarmed both Celeborn and Galadriel when she had left the safeties of the citadel and journeyed into the forests. After that, they always made sure that those that guarded the forests surrounding their home kept an eye on their adopted daughter. They soon found that she liked more than anything else was to rest on a Mallorn branch and read a tome of Elven Enchantments for her studies with Galadriel.

It took even more time for them to discover that she had a beyond ordinary fascination with the weaponry practices that kept the guards of Lothlorien fit and ready at the call to protect their city. She especially paid attention to Haldir, who was the March Warden, therefore the one who led the armed practices. One day, she had gotten a little too close the practice, causing Celeborn to call out to her, "Estelinde, do not get too close. It is not safe even if it is practice."

She had turned to him and nodded with understanding before drawing away from the practice field. Standing farther away, she stared at Haldir, who was teaching one of the younger and newer elves how to handle a bow and arrow. Then moving along, he corrected the stance of another elf, who wasn't holding his sword properly. There were times when Celeborn came to observe these practice sessions, but his attention was more focused on Estelinde than on the elven soldiers in the making.

When he glanced back to the spot where she had been, he noticed that she was no longer watching anymore. But then he remembered that she had a lesson with Galadriel and Arwen this afternoon, so that was no doubt where she was. Even though she didn't speak, it was clear to him what she desired and he felt compelled to fulfill that wish of hers more than anything else. There was something about her that made him want to protect, part of it was his lack of ability to have protected Celebrian and the other part was that Estelinde was like the daughter he'd never had.

For Celebrian had really been Galadriel's daughter, though Estelinde was Galadriel's protégée, he thought it was right to assume that she was closer to him than she was to Galadriel. Thus, when Haldir had finished with his instruction to the young elves, Celeborn requested to speak to him privately. "I am sure you have been aware of the interest that Estelinde takes in your instruction of the young elves." Haldir nodded gravely, he knew this. "If you have the time, I wish you to instruct Estelinde in any weaponry of her choice."

"What you wish," Haldir responded, "I will do, Lord Celeborn."

After Haldir had agreed to train her, there was nothing for Celeborn to do until Estelinde's lesson with Galadriel was over, for he wished to tell her of the lessons he'd prepared for her with Haldir. He had no idea when she'd be done because depending on what Galadriel felt was necessary, the day was either very short or very long. In a way, he was glad that Estelinde had become her student, but he was also not sure if she was ready for all these pressures for one still so young. It was true they had been incorrect in her age, but she was still only a mere thousand years.

Since Fanyarelisse had opened her mind to her, since she had agreed to be her protégée, Galadriel had felt a life resurgence in herself. Still she missed her true daughter, but Fanyarelisse had grown to be extremely dear to her. The lost child was good for her husband also, she had revived him as well. Though less obvious, she saw that no longer did Celeborn have to put on a facade of contentedness, he was content.

//Fanyarelisse,// Galadriel said to her, //you are doing well. I must work more with Arwen today, since you are not quite ready for what she is learning yet. Take the volume on my desk to your flet.//

She bowed, showing that she understood before she left. Heading towards her flet, she stopped when she heard Celeborn call out to her, "Estelinde." She turned around to face her adopted father and wait to see what he wanted to tell her. "From what I have observed, I have seen your wish to learn what Haldir has to teach." She stared at him with her usually emotionless gaze. "I have arranged a time for you and Haldir to meet in the morning so that he may tutor you."

Again, she made no response. All she did was pass by him and head toward her favorite Mallorn tree. Climbing up the tree to a branch high above, she ignored Celeborn much like she ignored other that tried to reach her when she did not want to be reached. She opened the book about the lore of foretelling and lost herself in the text. Below her, Celeborn watched her until far too much time had passed. It seemed she didn't feel like communicating to him.

~

The next morning however, she appeared at the appointed spot at the arranged time where Haldir was waiting, though he hadn't really expected her. Even though, she had been in Lothlorien for ten years, no one had really gotten a glimpse longer than a few seconds of their Silver Lady as she was called or Galadhriel. When she went out, she wore a cloak that hid her features from view.

Now, he got a good long glance at the girl that many said was going to succeed his Lady of the Light. It startled him to think that perhaps she may be as lovely as Galadriel with her silver flowing hair, her grey piercing eyes. What made her fragile beauty not quite as delicate was the scar that ran down her cheek. She was also taller than he'd expected, yet she wasn't that tall for an elf maiden.

He wasn't surprise that she didn't speak, for no one had ever heard her speak. What he did was instruct her by showing her the steps on how to use a bow before he handed her one. Standing behind her to guide her in case she needed the help. But from the way she held the bow, he knew immediately that she knew how to use one. Taking an arrow from his quiver, she aimed with a steady hand and hit the target easily. It was no beginner's luck because her movements had the skill that only came from much practice. She was good with the bow, but no better than the general guardian archer at Lothlorien, nothing miraculous.

//Teach me something else,// she requested, placing the bow back into his hand, which he swung onto his athletic physique.

His eyes widened this time with shock at hearing her voice in his head. Never had he heard of an elf that had that great ability other than Galadriel. From all that he knew and heard, this girl was mute. Looking down at her discerning eyes, he saw amusement, surprising him once more. His younger brothers often complained about how like a statute he was, being so expressionless. Yet at this time, his face was filled with definite emotions.

"Then what would you want me to teach?" he asked with a sharper edge than he'd intended. But it was normal for him because he usually spoke with a sarcastic wit. "What do you wish to learn?"

His caustic tone did not bother her, she only gazed into deep blue eyes with her solemn grey ones, the hint of hilarity gone, erased. He thought maybe he had just imagined it. Lost in that musing, he didn't catch what she was doing until it was too late to stop her. Withdrawing both of the long knives attached to his side, she tested their weight in her hand before she placed them into his hands. She didn't say anything, only glancing down fixatedly at the long knives pointedly.

There was nothing else for him to do other than to show her how to use them. When he finally thought, he'd demonstrated enough to her to give her a try at them, he found that her skill was much better with the boy because her long period of inactivity had dulled her dexterity. Many times, he had to repeat to her the same action so that she caught on.

At the same time, her ability to predict his moves greatly aided her initial lack of speed, but as they practiced more as the seasons melted from winter to summer, she improved drastically. At first, he'd taught her out of his duty as March Warden, but now he looked forward to instructing her when she wasn't busy with her lessons with Galadriel. Those sessions sometimes occupied her for days, even weeks at a time. The difference between her and the other elves he taught was that sparring with her was as much as a mind game as it was a physical contest.

Such was the case this morning, which was why he'd disarmed her so quickly. She'd been too busy with the texts Galadriel had given to her to read that she hadn't practiced what he had taught her. At the end of their session, she had regained most of her previous skills. Keeping his smile to himself, he decided to test if she was ready for a new challenge by tossing her a sword, a weapon she was lacking in knowledge of.

From the look over spot in the seeing room, Galadriel observed Fanyarelisse with keen interest. Her pupil was good at wielding the long knives, as good as she was with the bow. Her ability with the sword left much to be desired, but the day she had to use her battle prowess was still a ways away. With her knowledge of both enchantment and weaponry, this was the right time to test her.

The only one who she expected to object was Celeborn, who was as protective of Fanyarelisse as she had been over Celebrian. But it was time for her student to leave the haven of Nenya and venture out. There was no one she entrusted the task other than Arwen, who she was sending to Rivendell. Yes, it was possible to communicate with Elrond through the seeing room, but there was too much to pass on and Arwen had been gone from Imladris for long enough. A visit was good for her like it was good for Elrond. So only Fanyarelisse was available to journey to Mirkwood.

"I see that you have something on your mind," Celeborn remarked as he entered into the seeing room to observe his Estelinde's practice with Haldir. Galadriel didn't respond to his statement, commenting instead, "Her skill has grown. She is quite adept."

He nodded. "Yes, she is. Despite her lack of strength, she makes up for it with her speed and her ability to predict her opponent's next move." His wife smiled as she watched her husband stared with rapture at their adopted daughter's rather awkward try to defend herself from Haldir's offensive. This was as good of a time as any to broach the subject at hand.

"In the mirror, I foresaw the end of the days of elves," she stated in a tranquil serenity, her beautiful blue eyes tragic. "Mordor will rise, and perhaps even the race of men will face their end. Middle Earth may be enslaved, and Sauron may reign supreme." She paused dramatically. "I am sending Arwen with the images I have seen and she has memorized to Imladris... and I will send Fanyarelisse to Mirkwood."

A sense of foreboding rippled through Celeborn's body. He didn't want Estelinde to go, but he realized that she was the only one capable for Galadriel had only taught three her knowledge: Celebrian, Arwen, and Estelinde. But Celebrian and Arwen has been studying with her for hundred of years, while Estelinde had for only a mere decade. "Are you certain that she is ready?"

"As certain as I am of anything," his wife answered directly. "You know I do not push when I know they are not ready. Fanyarelisse is ready." There was still uncertainty in his eyes, and she laid an understanding hand on him, comforting him as he had reassured her once. "Dangerous times are approaching, hervenn. We must prepare her before that time comes."

Slowly, he nodded his head with agreement. "When does she leave?"

"When Elladan and Elrohir arrive to bring their sister back to Rivendell," she responded. "The group will depart together from Lothlorien."

~

This was to be their last lesson for a long time, Galadriel thought. Arwen wasn't even here today for Galadriel had sent her to her flet to pack up her belongings for the trip home. But Fanyarelisse still didn't know of the journey she had planned for her pupil. For Celeborn to let her go, there was to be a full escort led by the most trusted and loyal elf in their realm, Haldir. A small smile graced her lips at her preliminary astonishment that Haldir had agreed to go since he was normally reluctant to leave. Then again the bond between teacher and student was strong. For it was the same with her, but as the Lady of the Golden Woods, she was not able to go.

The moment that Fanyarelisse stepped over the threshold to the library, Galadriel knew of it. //So you have arrived, Fanyarelisse,// she greeted. //I have much to discuss with you, please sit down.// As she was asked to do, Fanyarelisse sat down on the chair across from her adopted mother and mentor. //You have heard that Arwen is departing to Imladris to send the vision that I have had of what may come to be, and you, you are to go to Mirkwood to deliver the vision I am about to place into your mind to their King Thranduil.//

Reaching across the table, she touched Fanyarelisse's forehead with her hand and thought of the destruction, the turmoil, the desolation, the torment, the disaster that may yet be true. It was a terrible thing to put her adopted daughter through after the unimaginable anguish she had suffered through, yet it was necessary for her to carry this clear prophesy of what was to be unless something was done. Galadriel knew that despite Fanyarelisse's opening of her mind, she had not freely given all of what she remember of that nightmare.

Her grey eyes rolled back into her head as she saw, saw the blood and the tears and the sweat and the death that filled the world of Middle Earth. The black smoke that smothered the air of Mordor swept over the rest of the land, forcing the world into the darkness that had no end. She felt the grief, the suffering, the misery, the tragedy as all the good people mourned their end. The end of the days of elves. The end of the days of men. The end of the days of all the free folk.

//From my mind, these are now in your mind,// said Galadriel soothingly. //There is more of yet what may come, this is only what can be, there is the possibility of reversing fortune and creating a new likelihood. What courses we take, what plans we make, that will determine this age ends.//

Sometimes, only sometimes did Fanyarelisse speak and then it was only a few words. This time seemed right to say something, but the words forming in her mind didn't contain enough meaning for her to bother sending Galadriel her thoughts. Instead, her intense eyes focused on Galadriel's and they shared a look of understanding that went beyond words.

//When the sons of Elrond arrive,// her adopted mother continued, //you will set off with them with Haldir as your escort to Mirkwood. Prepare yourself, they will be arriving soon.// Standing up and bowing low, her protégée left to go to her flet and do precisely what Galadriel had told her to do, prepare for what was to come. She watched her adopted daughter leave and hoped that her mirror once again would show her something that was beautiful.

Looking at her belongings, she had not much that she valued to take. There were the two long knives given to her by Haldir that she would take, a fine low bow from Celeborn that she could use, and a small worn book of songs that Arwen sang to her that Galadriel had gifted her. These were what were precious to her; these were what she was going to take. There was nothing else. Without a backward glance, she departed her flet and made her way to where all visitors had to go through.

~


Ever since they'd reach the boundaries of Lothlorien, Elladan hadn't been able to get Elrohir to speak. As was usual, they were being escorted by the Galadhrims. What was unusual was that Haldir wasn't amongst them. As the March Warden and Head of Guard, he seldom allowed himself to be off duty. Elladan missed Haldir's sharp tongue, sharp enough to take his thoughts off his weariness. But Haldir was missing from their escort, most strange.

"You will see her soon enough," Elladan remarked. "I do not see why you must be anxious. I doubt that your Melaeanaire forgets the one who rescued her from her doom."

Elrohir turned to his older brother, who had over the past ten years had never quite understood how badly he wanted to see her again. A part of him didn't know why he'd been kept from Lothlorien for so long, and only now was he being permitted to return. Not many years had passed for elven kind, but still a good amount of years forone as young as she, and she had known him for only a month, was that long enough for her to remember him in the midst of all the agony she had survived?

It seemed he was to find out momentarily as their group arrived at the gates of Lothlorien. Still, after all the times he had been here, the beauty still struck him. Once the sight had filled him with the feeling of purity and light, he started to gaze upon the elves that gathered to greet them. The first one he focused on was his grandmother as it always did, it wasn't too long before his gaze wandered, trying to find Melaeanaire.

//Nothing has changed or has it?// came the humorous inner voice of Galadriel. //Things have changed, you look not for me nor for Arwen but for her. Do not deny, it is clearly written.//

That shifted his gaze back to Galadriel immediately. It never failed to draw his attention when she did that to him; it made him realize why his grandmother was revered by elves from all over like his father. There was power and dignity and purity about her that was the same feeling he received from Elrond. Her very stare penetrated into his soul, a power that he knew no one else had.

"Greetings for Imladris," Elladan declared, bowing before the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien. "Our father said you requested us to journey here for you have a task for us. Whatever it may be, we vow to complete it."

Galadriel tilted her head in acknowledgement of what the elder had sworn for the both of them to do until the end was in sight. "Yes," she began softly, "there is a task, there is an undertaking that I ask of you two sons of Elrond, to take your sister, Arwen, back to Rivendell for there is a grave matter that she must with her mind show to Elrond. You will accompany Fanyarelisse, whom you call Melaeanaire until the path splits to Mirkwood for there is more danger in the departing than there is in the arriving."

It was then that they saw both Arwen and a figure cloaked in white appear next to Galadriel. Elrohir knew it was her, it had to be she. With an impulse born of many a nights of thinking of her, he rushed toward her, unable to stop himself from pushing the hood aside. Yes, it was her. Yet, it was not how he remembered her. "Mela," he murmured, "Melaeanaire, I kept my promise to return."

The gaze between them was long and filled with tension, not once during the duration did a single emotion appear on her face. He had hoped that something would happen, that there'd be recognition. But there was nothing, nothing at all. It was his grandmother's soothing voice that broke the unendurable silence, "Fresh horses have been prepared, you must leave immediately."

Elladan nodded and called out orders for the elves of Rivendell to switch out their horses with the new ones, while Elrohir pulled himself from her steady, alluring gaze. He moved with much effort to do what his twin had commanded, but like before when he had tried to leave, he grabbed his wrist to prevent him from leaving. But unlike last time, he didn't have to ask her to let him go. As soon as she had grabbed his wrist, she had let go of him like she had been burnt.

Part of him urged him to continue on and not look back, but another part of him told himself he'd regret it if he walked away. So he turned back and saw there was something in her steel grey eyes. It was a desperation and a struggle, a sadness that went deeper and deeper than the darkest caves of Moria. A sudden feeling overpowered him and he took her by the arms, pulling her into his arms. A shock rippled through those around for no one had ever seen her allow someone to get that close to her.

This time it was Celeborn, who broke the unsettling quiet, "The horses are ready." After this declaration, he went to his adopted daughter and held his arms out to her. There was a yearning in him to receive the same public display of affection, yet she didn't move to him right away. But she went to him in time, and she wrapped her arms around the one whom loved her as a true daughter. When she drew away from him and from where she was, she said her good-byes to the only mother she knew. //What you ask, I can do. Do not fear, do not doubt.//

//Yes, you are ready,// Galadriel responded full of warmth. //In you, there is a potential that is still untapped. When you return from Mirkwood, there is much I need to pass onto you before the time of what may be comes. In your return, you will be ready for all that I can teach. Go now, for that is your path.//

Pulling her back on, she walked to the horse Haldir held for her. After helping her onto the grey mare, he swung up behind her because she had never been taught to ride a horse yet. It was safer if she had someone with her to protect her and he would protect her with his life if that was what he was called to do. From where Elrohir was, he watched all this with discerning eyes. There was a close relationship between the two, developed over the years he had been gone. If he hadn't left her, where would they be?

Once again, Elrohir felt Galadriel's perceptive focus on him, so he urged his mount forward, letting his stallion match Arwen's white mare. "Arwen," he declared, "father has missed you greatly."

She smiled, a truly breathtaking sight. "I wish she was going to Rivendell with us, I want father to meet her. She is not like other elves I have known. There is something about her that is not of the elves of this realm."

"What do you mean?" he queried, his voice coming out more defensively than he meant it to.

Elladan, who had been giving the farewell for the group, caught up to them in time to hear their conversation. "She means that there is something surreal about her. She does not seem like the rest of the elves of Middle Earth," he added helpfully.

"You only say those words because she doesn't not speak!" Elrohir exclaimed. "That is the only reason you say that!"

"She speaks as Galadriel speaks," Arwen stated softly, "of the mind and not of the ears."

"Have you heard her then?" Elladan asked, vocalizing Elrohir's thoughts. She shook her head. She had not been gifted with hearing Melaeanaire's inner voice yet.

"Then how do you know?" Elrohir queried in a voice quite unlike him.

Arwen gave him a direct look of reprieve. "Do you not know when Galadriel speaks though you hear not?" It was a moment before he accepted that what she said was true, for he did know. "It is the same as with her, though she speaks in that way infrequently and only to a chosen few."

"Then whom does she speak to?" Elrohir tried to ask casually, but it was hard for him to hide his intense interest. He feared he already knew the answer when Arwen glanced meaningfully toward the beginning of the group, where the Galadhrim that were accompanying their Silver Lady were. As his gaze made its way to the center of the group, he saw Haldir protectively holding Melaeanaire. No, he was not jealous, no that was not the emotion he felt. He merely felt disappointed that it was not him that she spoke to.

~

Author's Note: (on plot) All elves will be important in this story. Eventually, this story will be following the Fellowship, but there is at least 4 chapters that are based PRE-Fellowship. I have not decided yet which storyline I will be following, I'm leaning toward the movie storyline because it's shorter or I may decide to intermix details between the book and movie, as said I am undecided.

(On `Mela') her name will be clarified in chapter 3 (hopefully). Melaenaire (the holiest little one), Fanyarelisse (sweet heaven), and Estelinde (hope song/faith song). You cannot sway my mind on the name for I have already decided it. As for the "OC" herself, there is not a clear picture of her nor is there suppose to be, you see her through the eyes of the other characters because who is she? Is she who they think she is? Is she who she thinks she is? Does she even know who she is? This story is as much of an adventure of epic portion as it is an adventure of the unimaginable depths of the mind.

I do apologize for another long AN (author's note) & I hope that for all the effort I put into the story that you will REVIEW, and let me know what you think. Thank you.

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