Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 17 -- Love?

Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 17 - Love?

Zandra: a.k.a. ‘An'ra, She has water power, which includes weather power. She is slowly regaining her memory of who and what she is.

Tinania: a.k.a. ‘Nania Zandra's eldest sister, she became something (we don't know what yet) and went away. She has fire power.

Jaessa: a.k.a. ‘Dessa Zandra's other sister, described as sweet, and calm. She has earth power, which includes plants.

Zandra's Mother: associated with stars

Zandra's Father: associated with shadows

Dyryn: Zandra once thought she loved him, but he tricked her and imprisoned her in Dol Guldur He had a ring, and became a wraith.

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Legolas strode swiftly from the king's hall. He had expected Zandra to return with the Lady Eowyn for the meal, but she did not. Eowyn had said she had pleaded other business, and Legolas suspected she was talking with the stable boy. But it was nearly time for the army to ride out, and he wished to bid her farewell, so he made for the stables.

She was not there. Arod nickered in greeting, and Legolas patted him in response, gazing about. Where would she have gone? Serilla was still there, so he need not fear she had left, but where was she?

He turned and walked back to the house. He strode past the armory, but stopped as he heard Zandra's voice in the antechamber adjoining it. He entered the chamber, to find her standing alone, her arms folded, looking at the door to the other room.

"Zandra?" he said, worried at her sorrowful pose. She turned, but immediately turned away again, wiping away one tell-tale tear. "You're crying!" he exclaimed rushing to her side, and taking her arm as he stepped in front of her.

"It is nothing," she said, turning away, and heading for the door. "I suppose this means it is about time to go?"

"Zandra please," he said anxiously, "Don't turn away from me." She paused at the door, and half turned back.

"I don't know what you mean," she said lightly.

"I only wish to help," he said, his voice pleading for her to confide in him.

"Truly it is nothing," she tried to reassure him.

"It is not nothing to me," he said tenderly, she went very still.

"Legolas, . . ."

"Don't you know . . ." he continued, and then paused, "Surely you must know how . . ."

"Please Legolas," she said, her voice hoarse with entreaty, and he did not know whether to be encouraged or not.

"It tears at my heart to see you unhappy, I . . ."

"Don't please! Stop, . . ." she turned her back to him, her shoulders shaking, her voice was thick with tears.

"Zandra," he said desperately, reaching out, but afraid that touching her would only make things worse. "I'm sorry, please don't cry." His heart ached, she did not care for him, that much was obvious. "I should not have spoken."

"No, Legolas," she turned to face him, misery plain in her eyes. "I am sorry, . . . I don't want you to . . . I don't want to cause you pain, . . ." He thought he understood what was wrong.

"There is someone else?" he asked woodenly, fighting to stay afloat amidst the pain that engulfed him.

"No!" she cried, "Well, I thought there was but, . . . Oh!" She gave a cry of agony, and fled down the hall.

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Tears blinded her as she ran headlong out of the room. She did not know where she ran. She only ran. She ran to escape the pain in his eyes, and the pain in her own heart. She ran to escape her memories, to escape her fear.

She had been so concerned with her own problems that she had not given any thought to love, and so he had caught her by surprise. The expression of tenderness in Legolas's gaze had filled her with fear. Just so had Dyryn looked before, . . .

"Stop!" she cried. Legolas was nothing like Dyryn, and she knew that. But she had thought she loved Dyryn, how could she ever trust her feelings again?

She found herself standing forlorn before the stables. Gallin. That boy had started all of this. She had found him in the armory, being fitted with mail. He was so proud that he would accompany the men to Helm's Deep. It had torn at her heart to think of this boy going to war. She had not wanted to lower him by protesting, so she had kept up her facade for his benefit. But when he left . . . those few tears had betrayed her. Then Legolas had come.

A brief sob escaped her, and she entered the quiet stable, walking around to wrap her arms about Serilla's neck in despair.

"Oh Serilla!" she whispered brokenly, "How could this happen? I don't want to hurt him anymore, but I can't . . . I just don't know!" She buried her face in the horse's shoulder, her tears soaked up by the mare's soft coat. Finally the storm of sobbing passed, and she sighed sadly.

"Zandra?" Legolas's voice came hesitatingly into the stall.

There's no avoiding this, she told herself, You owe him an explanation. Oh, but what to say? A long silence ensued.

"I was very young I think," she said at last, not turning to face him. "I . . . think I was . . . reveling in my . . ." she searched for the word. It was difficult, because she couldn't remember why she had been there, "freedom? I don't know." She took a deep breath and shrugged, not knowing if he was watching, or just listening, but she knew he was there.

"He was everything that a young girl wants, and his attention was . . . flattering. I loved him, or I though I did . . . But how could I!" she cried suddenly after a pause. "Surely I couldn't love someone like that!" She turned, and saw him regarding her, his face a mask, though concern showed in his eyes, and pain. She hated herself for that. The pain was her fault, and she was about to cause more.

"He gave me to Sauron," she said, tears blurring her vision again, "How could I have loved someone like that? Surely I couldn't truly, my heart couldn't have been so deceived?"

"I'll kill him," Legolas said wrathfully, his voice close by, so she wasn't surprised to feel his arms encircle her.

"You can't," she sobbed, the worst was yet to come, she buried her face in his chest for shelter as she continued, "No man can. He . . ." she couldn't force the words out. The words that truly condemned her heart.

"Zandra, that doesn't matter. You said you were young. Evil can be deceiving, it has nothing to do with you." His voice was soothing, as his hands stroked her back in a comforting manner. He took her shoulders in his hands, holding her back a little, his blue eyes seeking her green ones, "I love you."

She closed her eyes, and turned her head away, "You don't understand," she whispered.

"What? What don't I understand? All I know is that I love you."

"That's just it!" she cried, pulling away, and staring at him wildly. "How do you know?"

He blinked in surprise and confusion, "What?"

"You say you love me, but how do you know? How are you so sure?"

His face took on a pensive expression, though confusion still lurked in his gaze. He shrugged helplessly, "I just know."

"Well, . . . I thought I knew that I loved Dyryn." She saw him wince when she revealed Dyryn's name, and remorse engulfed her again. "Don't you see, I can't truest my feelings. What if I were wrong again!?"

"Zandra," Legolas began, reaching for her, but she evaded him.

"I know it is hurting you now, and by Dae I wish I could prevent that, but what if I discovered too late that I was wrong?" Her eyes entreated him for understanding. "That would hurt both of us even more."

"I am willing to . . ."

"It is more than that," she said, cutting him off, "We have no clue what I am. I die at any time, and you would be left alone. I may suddenly float away on a breeze. Maybe the eagle is really my true form. Maybe my so called memories are only an illusion, maybe they are only wishful thinking. I might be a creation of Sauron's gone wrong. Maybe I am an unwitting accomplis in some secret plan of his . . ."

"Zandra no!" Legolas's voice cut sharply through her hysterical cries. He grabbed her shoulders and shook her lightly. "Don't ever say something like that again. Whatever you are, it has nothing to do with evil. That I know, even if all else is only illusion, you are not evil."

She collapsed into his arms, crying silently. "I am sorry Legolas, but I can't . . ." she did not know fully what she was going to say. She felt him sigh as he held her.

"Why don't we," he paused, searching for words that would not upset her. He held her away from him, brushing away her tears tenderly. He smiled sadly, "I can see that you need time. I should not have spoken so soon. Just promise me you will think on it. We will speak of it again when this is over."

"I can't prom . . ." she began, but he put his finger to her lips.

"Later." Slowly he removed his finer. Absently she licked her lips, and swallowed deeply, her heart pounding. "The reason I was looking for you was to tell you that we are leaving for Helm's Deep."

"Oh, I knew that, Eowyn lent me some new clothes, since the arrow ruined my others. Serilla's saddle bags are packed."

"I didn't mean, . . ." he protested, "You can't . . ." She looked up at him, eyes wide in surprise, pretending that she didn't know he was expecting her to stay. "Never mind," he finished, "let's go."

They exited the stables, leading Serilla; Hasufel and Arod had already been brought out, and were being held ready. They found the others exiting the house, Gandalf walking beside King Theoden, and Aragorn, Gimli, and Eomer following behind. Eowyn stood before the doors of the house; a sword was in set upright before her, and her hands were on the hilt. She was clad now in mail and shone like silver in the sun. [Or like ice, Zandra thought. She thought back to their conversation. Eowyn was not best pleased to be left behind, and would not like the fact that Zandra was going with the army.

"Theoden made her lord of the people until his return," Legolas whispered into her ear, "She is to take them to Dunharrow." Zandra winced. Eowyn would not be happy about that, despite the honor of the king's trust.

"Here, take Serilla," she said, and ran lightly up the steps.

"Zandra," Eowyn said, nodding her greeting, "Why is your horse out?" she asked, "I thought the Elf was going to bid you goodbye?"

"Eowyn, . . ." she hesitated, gone was every trace of the girl she had known nine years ago. "I am going with them."

"I see." Her face betrayed no emotion, "So one lady rides with the men, while the rest must flee to safety." Her tone was bitter. Zandra raised her chin.

"I am not accountable to the king. I am no one's subject. No one is depending on me. And I am not the king's niece either. My case is far different than yours." She paused, "I know it is hard. But it is your responsibility, and you must bear it as best you can."

Eowyn turned away, "Farewell Zandra, I wish you well."

"Eowyn," she stopped in exasperation, "Farewell."

She turned and went back, relieving the boy that now held Serilla, guiding the horse to where Legolas and Aragorn flanked Eomer. She said nothing as she drew alongside Legolas.

"Zandra!"

She turned in the saddle to look back along the ranks to where Gallin stood waving to her excitedly. She smiled stiffly, waved, and turned back.

"Surely he is too young to fight," Legolas said in surprise. Zandra fought back the tears that threatened when she thought of Gallin fighting.

"He thinks not," she said, striving to prevent her bitterness from showing. Obviously she failed. Legolas glanced back a the boy, and again at Zandra.

"How do you know him?" he asked softly.

"Ten years ago Aragorn and I were in Rohan, and I befriended him. He was four, and a lonely little orphan. He was being trained to work in the stables." She laughed a little, "I also met Eowyn then. I was using the name Delisa, but when I was in the stables on day Gallin fell from the rafters onto me. I was so surprised that when I introduced myself I gave my right name." She laughed at the memory. Tenderness filled her at the memory of how she had convinced him not to tell. Obviously he had forgotten in the nine years since she had seen him. Tears welled up again, he should not have to face the horrors of war.

"He will be fine," Legolas assured her, and she smiled at him gratefully as they set off.

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