Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 32 - Breathe
Tinania: Zandra's eldest sister, she became Dae Kular and went away. She has fire power.
Jaessa: 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 the Witchking of Angmar. Zandra, Eowyn, and Merry all helped kill him.
Gallin: Boy from Rohan, a friend of Zandra's, died at Helm's Deep
Recap: "Have you told him yet?" Gandalf was asking her.
"No, I can't. It is too hard. How can I tell him that I must leave him so soon after I nearly begged him not to leave me in Minas Tirith?" Legolas thought that his heart had stopped. She wanted to leave him?
Lady From Beyond the Sea - Chapter 32 - Breathe
Zandra knew from the expression in Gandalf's eyes, and the sudden silence, that Legolas had arrived. Slowly she turned around, biting her lip warily. The shock in his eyes told her more clearly than any words that he had heard her. Oh Dae! she thought to herself, I did not wish him to find out in that manner!
Legolas took an involuntary step forward, but Aragorn put his hand on the Elf's arm to stop him. The soon to be king whispered a few words in his ear, which seemed to calm Legolas, at least on the outside. He looked again at Zandra and she could easily read the turmoil, and pain that raged just beneath the surface. She lowered her own gaze in remorse. She had not meant to cause him so much pain.
The feast was a difficult affair for Zandra, Legolas sat silently on her right, and she could feel his gaze constantly upon her, questioning, and pain filled. She could not bring herself to broach the subject, not here when they were supposed to be celebrating Frodo and Sam's victory. But the food tasted as ash in her mouth, and not even the knowledge that Sauron was no more served to lighten her despondency.
She had decided not to tell him before so that her departure would not cast a blight on his celebrating, but instead he had discovered it without her telling him, and that hurt was added to the fact of her leaving in the first place.
I should have told him before, she cried inwardly, Perhaps then he wouldn't be looking at me so reproachfully.
As soon as the meal finished she excused herself politely to the remains of their original Fellowship, pleading fatigue which she hoped they would accept due to the fact that she wasn't supposed to even be out of the Houses of Healing as of yet. She knew that Legolas would follow, but she hoped that everyone else would not let it detract from the celebrations.
She walked aimlessly through the forests of Ithilien, her mind awhirl with possible ways she could excuse herself for not telling him immediately. There was no excuse except that she had dreaded the expression that would enter his beautiful eyes, dreaded the pain that the knowledge would cause him, dreaded the argument that would inevitably come as he requested to accompany her on her quest.
She found herself standing before a pool of water into which flowed a beautiful waterfall. It was the same pool, had she known it, where Frodo had saved the life of the piteous Smeagol when Faramir would have had his men kill him. He had thus set the seal on Gollum's betrayal.
She sat for a long time before that pool, gazing into it's crystal clear depths. The world was silent around her. She could not say when Legolas arrived, for his movements were silent to her, and he did not speak. So intent was she in her thoughts that she failed to notice his presence until his reflection appeared over her shoulder.
Time seemed to still, and Zandra knew that this moment would never fade in her memory, even were she to be imprisoned in the darkness for another four-thousand years. Slowly she turned to face him, raising here eyes to his, though they were hidden in the shadows cast by the moon. Her throat was choked with emotion, and she was unable to speak.
She sensed rather than saw that his gaze was also fixed upon her. The moment seemed to stretch into eternity and beyond as they both remained immovable, their love an unbreakable bond, but the immanence of her departure an unpassable barrier.
Without releasing her gaze Legolas knelt at her feet, moving slowly so as not to disturb the silence. Tension filled Zandra, and tears filled her eyes. The air felt brittle, as though the slightest movement would shatter all existence, yet she felt the strange urge to cry out, if only to release the incredible suspense that was ever building around them.
From that humble position, Legolas took her hands from where they lay in her lap, at last breaking the almost physical contact of their gazes. He held her hands lightly in his own, palms upraised, merely letting them rest in his grasp, as he appeared to examine them intently. Then slowly he raised them one by one to his lips, pressing tender kisses upon the sensitive skin upon the back of her hands. He then lowered his head, until it rested upon their clasped hands.
"Why?" The question was barely audible, but Zandra did not mistake it, as she had known that it was inevitable. She longed to reach out and stoke his golden head, to comfort him, but he held both her hands trapped, so the only recourse she had was in words.
"I have to find out who I am," she whispered, though the words suddenly did not seem adequate.
He raised his head, instead resting his strong chin on her knees, "I don't care who you are." There was a stubborn quality in his voice which she had never before heard from him, but it was very endearing. His words caused her heart to sing with love, but at the same time brought near despair.
"But I do. Do you think that I can stand to live the rest of my life in ignorance? At the very least I must make certain that I am a fit mate for the Prince of Mirkwood." He moved to protest this, raising his head sharply, but she rushed to cut him off, "No, it does matter. It matters to me. Legolas, I don't even know how long my people live, I could die tomorrow for all I know."
"All the more reason to stay, that we may have all the time together that we can," there was a catch in his voice that told her that this was a thought he had never before considered.
"And that time would be constantly plagued with doubts, which would, in time, cause it to become sour." She tried to sound reasoning, trying to make him understand her need to do this. "I must go. I will have no peace of mind until I find out who I am. I must do this for me."
She watched his eyes close, his face contorted with pain, and knew that he would not fight her decision any more, he would let her go. But there was one more hurdle, and as he opened his eyes again, she knew that the time to cross it was now.
"I will come with you," he said, determination shining clear from his eyes in the moonlight. It was Zandra's turn to close her eyes in pain. To deny him this was nearly more than she could bear, but she knew that she must.
"No. I must go alone," she opened her eyes again, and gazed at him beseechingly, "I cannot explain why, but I must."
"Zandra I can't live without you," Legolas began impulsively. Swiftly she withdrew a hand from his grasp, and laid her fingers gently upon his lips to silence him.
"Don't say that," she pleaded, "Its not true, you can live, and you will live . . . it is not in you to give up life merely for a lost love. It is one of the things that I love about you, your love for life. It is one of the things that helped me to escape my personal shadows. You helped me to embrace life again. If you give up on life, then . . . perhaps life isn't worth living to begin with. And I can't believe that Legolas, I can't."
Legolas knew that he had lost. She would leave him, and he might never see her again. How could she do this? If she loved him surely she would stay? But he knew that this wasn't fair. She loved him, but she had to know, or it would plague her all their lives. Love was letting go. If only it didn't hurt so much.
"When are you leaving?" he managed to choke out. He was rewarded by the relief in her gaze, the shadows fled, leaving her eyes entirely clear for the first time since he had known her. Their beauty left him suddenly breathless, surely there was nothing in Arda to match their color!
"I will remain until Aragorn's coronation, after all, I watched him grow up, it is only fitting that I see him become the King that he was born to be," her words were whispered, as though she felt the moment to be as fragile as he did. It was so little time. Already the celebrations were dying down, and on the morrow preparations to return to Minas Tirith would begin. After that it was only a short time before the Coronation, and then she would be gone.
"Don't think about it," she said, laying her hand on his cheek. "Don't think about when we must part, think about the time we have. Think about the beauty that surrounds us even now." She raised her eyes to the waterfall that thundered behind them, the mist it cast up creating a glowing halo about Zandra's radiant face. She turned back to him, a brilliant smile on her face, and stood, clasping his hand in hers, pulling him to his feet.
"Come," her dulcet voice gently beckoned. He followed her obediently, as she backed into the pool.
"Zandra! We'll be soaked!" his surprised voice rang out in the glade. Her response was to loose her cloak with one hand, and fling it to the bank, laughing. Then she resumed her tugging on his hand. Shaking his head at her uncharacteristic behavior he loosed his own cloak and then followed her into the water.
To his shock, it was much deeper than he had thought, and he heard Zandra's laughter as the water closed about his head.
"Now that's not fair!" he cried aloud as he broke the surface of the water again. She appeared to be standing in water merely up to her ankles, though from his position he could tell that it was a good ten feet deep. Maybe I shouldn't complain, he thought bemusedly as he gazed up at her buoyant face, the moonlight reflecting off the water shifted and shimmered, causing it to glow like he had never before seen.
Her eyes crinkled up as her delighted laughter again rang out. I've never seen her this cheerful, he thought in amazement, This must be what she was like before Dol Guldur.
She jumped up gracefully, lifting one knee, and pointing her toes, and sank down into the water, sending a wave over Legolas's head again. This time when he came up he was laughing through his sputtering. A strand of her hair clung damply to her forehead as she kicked lightly, treading water. He reached up and brushed it aside, before pulling her to him for a brief kiss.
Or, it was meant to be brief. She clung to him sweetly, and the world about them faded. So wrapped up was he in their kiss that he stopped treading water, and they both sank beneath the surface.
He released her in surprise, and began to kick back up into the air, but she held him down.
"Breathe," she said, bewildering him for a moment as he wondered how he could understand her under water. He was so surprised that he immediately obeyed her command, and found that he could!
"How is this possible?" he asked, "I had no idea that your power could do this."
"Neither did I, I don't think it could, before," she replied, her gaze tender. Such was her expression that he could not help kissing her again.
"Marry me," he said as they again separated, the words left his lips before he considered them.
"What?" she said, sitting down abruptly on a submerged rock.
"We could be married before you leave, then we could at least have that time completely together," the words fell from his mouth, he refused to take the time to think about them.
His response was that she stood, and kicked her way to the surface, pulling him with her. They emerged from the water completely dry, and walked back onto the bank.
"Sorry," she muttered, "I couldn't concentrate on us breathing." She released his hand, and walked a few steps away, scooping up her cloak, and hugging it to her.
Legolas wished that he could call back his words, that they could go back to the moonlit water.
"I'm sorry Legolas, it wouldn't be fair," she said at last, "It might be making promises that I can't keep. I don't know what marriage means to your people, but . . ." she hesitated, "to mine it . . . it is not something that can be taken lightly. K Chortu!" Lightning flashed briefly, and deafening thunder split the night, though no clouds were to be seen. She whirled about, "This is why I have to go! I can't remember! I don't know what is so serious about marriage!" she seemed to wilt, "Aside from the obvious. I . . . I can't explain it . . . but . . . I can't marry you."
"When you return, . . ." Legolas began hesitantly, horrified at the results of his impulsive proposal.
"Don't you understand?" her words were a mere whisper, barely audible above the roar of the waterfall, "That's the problem. I can't promise that I will return." She walked slowly out of the glade, leaving behind her a very stunned Legolas.