When Aliana awoke, the fortress was already bustling with people readying themselves for the long journey. A pot of hot tea and 2 biscuits were sitting on the nightstand next to her bed. She sat up, poured a cup of tea and played over in her mind the night before. How safe and warm she felt in Legolas’ embrace. Just the way she had always imagined in her dreams. But as usual, that little voice crept in…..”You know you can never be with him. Two different worlds you both are from and nothing can change that. You must cease wishing for something that can never be.”
As the voice overwhelmed her a knock was heard on her door.
“Good morning, my lady”, said Aragorn. Already dressed for the journey, he strolled to her bed and handed her a package. “Lady Eowyn had these cleaned for you. It’s time for you to pull yourself out of that bed and get ready. The rest of us are ready to go.”
“I am sorry my brother. I did not realize it was so late. It will only take me a minute to get ready.”
She put down her cup and waved for Aragorn to turn around. When his eyes were on the door, she climbed out of bed and made her way to the dressing room with her newly washed clothes. She pulled her trousers, undershirt and tunic from the package and quickly put them on. As she walked back into the bedroom to find her boots, Aragorn started questioning her.
“What did you and Legolas have to talk about last night? You seem to have taken quite a liking to him.”
She wasn’t sure what to say to him. She was afraid to tell her brother her real feelings for she did not want him to tell her what she already knew….that they could never be together. She thought frantically of what to say to Aragorn.
“He is very fond of you. He will fight by your side no matter what you must face. Aragorn, you are very lucky to have a friend like that. And I can tell Gimli feels the same way.”
Aragorn walked up behind her and grabbed her arm, turning her to face him. He lovingly grabbed her chin and pulled her face up to look at him.
“Aliana, you know that is not what I was asking. I can tell you have feelings growing for him. I do not want to see you hurt. You are my only family and it would tear my heart out to see you heartbroken.”
She thought for a moment, looking into his eyes. She could see the concern written all over his face.
“My brother, I know we can never be together. I know it is not meant to be.”
Aragorn watched the tears well up in her eyes and he was sorry for bringing up the subject. Aliana turned away from him and stood there for a moment with her head down until her emotions had subsided. Finally she turned back toward her brother and forced a smile.
“He is my friend, and he is your friend. Legolas is a good man. He would never do anything to hurt me. Do not worry, my brother. I know someday I will find true love as you have. And when that day comes, he will have you to answer to if he is worthy.”
Aragorn tenderly smiled at her and pulled her into an embrace. He was so glad to have her in his life. And he would protect her from everything, including a broken heart. Aliana pulled herself back from her brother and reached down to grab her boots. “I will gather my things and meet you in 5 minutes at the stables.”
Aragorn patted her on the shoulder and turned to leave her alone. As the door closed, she sat on the edge of the bed and threw her face in her hands and started crying. Were her feelings that were growing for the Elf prince that obvious? She vowed to keep herself in check. She knew any feelings that might be growing were not mutual. And even if they were, it could never work. Aliana knew they would soon find themselves in some sort of peril and they would all need their wits about them. As she finally gathered herself once more and started to stand she was overtaken by a vision.
A white wizard that she had never seen before was herding some type of beast thru a gate. Aliana had never seen beasts like this. They looked like a cross between a boar and a wolf but were almost the size of a horse with huge gnarled teeth. As the beasts ran thru the huge gates and over the hill, a great army started marching thru the gates. Then the scene shifted to a battlefield. Aliana was riding Farion and Aragorn was riding in front of her. She watched an Uruk Hai approach from his right and stab Aragorn with his spear. As Aragorn fell to the ground, the scene changed once more to a huge, fiery eye that filled her mind. It hissed at her, “They have hid you from me but I will find you. You will be mine. You can’t hide much longer. You will fulfill your destiny.”
As fast as it came, it was gone. She found herself dripping in sweat. Aliana knew at that moment that this day would bring more than any of them could imagine. She was thankful that she had been trained well to defend herself. And she vowed that she would stay by her brother’s side and fight with all that was inside her. She would not let him fall.
Aliana made her way to the bathroom and wiped off her face, brushed her hair and pulled it back in a ponytail to keep it out of her way. She walked back into the bedroom and grabbed her belongings. She took a moment to bring herself into check, and strode from the room, ready for the day.
Aliana made her way to the stables to fetch her faithful steed. Farion seemed nervous. It was if he could feel the mood of his mistress. Gandalf noticed Farion’s mood as he entered the stables with Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli.
“Is everything alright this morning, my lady?” He could tell by the look on Aliana’s face that she was troubled.
“As much as it can be. You won’t be with us today, Gandalf?”
“No, my child. I have pressing matters to take care of. But I assure you, you are in capable hands.” As he looked into her eyes he could see something weighing heavily upon her. Quietly he asked, “What is it, my dear?”
Aliana looked away trying to avoid his stare. It was as if the wizard could read her every thought, like Galadriel had always done. She was afraid to tell them of her vision. She had always kept them secret. Mortals were not supposed to have visions. This was a gift of the Firstborn. It had been one more thing that reminded her how different she was. What she didn’t know was that Galadriel had told Gandalf that Aliana had the gift. Gandalf sent the others off to fetch some fresh water for Shadowfax, giving him a moment alone with Aliana.
“You’ve had a vision, haven’t you my child”, he said.
She nodded her head slowly.
“You know what lies ahead, do you not?”
Again, she nodded her head slowly, unsettled at the fact that Gandalf knew. She did not want to admit to the wizard, but something inside told her it would be a mistake to hide it.
“My dear, you must trust your second sight. You have been given this gift for a reason. I will not ask for details, but you must know that you must trust your judgment. I have to find the Rohirrim, for the only thing I do know is that without them we cannot win what I fear is ahead of us.
“Their army is bigger than anything I have ever seen”, she whispered. “And they are already marching.”
Gandalf laid his hand on her shoulder and leaned toward her, bringing his face inches from hers.
“Aliana, only you have the power of knowing what is coming. I do not ask you to tell Aragorn. Only guide him where guidance is needed. Do you understand?”
“Yes, my lord.”
The others came back into the stable and Gimli took the pail of water to Shadowfax who took a small drink. Gandalf patted Shaowfax’s neck and climbed onto his back. Looking at Aragorn he said, “Look to the east on the fifth day. At dawn you will find me.” Glancing at Aliana he again said to Aragorn, “And keep her close to you.” Looking now to Legolas he said “You must keep her safe. She is the epitamy of Middle Earth and she was brought to us for a reason. Protect her with your life.”
Legolas nodded to the white wizard and Aragorn gave an “I promise”.
In an instant Gandalf was gone.