Fangorn Forest was as dark and bleak as Celeborn had warned them. They were barely inside it and already the sunshine was blocked out. It felt as if the sun had never existed in this place. The three of them were stopped in a small clearing, surrounded by massive trees that made strange underlying sounds.
“What is that noise” asked Gimli.
“The trees are talking to each other” replied Legolas, listening closely.
Aragorn asked “What are they saying?”
Legolas felt as if the trees were trying to tell him something. He listened as intently as he could, trying to catch their message. After several moments, he felt a strange presence coming from in front of him. “This way,” he called to his friends as he started forward.
He weaved in and out of many trees, making his way as lightly as he could, which was not hard for an elf. Gimli did not have as easy of a time. Aragorn found himself helping Gimli to his feet several times before he realized that Legolas, who had been far ahead of them, was stopped in his tracks staring down at the base of a huge tree, seemingly frozen. Aragorn called out to him and broke Legolas from his spell. The elf dropped to his knees. His two comrades knew instantly that he had found something.
As Legolas had walked thru the trees the presence grew stronger. Before he reached the great tree he knew he would find something on the other side. The closer he got, the harder his heart pounded in his chest. “Please let me not be too late”, he whispered to himself.
When he reached the other side of the tree he saw what he knew would be there. Exactly as he had seen in his vision was a woman with long brown hair wearing a light blue Elvin tunic and pants and dark blue boots curled up like an infant. He crouched down and laid his hand on hand on her shoulder but she didn’t move. He moved his hand down her arm and when his hand touched the bare skin of her smooth elf-like hand she started to stir. Aragorn and Gimli came around the tree and saw what had Legolas’ attention.
“Does she live?” asked Gimli.
“Barely. We need to turn her over to see where she is wounded.”
Aragorn quickly scanned the area and found the dead orc lying close by. He ran over and checked to make sure no life remained. When he was satisfied it would not rise again, he returned to help Legolas.
Legolas carefully slid his hands under her body and turned her onto her back. Under his touch her body seemed to relax, letting him lay her out straight. There was no missing the blood on her tunic around the sword wound. He carefully lifted her tunic to get a good look at her wound. “She has been poisoned by an orc blade. I have the herb to heal her. If I can staunch the poison quickly, she will recover.”
“Do you think the trees would afford us a small fire if we use the dead wood on the ground?” asked Gimli, not waiting for an answer to start gathering firewood.
Legolas looked up at the great tree, as it seemed to be talking to him. “Yes, as long as you are careful, they do not mind,” replied Legolas, with a smile on his face. It seemed that this tree cared deeply for this woman.
Aragorn helped Legolas to clean and dress her wound. Then Legolas carried her over to the fire that Gimli had raging where she would be more comfortable. He took off his cloak and covered her with it. Aragorn pulled some lembas out of his pack and handed pieces to his friends. Gimli pulled out his water bag, took a drink and laid back on his makeshift bed that he had already made, content to have the chance to rest.
“What about Merry and Pippin,” wondered Aragorn. “Hopefully she will wake soon and give us good news.”
“Wake up Aliana, you have seen darkness long enough.”
Hearing Galadriel’s voice, Aliana opened her eyes, expecting to be in her own room in her own bed in Caras Galadhon. It only took a moment to realize this was far from the truth. She found herself still in the dark woods. She could see the great tree that allowed her to sleep at its roots, but she was not in the same place where she had fallen asleep. She was nice and warm under a blanket that shrouded her. And she sensed she was not alone. Aliana was afraid to see who was with her. Then thoughts of Merry and Pippin came into her mind and she turned over hoping to see them beside her. A great fire was burning in front of her and on the other side was a small stout being snoring loudly enough to wake anything close. To his left against another tree sat a man with his back against the tree. This man seemed somehow familiar to her. He was also sleeping with his sword by his hand, as if waiting for something fowl to wake him from his slumber.
“You finally wake”, she heard from above her. She looked up to see a man with long blonde hair, his face lighted by the fire looking down on her She knew this face. She was sure she had seen him many times before, but could not place him.
“How do you feel?” he asked her softly, sitting on his knees in front of her. He had his water flask out and held it to her mouth. She drank from it gratefully. She tried to sit up but was stopped by the pain in her side. “Do not try to move. You had much orc poison in your wound. I have gotten all the poison out, but you still need a couple more hours to heal.”
“How did you find me?” Aliana asked.
“We had been tracking 2 hobbits taken by the orcs for 2 days when we came across the place where you had also been taken. After another days tracking we came across the battlefield where the orcs had been slain, and I was compelled to enter the forest and come to this spot. I have seen you in my visions since yesterday morning. I knew we had to hurry.” Legolas stopped there, although he had many questions. He knew he would have plenty of time to receive the answers he looked for.
“Merry and Pippin are your friends?”
“Yes. Are they well?”
“I don’t know. Two orcs followed us into the forest. I saw the hobbits run one way, so I ran the other way hoping to draw the orcs from them. But I was only followed by one.” She stopped for a moment and closed her eyes. When she opened them again she said, “But I think they live.”
Hmm, there is definately more to this mortal than meets the eye, he thought to himself. “I sense the same thing.” He turned to add wood to the fire. It started burning brighter, and as she looked at him, she caught site of his elfish ears. She decided she must have seen him in Lorien, but thought she would have remembered him. Galadriel had something to do with this, she was sure of that.
“My lady, what is your name?”
“Amin Aliana.” She did not want to give more than that. She wanted to say “of Lorien”, but even though Galadriel and the others had treated her as one of them, she knew she wasn’t. She didn’t want to give her new mortal surname. Even though she was mortal, she was never treated as one of her kind. Legolas sensed much turmoil in her. He couldn’t bare to see any more pain in this woman that had been through so much.
“Amin Legolas. Lle varna, Aliana. You are still healing, so you should rest as much as you can till morning. Tomorrow will bring new things for all of us.”
The words “You are safe” rang through her head, and she knew the words were true. Aliana gave Legolas a grateful smile, closed her eyes and drifted off in a peaceful sleep.
Legolas watched her drift off peacefully. He couldn’t help himself as he reached out and smoothed her hair away from her face. As he did, he brushed the soft skin of her cheek with his fingers. Afraid that she would waken, he sat back to finish his watch. He knew there was a reason for their meeting. And he also knew that this reason would be obvious before long. He contented himself to watch her sleep for the rest of the night.