They swiftly ran to the men’s chambers where Gandalf had hidden the palantir. As they reached the room they could hear Merry yelling from inside. They burst through the door, Aragorn entering first. The site before him sent chills down his spine. Pippin was lying on the floor with the palantir frozen in his hands, a terrified look upon his face. Aragorn ran forward and took the palantir into his own hands. He tried to drop it, but it was as if it had been glued to his palms. His hands were being seared by its touch and he saw terrible visions in his mind. Legolas grabbed a cloak and knocked it out of Aragorn’s hands, sending it rolling across the floor. Gandalf had been woken in the midst of the ruckus and burst forth, throwing his cloak over the sphere. He quickly wrapped it up and laid it on his bed. Legolas tended to Aragorn hands and Gandalf went to Pippin’s side, where Merry was trying to help his friend.
“Pippin, what did you see?” inquired the wizard.
“I….saw….” Pippin tightly closed his eyes as tears ran down his face.
“Pippin! What did you see?” Gandalf inquired harder.
“I saw a white tree on fire. The whole city was burning. Gandalf, he spoke to me. He asked me if I was the ring bearer. I did not answer him. I did not tell him about Froto.”
Gandalf sat up and looked at Aragorn and Legolas who were now standing behind him.
“Minas Tirith. His plans are with Minas Tirith. But he did not give up Frodo. We must find King Theoden.”
As Gandalf stood to leave the room, Pippin reached out and grabbed the wizard’s robe.
“Gandalf, wait. There is more. He spoke to someone else.”
“Speak up lad….time is growing short!” Gandalf bade him.
“He spoke of how they hid her from him all these years. He told her now that he had found her, he was coming to claim her. Gandalf, he’s coming for Aliana!”
Before any of them could react, Legolas was halfway down the hall.
Legolas reached the terrace with Aragorn and Gandalf only a few steps behind him. Gimli appeared a moment later. The terrace was empty. “Aliana!” Legolas cried out. He waited for a response, but none came.
“We must find her now,” Gandalf stated. They turned and entered back into the now empty dinner hall. The four men searched the room and all adjoining rooms. When their search turned up empty, they decided to split up. Gandalf and Gimli headed to search the other rooms and Aragorn and Legolas stepped back outside.
They ran to the stables and found a nervous Farion, but no sign of his master. They searched the outbuildings but still found no sign of her. After what felt like forever, Legolas stopped and closed his eyes.
“What do you see?” Aragorn asked.
“She is near.” Legolas slowly started walking, feeling her close. He followed his senses and found himself back on the terrace. He opened his eyes and saw nothing. But he knew she was close. Again he closed his eyes and slowly walked toward the steps. He stopped and honed in on her. He turned and looked at Aragorn. “Follow me.”
He leapt down the stairs and stopped to look behind them. There he saw a small opening that led under the terrace. Legolas crawled into the opening and looked around with his Elvin vision. Halfway across against the wall he saw her lying in a ball. “Aliana,” he calmly called out. She did not move. He reached her as fast as he could. When he laid his hand on her leg he could feel how cold her body was. He grabbed her up into his arms and pulled her out into the open. Aragorn laid his hand on her cheek. “What has he done to my sister?”
“I believe she is in shock. We must get her inside by the fire.”
The two men ran up the stairs, Aliana lying in Legolas’ arms. When they reached the fire still burning in the great hall, Gandalf and Gimli ran to them. Legolas laid her down in front of the fire, and Gandalf took over. He ran his hand over her head.
“He has filled her mind with fear. We must warm her body so she can defeat the lock he has put on her mind.”
Gimli disappeared only to return a moment later with blankets. Aragorn and Legolas were rubbing her arms and legs, trying to get the blood to flow faster. Legolas swept her up into his arms and sat facing the fire. Gimli covered her with a blanket and Legolas rocked her, singing sweetly into her ear.
The Valar shine down
On your beautiful face
Giving me sweet blessings
As you call my name
Come to me my love
Let the prophecy ring true
Evil will rule no more
And we will spend eternity
In each other’s embrace.
She stirred in his arms. Finally she opened her eyes.
“He is gone,” she managed to say.
“Yes, he is gone,” Gandalf agreed.
Legolas sat with her in his arms and proceeded to let her know that she was safe and he would protect her. She wrapped her arms around his neck and snuggled into him. Once she fell peacefully asleep, he laid her down in front of the fire to keep her warm. Then he joined the rest who were talking on the other side of the fire. Legolas moved to a spot where he could watch her. Gandalf was speaking.
“He will come for her. It will make it harder for us to do what needs to be done, but we must protect her. If she falls into his hands, the prophecy will never be fulfilled.”
“If Sauron is waging war on Minas Tirith, then let us go to Minas Tirith. Is there nowhere safe for my sister?” Aragorn asked worriedly.
“Yes, Aragorn. She is safe by my side. By our side. I promised you I would protect her. I still stand on that promise,” Legolas solemnly replied.
“Then that is settled. Next we must meet with King Theoden. We must talk him into taking a stand at Minas Tirith. It will take all of mankind to win this battle.” Gandalf’s worries for middle earth came through in his tone.
Aliana’s eyes were closed but she was far from asleep. She laid next to the fire listening to the words being spoken from the other side of the flames. It worried her that they were so worried about her. She thought back on the night’s events. She envisioned the private moment between herself and the elf prince and thought on how their love for each other had been proclaimed. She remembered the terrifying feeling that suddenly came over her. The next thing she knew she was standing alone on the terrace with an evil entity entering her mind, telling her she would be his. She had tried to hide from it, but it had hauntingly laughed at her. It told her it was coming for her. It told her it would kill any who tried to stand in the way. And she believed it. If it was going to find her, she vowed to herself that no one she loved would lose their life on her account. Aliana could hear them making plans to keep her with them. She would not let them make that decision. She would not let them die. She knew what she had to do.
Gandalf, Aragorn and Gimli left to speak to the king. Legolas came back to Aliana’s side and swept her up into his arms. Gracefully he carried her back to her room. He laid her on the bed and gently covered her with the blanket lying at her feet. He sat by her side and lovingly stroked her hair, thinking back on the moments they had shared on the terrace. He felt great love and heartache at the same time. He knew he had found his love to share eternity with, but at the same time it was written that they would be parted for many human lifetimes before their eternity would start. As he stared down on her beautiful face he prayed to Iluvatar that he could keep her safe through this war. If he failed, they would not see eternity. What lay ahead seemed impossible. But he knew he loved her more than he ever thought was possible for anyone to feel. And he knew that his love was strong because it was the only thing that would keep her alive.
Legolas felt a shiver run through Aliana’s body. He looked toward the window and noticed a cold breeze was blowing in through the open shutters. He stood and walked to the window, pausing a moment to look upon the stars one more time for the night. He then closed the shutters and walked to the fireplace, stoking the embers until a bright fire was once again burning. As he was placing another log on the fire, the door quietly opened bringing Aragorn into the room. He strolled over to the fireplace and spoke quietly to Legolas.
“King Theoden has agreed to march if the beacons are lit. Gandalf leaves in the morning for Minas Tirith and we have been instructed to stay with the king.” Looking toward his sister he asked, “How does she fare?”
“She has been sleeping peacefully. If the nightmares do not come, she should be back to herself in the morning.” Legolas had many concerns but was afraid to voice them. He was afraid that saying them aloud would bring them closer to reality. Deciding to keep them to himself he finished, “I will stay by her side tonight. You should get your rest, my friend. We must be ready for what he throws at us.”
Aragorn nodded. He walked over to the bed and leaned down, kissing Aliana’s forehead. He stood and stared at her for a moment, etching her face into his memory. He was worried about her. He was worried that they would fail in keeping her out of Sauron’s hands. He felt like every moment he had with her now could be his last. Hearing Legolas step up behind him, he finally turned his attention from his little sister. “I leave her in your protection, Legolas.” With a nod from the elf prince, Aragorn turned and left the two of them alone.