I had been forced to slip out, but I had done it. Now I just had to find Firdon. I knew he was around here somewhere . . .
There he was.
I joined him and we began to walk. [You wished to speak to me?]
[Yes, I . . .] He was very nervous. I was certain now what this was about. [I have waited for you since you left,] he informed me.
I sighed inwardly. It was exactly what I had been afraid of. [Firdon . . . why? We are not betrothed.]
He stopped and grabbed my shoulders, forcing me to face him. [I want you to be my wife.]
To my surprise, I found myself blinking back tears. The others I had been involved with had never gotten this far and it was a new experience. I would have to watch what I said, for both of us, even if he was a complete fool. So I hugged him, resting my chin on his shoulder as his arms hesitantly went around me.
[I am so very sorry, Firdon,] I murmured. [But I cannot be what you want me to be. I never could.]
[What is it?] he asked desperately. [I will change it!]
I shook my head. [No, Firdon. It is not that simple. Our hearts, our minds, are not matched. We would be miserable.] He opened his mouth to make further promises, but I placed my fingers against his lips, silencing him. [Please, Firdon, do not make this any more difficult. I wish for us to part as friends.] Even if you are a total fool and deserve no such favor from me.
He bowed his head in defeat. [And so I am denied,] he murmured. [. . . Very well, then, Lady Kyshri.] He started to walk away, but I kept hold of him and drew him back to kiss his cheek. He smiled a little. [If I may be so bold as to ask for another such kiss?]
What could it hurt, right? So I kissed him. Or rather, I let him kiss me. He did not try to take more out of it than I would give and I silently thanked him for that. Then he simply turned and walked away. I was going the other way when—
[Kyshri!] I looked over to where Firdon was standing at the head of a path, looking over at me. [Once you complete you quest, return to Lorien. I wish to have more time to speak with you.]
I nodded and we continued on our separate ways. It was not until I was nearly home that I began to cry; the rain, though I usually enjoyed it, only added to my dismal mood. And to my surprise, I was greeted as I entered the door. Haldir never actually said anything, he just tossed a heavy blanket around my shoulders and guided me back to my room where Lord Celeborn had already fallen asleep on the edge of my bed.
Haldir grumbled something about lazy elves and shoved him quite uncerimoniously out of the way so I could sit and then sat beside me. [Is there anything you wish to speak of?]
I broke into fresh tears and snuggled against him. [I did not know it would be so hard . . .]
He kissed my head and then tucked it, wet as it was, under his chin. [But at least you had the courage to say it. So many have not and come to rue the decision. He will understand in due time, perhaps even thank you later.]
[True enough, true enough.] Lord Celeborn’s hand took mine and I twisted to peer back over my shoulder at him. He smiled softly. [If your heart cannot accept him, you should not pretend it can. You may regret it now, but it will do you well in the future.]
Their counsel expunged my sadness, but my happiness was not to last for long. Haldir drew my attention again. [Legolas wishes to speak with you.]
Not him too. I did not know if I could deny Legolas if he asked the same thing of me–did not know if my will was strong enough for a second denial.
Both read my face. [It is not that,] Lord Celeborn assured me.
[Most certainly not,] Haldir agreed. [He will speak with you whenever it is to your convenience.]
[I can speak with him now.]
[You will not,] Haldir reprimanded me sternly. [You are ill and you need your rest. You can speak with him later.]
I could not recall protesting as I must have, much less falling asleep. But when I next woke I found myself half on my back, half on my side, surrounded by males. Lord Celeborn was on my right, Haldir on my left, and Legolas, who had managed to sneak into the room without waking me, had one arm flung loosely over my legs and was using my hip for a pillow just as he had in Moria. It was apparently very comfortable.
Then I saw the real reason for my awakening.
Unable to move without waking any of them, I settled for a respectful murmur. [Lady Galadriel.]
She smiled. [They fretted while you were gone.]
I sighed. [I am sorry for leaving.]
[I foresaw it,] she informed me. [I was not surprised as they were.]
[Are you not angry?] I persisted, confused. [You convinced Lord Celeborn to appoint me a consort . . .]
[I saw your restlessness. I knew you would not stay, but I knew that you would return when you did leave us.]
[What of that wisdom you said I had?]
[You have it, or you would not now be sorry for leaving. You know more of the world than you are aware of, Kyshri, and that will serve you well on the quest you have joined.]
I succeeded in wriggling into a half sitting position, trying to keep from disturbing Legolas. [What do you mean?]
[You have powers you can call upon,] was the answer. [You are a magus; the world itself is at your command. Through the Element Keepers you could control the world as a whole, but you have the wisdom not to.] She frowned. [But you must be cautious. Even if you do not know your own powers, evil does. It has no misgivings with the decision to exploit your abilities. Protect yourself.]
And then, as is her way, she relaxed and smiled again. [Do you think you can get away from them?]
Of course I could. Legolas was only a bit of a challenge. I slid a hand beneath his head and one beneath his shoulder and lifted him gently, moving out of the way and then setting him down again. He stirred but did not wake and I slipped off the bed, flipping my now dry blanket under his head as a pillow since I had been asleep long enough to be mostly dry myself.
[It is rare to have so many unrelated males so devoted to one female,] Lady Galadriel remarked. [They would give their lives for you without thought.]
I turned to look at the bed and the three who napped on it. [I hope that loyalty must never be tested.]
[Do not cause anything to warrant it.] I looked at her and she tilted her head. [Let us go.]
I followed her from the house, pausing to tell the hobbits–who were playing a simple elven game someone must have taught them–where I would be and to not let Legolas panic, for he surely would.
Lady Galadriel led me to her private garden and down into the hollow, where her mirror sat. I hesitated, for I had never wished to look in the mirror before and I had no desire to now. I did not wish to see my parents or Veikai or what happenings were in store for the fellowship.
[The wisdom of caution,] she told me approvingly. [Come to the mirror. I see your fear of the Fellowship’s future; it will fail. But the mirror shows only one possible outcome when there are many.]
[I do not like such things that allow one to see what was, is, or will be.]
[But you do not deny your curiosity?]
[I do not.]
[Then look this once, if never again. Viewing what could be may help you in choosing your future path.]
I consented, stepping up to the pedestal on which the mirror sat. She poured the water and I peered in cautiously. First, naturally, I saw a brief glimpse of my parents long ago, both alive and happy. Then it changed to the present, with everyone in Haldir’s house asleep but the hobbits and Sulaine’s slow but steady rebuilding of Veikai. Finally, the future was shown to me. And as Lady Galadriel had said, the Fellowship had been broken.
All four hobbits were treking through Mordor alone, though how they got that way was not shown to me, and the rest were in a forest near what appeared to be the Gap of Rohan, as though they might be moving to Isengard. I was not with them and I had yet to see myself, but when I noticed that Legolas–who was strangely dispirited–had my weapons matched with his I knew then that I was dead, killed by something previously . . . orcs most likely.
And then I watched as one-by-one, all of them were slain. Pippin, Boromir, Merry, Gimli, Sam . . . I observed impassively until it focused on Legolas. He fought well to survive but without heart; when he was captured he did not resist, even as the lead orc strung an arrow at him, scant inches from his forehead. He merely closed his eyes . . .
The mirror abruptly went blank–though it usually did not unless the viewer looked away–as though sparing me the rest. But unless something drastic occurred, I knew well what would happen. [Legolas . . .]
Lady Galadriel laid a hand on my shoulder. [Remember, that is only one outcome. You have the ability to change what will be.]
[But how do I know what it is that I am not supposed to do?!] I cried. [I only know that I am dead then, not how or why!]
[You will know,] was the cryptic response. [Give thought to each action before you execute it. You will know.] She paused and looked up momentarily. [I will be grateful if you will join me for a task of which I ask your aid.]
Who was I to say no?
He woke suddenly, at first unsure of the reason. Then the dream came rushing back in a torrent of images; Kyshri’s death, which he had seen in Galadriel’s mirror, in frightening detail. Killed by an orc, sliced down the spine with the spike at the end of its iron blade. He knew it was only a possibility, but it was a possibility too near his heart. He would have to be very careful.
He then noticed that Kyshri was gone, but it did not concern him as it might have normally, even with the dream fresh in his memory. This was her home and she surely knew her way without needing him to hold her hand.
[She snuck off again,] Haldir muttered, sitting up and yawning politely behind his hand.
[I made sure to sleep lightly!] Celeborn growled, sitting bolt upright and scowling out the window at the setting sun. [How could she have gotten away from both of us?!]
[The three of us,] Haldir corrected, looking at Legolas. [Did you see her?]
The Mirkwood elf shook his head.
[Maybe we are getting old, Celeborn.]
Celeborn whirled angrily on his friend. [Old! Old, am I?!] was the snarled response. [I will have you know that I am not a year over eight-thousand-seventy-four, thank you!]
[Oh, I beg your pardon,] Haldir shot back sarcastically. [You look so much older than you actually are that I—]
[Do you hunger for exile?!]
They glared at each other for a long while, then slowly began to laugh.
Legolas took a breath. It was reassuring that they were not worried about her either. It made his concern irrational and he was able to push it aside. This was Lorien, the oldest and most powerful elven settlement and far less likely to fall to darkness than any of the others. Kyshri was safe.
The door opened and the female in question entered. She smiled at them, but a shadow in her eyes seemed to negate it. [Up, are you?] She focused on Legolas. [You wished to speak to me?]
He nodded. Haldir and Lord Celeborn rose and started to move past me, but stopped. Lord Celeborn tilted my head up with the side of his finger and examined my face. [Are you well?] he asked gently.
[Of course she is not!] Haldir replied. [She is ill!] Then he took a closer look at me and asked, [Are you well?]
Lord Celeborn snorted and looked at me again. [It was the mirror, was it not?]
I gave a half nod. He let me go, kissed my head comfortingly, and exited the room. Haldir did the same, closing the door securely after him. I beckoned Legolas to join me on the balcony and leaned on its rail, staring thoughtfully across the plain at the setting sun. [Yes?]
[I was going to ask you if you had looked in the mirror, but I suppose my question has been answered.]
[What more did you want to ask me?]
He seemed surprised that I knew he had more inquiries. [What you saw, if you are willing to share it.]
You know what’s really weird? I wrote this Tale long before I saw TTT and it wasn’t until after the movie, when I was reading over this a few months before now, that I realized that Legolas’s vision of Kyshri’s death is almost exactly the same as Haldir’s is in the movie. Isn’t that creepy?