Change One Thing, See What Happens

Paradox of the Fourth Age

2. Chapter 1: Daughter of the House of the Golden Flower

A/N Melethen - My love
Melethrilen - my beloved -feminine
Melethronen - my beloved -masculine
Meleth i guilen - love of my life
Laurëanna – Golden Gift
Indil – Iris

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10th Day of April
Fourth Age, Year 24
Grey Havens

Glorfindel walked to the stables to retrieve his pack, leaving King Thranduil and Lord Círdan inside Círdan's halls. He was glad to have a moment to himself. He was frustrated that Lord Elrond was sending him to Aman with the first ship rather than allowing him to stay here to help defend his people. But it was crucial for the elves with Glorfindel to make it safely to the Grey Havens and the Lord of Imladris trusted no other.

Most of the Lórien elves that remained in Imladris had been in that company, though Lady Galadriel insisted on staying behind until everyone else had left. She was more worried about her people than herself, and in truth, of all the elves in Middle Earth, the Lothlórien elves had suffered the most. It was therefore decided that they should go to Valinor first before all others, and Glorfindel and Thranduil were to speak for those remaining elves in Middle Earth.

"Lord Glorfindel, I did not see you."

Looking up, he saw a petite elleth that seemed familiar to him. She smiled warmly at him and he was struck by the way her eyes lit up when she smiled.

"Yes, I had one more thing to retrieve. I am sorry, I cannot remember your name," Glorfindel said softly, watching her as she began unbridling her horse.

"I do not know if you ever knew my name. We have only met one time. I was working with Lord Círdan on some scrolls when you arrived once before." Turning to him, she said, "My name is Indil."

Glorfindel nodded with a slight smile. He was not one to make idle conversation and struggled with it. In Imladris, many had thought him withdrawn and shy, others had even gone so far as to think him standoffish. He was none of these things, he just preferred to stay quiet unless he had something worthwhile to say rather than chatter as some did.

Indil watched him subtly as she was brushing her horse down. She remembered him very well for he was perhaps the most handsome ellon she had ever seen. He was renowned for his bravery and heroic deeds but to her, he was simply beautiful. The way he radiated power was erotic. Blushing as if he could hear her thoughts, she turned away. When she accidentally knocked over a stool with a large metal bucket, it made such a racket it startled her horse. The horse tossed his head to the side, knocking against her, and Indil began to fall.

Moments before she hit the ground, perhaps getting trampled by her own horse, Glorfindel caught her and pulled her away from the horse. As soon as she regained her footing, Glorfindel began to sooth the horse. She watched in awe of his tender yet firm control of the animal. The horse finally calmed down and Glorfindel turned back to her.

"Are you hurt?" he asked, concerned.

Not trusting herself to speak, she shook her head. Glorfindel watched her a moment for any signs of injury, but seeing none, he removed his pack from the ground where he had dropped it. Turning back to her, he noticed she was still watching him quite intently. She was a little pale as if frightened.

"Perhaps you would like me to put your horse in his stall," he offered. She nodded with a weak smile.

"I feel he likes you more than he does me right now," she teased softly. He led the horse into the stall, patting his muzzle soothingly.

Returning to her, he smiled. "He seems a little temperamental."

"Yes, he is quite temperamental indeed. But I shall miss him," she replied sadly.

"Do you leave on the ship with us?" he asked.

"Yes. Círdan wanted me to take some scrolls that he does not wish to be left behind. He will be sending someone from the village on each ship until the final one when the remainder will leave. I am ready to go though; this world is harsh and evil. It is hard to remember why we continue trying each day to even make it through," she said as they began to walk towards Círdan's house.

Her searching glance found his eyes and the deep hurt within the azure depths was clear. "I need some peace as well, even though I have not suffered as some of the others," she continued. "My heart breaks each time I see one of the Lórien elves. I feel guilty that we in Mithlond have suffered the least. Other than a few unorganized attempts of Saruman's forces, we have been spared."

Glorfindel looked at her in surprise. "Do not feel guilt for what is comforting to all of us. I fear that if the Grey Havens fell, the elves of Middle Earth would lose all hope. No, do not feel guilt. The elves here have welcomed the ones I bring with me with warmth and solace that was much needed."

Indil was quiet. She looked over at him a few times as if gathering her courage.

"What of you, Lord Glorfindel? Why does a brave and honorable warrior carry such guilt after all that you have done?"

Glorfindel smiled sadly and looked out to the ocean. They both walked in silence for a moment.

"Forgive me, I should have not been so forward," Indil said, embarrassed.

"No. I am not offended by what you said, it's just…" Glorfindel looked at her. "I do not know how to answer."

"Just be honest: I am not judging you. Besides, I do not know you well enough to think anything you say is odd," Indil smiled.

Glorfindel chuckled. The sound seemed strange to his ears and he realized he had not laughed in so long it sounded foreign.

"Obviously Lord Elrond trusts you to have given you such an important duty." She saw a flicker of emotion across his eyes, a cross between hurt and frustration. She wanted to bite her tongue. Everything she said seemed to be wrong.

"Lord Glorfindel, once again, forgive me. It appears I am incapable of saying anything right tonight," Indil sputtered with a blush burning her cheeks.

Glorfindel looked over and realized how uncomfortable he had made her. He had not realized he had betrayed his emotion about her last comment but she had obviously detected something. He wondered how he could make her feel less awkward.

"Indil, please, there is no need to apologize. You have neither offended me nor appeared forward. Apparently, I am incapable of making elf maidens feel anything but discomfort," Glorfindel teased with a slight smile.

'He is making this elf maiden feel a lot more than just discomfort,' Indil thought but managed not to say.

"Perhaps we should start again." Indil stopped in the middle of the path and looked at him. When he stopped, she said, "I am most honored to meet you, Lord Glorfindel."

In very uncharacteristic behavior, Glorfindel smiled at her warmly as he said, "It is truly my honor, Lady Indil."

The two stood quiet for a moment before he walked her home and she shyly wished him a good night.

Over the next two days, as the elves made the final preparations to leave for Aman, Indil saw Glorfindel frequently and found herself unable to keep from watching him. He always seemed to be working harder or longer than everyone else, and though he hovered on the fringes of the tight knit group of elves that had come with him, he was most often alone. She could not understand why he seemed to exclude himself so much.

The night before they sailed to Aman, Indil caught sight of him as she walked home. Glorfindel had removed his shirt and tied his hair back to keep it from interfering as he loaded various items on the ship. In the setting sun, he was quite a vision and she stopped to watch him. His skin had the barest glisten of sweat across his muscular upper body. Indil felt herself blushing. Again. It seemed that Lord Glorfindel had caused more blushes in two days than anyone else had in all of her life.

"Perhaps Lord Glorfindel could use some refreshment." Lord Círdan's voice caused her to jump.

Looking at him guiltily, Indil was mortified that he was smirking at her. She opened her mouth to say something to imply she was not doing what he thought she was. Realizing she was not that good of a liar, she shut her mouth. When he chuckled, she wished she could just disappear.

"Lady Indil, I have never seen you at a loss for words. Are you well? Perhaps someone should go in your place tomorrow if you feel you are not well enough to go."

Círdan could not quite conceal his amusement. He had known Indil all of her life and he had never seen her act this flustered or guilty before. Despite the seriousness of the time, it was refreshing to see something so simple as the innocent infatuation of an elleth. It particularly touched his heart that her interest had fallen upon Glorfindel. His dear friend needed some happiness even if it was just the simple admiration of a beautiful elleth. Handing Indil a flagon of cool water, he nodded towards Glorfindel.

Taking the water, Indil walked down the planks to the ship, trying to calm her breathing as she approached. By the time she reached him, she finally felt somewhat under control.

"Lord Glorfindel, you look hot and lonely. Perhaps you are in need of a moment's respite so you can cool down." Indil almost choked when she realized what she had just said and unable to speak, she thrust the water towards him.

Indil began to giggle uncontrollably. The giggle quickly grew into laughter and she had to look away from him, trying to compose herself. When she turned back around, amusement marked his expression and she pointedly turned away to gaze out at the ocean. She watched him out of the corner of her eye as he drank some water. He was a beautiful sight. Of course, as if she had not made enough of a fool of herself, he caught her watching him.

Glorfindel was intrigued. He did not know Indil well enough to know if she normally was this easy to embarrass or set off into giggles. He had seen her often during the previous two days and she looked as if she was very serious when working. She had a cheerful and warm personality and appeared very self-confidant, so he did not understand why she seemed less so with him. When he caught her looking at him, he grinned to himself.

Trying to figure out a way to recover herself and seeing none, Indil smiled when he returned the water to her and said goodnight. Walking away as quickly as she could, Indil tried to regain some of her dignity, which she had managed to lose entirely in the last couple of days.

Glorfindel smiled as he watched her leave. He would have stopped her but felt uncomfortable doing so. Besides they would be leaving midday tomorrow; perhaps he could get to know this mysterious elleth on the ship.

~~~~~

The following night, Glorfindel came upon Indil sitting by herself on the deck. Even with just the moonlight on her, he could see how sad she was. After a moment, he realized that she was crying, her eyes fixed upon the horizon. He debated whether he should speak to her or leave her to her own thoughts, but though he normally would not have gone to comfort a relative stranger, she seemed so alone. Drawn to her despite his natural reservations, Glorfindel approached her.

"Lady Indil, are you well?" he said softly as he sat beside her on the bench.

Indil tried to smile and dismiss his concerns, but she took one look in his eyes and could not. Lowering her head, her quiet sobs continued. She felt him gently take her hand and she looked at him.

"What is it?" Glorfindel asked gently.

"It is just difficult. I feel so terrible about it all. As we were leaving today, I was so relieved to leave, yet I feel guilty that I was able to and so many were not. I will miss my friends and Lord Círdan. I always thought I would be going to the Undying Lands because the sea called me, not because all elves were being forced to leave Middle Earth. I just feel so selfish and petty because I am feeling sorry for myself while others on board have lived through a nightmare. There are those we have left behind who might not make it to Aman at all and so many who have died before they ever had a chance to leave. I have had the good fortune of leaving early, and here I am, crying and whining to you like a spoilt child. I thought I would feel happy to be away but I just feel…" Indil drifted off.

"Alone?" Glorfindel asked after a few moments.

Indil nodded sadly. They sat there for a long time in silence. Eventually, she looked up at him with a weak smile and saw the depth of sadness in his eyes. They had slowly gravitated towards each other and were now sitting very close together. Indil felt a rush of warmth course through her body as she realized how little space remained between them. It felt so intimate. Her fingers had intertwined with his and he was lightly stroking the back of her hand with his thumb.

Glorfindel could not explain why it felt as if they had known each other forever when they had spoken only a few times. He felt comfort with her that he had not felt in awhile. Yet that comfort confused him as well. He worried that he was just reacting to the situation of leaving Middle Earth but he felt drawn to her. She had stopped crying and the two of them locked eyes for a few moments. Without even thinking, he leaned towards her and kissed her softly, tasting the salty sea air on her lips.

Indil's heart skipped a beat when he kissed her. It was a light kiss, barely a brush of their lips. His second kiss was longer as his lips danced gracefully against hers, caressing and teasing her lips. She felt herself melt into him as he brought his hand to cradle her head and boldly brought her closer to him. His kiss was as he was: powerful, sensual, erotic. Indil felt as if she was on fire yet she did not want to move away from the burning heat.

Indil opened her mouth slightly and Glorfindel plunged his tongue into the hot depths of her mouth. Following his lead, she caressed his tongue with her own, her arm wrapping around his waist as their embrace became more heated. He felt passion flood his whole body as he took possession of her lips.

Suddenly, Glorfindel was aware that they were no longer alone and pulled away from her quickly. Indil looked hurt until she heard the voices as well. Moving slightly apart, they resumed looking out at the ocean while the other elves on the deck walked past and sat nearby. For a long time they sat holding hands and stealing looks at each other wondering what had just transpired between them. And secretly wishing the other elves would leave so they could continue

golden flower


Daughter of the House of the Golden Flower

24th Day of September
Fourth Age, Year 88
Tirion, Aman

~~**~~
The shadows swelled as Glorfindel struggled to see. His heart beat loudly and his breathing was shallow. Círdan looked at him and seemed to call out to Glorfindel, pleading with him to end his misery at last. Glorfindel moved to help his friend only to realize he was meant to observe and suffer, not help. Strong unseen fingers clutched his shoulders, holding him back to watch his friend's agony. Círdan looked as though he had been tortured endlessly until his fëa strained to leave his hröa, to let him fade. Defeat was in his eyes. The elf's once fair face was now lined with age until he was almost unrecognizable.

A movement out of the corner of his vision drew Glorfindel's eyes to a white figure standing helplessly to the side. Although the two were but steps from each other, some unseen barrier prevented Mithrandir from helping Círdan.

Glorfindel struggled in vain to reach his friends, to help them. Mithrandir looked at him sadly.

"He is coming," was all he said before the shadows concealed them both from view.

Suddenly Glorfindel was released and fell to the ground. He was alone in blackness.

~~**~~


Glorfindel jerked awake and sat up straight in bed. He was drenched in sweat and felt like he could not breathe. As he gasped for breath, Indil sat up and grabbed his arm. He looked at her as if he did not recognize her.

"What is it? What is wrong?" she said, concerned. Glorfindel's horrific nightmares had ceased years ago.

Glorfindel struggled to recover and compose himself. Finally, he smiled weakly and gently touched her face.

"'Tis merely a dream. Rest, it is still early," he said as he kissed her lightly.

She lay back down but watched him as he rose to stand at the window, letting the breeze cool his heated skin. When he heard the knock at the door, he jerked around. Grabbing clothes and quickly dressing, he ran to the door. He was surprised to see Eönwë when he opened it.

"Glorfindel, you and your wife are needed at the Ring of Doom today at midday."

Glorfindel did not argue, merely nodded. As Eönwë walked down the path, Glorfindel closed the door and leaned against it.

Once again, he would be asked to sacrifice for the lives of others.

~o~o~o~

Laurëanna opened her eyes and stretched lazily, not wanting to rouse completely yet. Rolling over, she snuggled up against her husband, enjoying the heat of his body. Still sleepy, she unconsciously began to run her fingers through his black mane of hair that draped over his back.

The windows in the bedroom were open and she could hear the birds outside already chirping though the sun had barely risen. The fragrant smell of jasmine was thick in the air, always strongest in the morning. A slight breeze ruffled the billowy curtains making them appear as if dancing. All was peaceful in these morning hours.

Laurëanna lived all of her life in the city of Tirion at the base of the Pelori Mountains. It was a beautiful city of white stone and marble: full of terraces, courtyards, and fountains with crystal steps leading to the city. She spent countless hours lost in the lush gardens, trying to memorize all of the different varieties of flowers. The buildings had a glittering sheen that reflected the sunlight, making them look like jewels against the sky.

There were always musicians and singers in the well-kept streets and the buildings never looked old or run down, for the elves that lived in Tirion took great pride in their wondrous city in the heart of Eldamar. Laurëanna loved everything about the city and could not imagine living anywhere else.

She and Elrohir lived in a beautiful cottage with ivy-covered walls. Throughout the house were arched openings and windows that were kept open most of the time to allow the soft breeze to flood the house with the fragrant scent of the flora encircling their home. Though it was smaller than the homes of their parents, it was perfect for the younger couple. Furthermore, every aspect of the home was lovingly designed to look like Elrohir's former home in Imladris, as it had been during the days of peace. Laurëanna spent weeks with Celebrían drawing out every detail, from the Silverlode Bridge and the flowers and trees that had surrounded the house to the carved headboards over the beds and the furniture in every room.

Before their home, purple wisteria wrapped the archway of pale wood that framed the steps that led towards Tirion, and just beyond was a bridge above a small stream that bubbled over rocks in a soothing cadence. The covered patio, with its fountain, flowerbeds, and statues, all custom made, were identical to that found in the gardens of Imladris. Laurëanna wanted Elrohir to have a piece of the beauty of his childhood home as part of their new life together in Valinor, and she had spent hours planting each flower and tree.

Elrohir loved that his wife had taken such care to design their home with his memories in mind. So like Imladris was their small home that whenever the former residents of the Last Homely House visited, they felt as though they had for a moment stepped back through time. His parents would often visit their home and sometimes disappear only to be found cuddling like they were newly married in the large domed gazebo that Celebrían had once designed herself in their home on Middle Earth. This one was an exact duplicate of the original, lovingly recalled in its every detail.

Elladan spent much of his time in the cottage as well, for though he spent most nights in his father's house to allow the couple plenty of time alone, the twins had not been separated since birth. Laurëanna understood the need for the brothers to spend time together and she loved Elladan dearly, so he had a bedroom there as well and stayed with them two to three nights a week.

As beloved as their private nest was, still they spent countless days along the coast in Alqualondë, where Lady Galadriel had chosen to live. Quite a few friends of both Laurëanna's father and husband lived there, though everyone had been surprised that the Lady of the Golden Wood had elected to settle on the coast rather than inland with her family.

Swan Manor, as Galadriel's home was called, had outside walls covered in shells and pearls from the sea. The translucent layers made Swan Manor iridescent and depending on the sun's rays upon it, the manor appeared various shades the soft jewel tones of ruby, opal, jade, and sapphire. Laurëanna was awed by the splendor of the manor. She and Elrohir had spent many hours walking through the courtyards filled with marble statues and fountains overlooking the ocean below.

The Terrace of the Sea, on the back of Swan Manor, was also encrusted with sea shells that had washed up on the Bay of Eldamar's shores and had been gathered and painstakingly affixed to the terrace. The terrace had the finest view of the ocean in all of Aman, save that from Oiolossë on Mount Taniquetil. The island of Tol Eressëa did not block the view of the perfect crystal cerulean waters that shimmered in the sun. Its glowing orb appeared to melt into the water each night, and to Laurëanna, it was the most romantic place in Valinor and she would sit snuggled in Elrohir's embrace in the evening hours watching the sunset. Though Galadriel visited her children and grandchildren in Tirion frequently, Laurëanna and Elrohir traveled to Swan Manor at least once a month, enjoying the long, white, sandy beaches as well as the hidden coves.

Laurëanna smiled in memory of the last time they had been there. They had ridden horses along the pale shores until the sun had melted into the sea, and they had stopped in a very secluded area and made love for hours before falling asleep on the beach. The sounds of the ocean's waves crashing against the shore had made her feel so peaceful she had not wanted to go back to Galadriel's manor the next morning.

Thoughts of that night made her very aware of her husband's soft skin against hers. He was facing away from her so she ran her hands over his solid muscular back down to his perfectly sculpted behind. Her husband's body made her burn with desire. Moving his thick hair away, she began to kiss his neck. She wrapped her arm around his chest then lightly nibbled along his shoulder.

"Laurëanna, you are insatiable," he mumbled, still half asleep.

She giggled. "You have not complained so far. Why would you start now?"

"It was not a complaint, merely an observation." He pulled her hand from his chest and kissed her palm.

Elrohir rolled on his back and rubbed his gray eyes that were still clouded with sleep. Laurëanna put her head on his shoulder and draped her leg across his. His young wife had more passion in her than he had ever thought possible. He sometimes thought that her calm demeanor and serene quality caused her desire to increase rather than her temper to flare. He was quite happy with this. He had a beautiful passionate wife who rarely showed any anger. While her heart was tender and loving like her mother, she did inherit Glorfindel's stubborn streak and resolve. Elrohir's hotheaded temper had greatly calmed since he came to Valinor and met her. Luckily for both of them, they rarely disagreed. It could prove to be disastrous with his temper and her obstinacy.

All of his life in Middle Earth had been focused on protecting those he loved; this duty had been foremost in his heart and he had become a skilled and valiant warrior. It had taken him some time before he had grown accustomed to the peacefulness of Aman. She, on the other hand, had grown up here. She had been born while he was still in Middle Earth trying to survive and she was very young and untainted by the darkness that they had all seen. He had been drawn to those qualities, which were like a soothing balm on his wounded heart.

Elrohir had never intended to marry, but he now knew that his delay had been fated, for she was the one he truly was destined to be with for the rest of eternity. She had seen past his hard exterior to his fëa and fallen deeply in love with him, much to his surprise and her father's horror.

Elrohir smiled, remembering Glorfindel's face when Laurëanna had told him they wished to be bound. He had looked at Elrohir as if he wanted to crush him. That Glorfindel had known him his whole life had not helped Elrohir gain approval to romance his daughter. It was not until he saw how happy his daughter was that he finally accepted Elrohir as her betrothed.

The union delighted his parents, however. Not only did they love Laurëanna; they had also given up on either of their sons finally marrying. Unfortunately for Elladan, they now wished for both sons to be happily married. Celebrían had not ceased to introduce him to every unmarried elleth she knew. Lord Elrond did not concern himself with the matchmaking but he did wish for Elladan to join his brother in wedded bliss. He wished to see both of his sons happy after the somber life they had lived.

While it had taken Glorfindel some time to warm to the idea his daughter was in love with one of the twin terrors, her mother, Indil, had been unreservedly thrilled. She knew her daughter's heart and much like hers had been drawn to Glorfindel's troubled and tired fëa, Laurëanna was drawn to Elrohir's wounds as well. While both brothers had changed over time, the biggest change had been seen in Elrohir since meeting Laurëanna. He had always been the more serious and solitary one, despite his quick temper, and all the more so since his mother's capture and torture by orcs.

Almost from the second they met, Laurëanna had been drawn to Elrohir. The very day she met him, she had told her mother, away from her father's prying ears, that one day she would win his love. She did not care about how many years separated them. He could have been older than her father and she would not have cared. Glorfindel would have been quite happy for her to stay away from all males entirely.

Laurëanna could tell the twins apart within hours of knowing them while some that had known them their whole lives could not tell. They were as different as night and day to her. Although he had tried, Elladan had not been able to fool her as of yet. Whether he was slapped or not for his efforts depended on the manner in which he tested her. He had stopped his many attempts to kiss her in an effort of deception after she bit him on the lip. Luckily for him, Elrohir just shook his head and sighed at his brother's pitiful obsession. After awhile, everyone began to tell her just to feign a blunder so Elladan would stop.

"If he wants to continue to make a fool of himself, so be it. I will not look like a fool so that he may stop." Laurëanna flatly refused.

Of course, Elladan's remarks were similar. "She will make a mistake one day and I shall never let her forget it."

Everyone felt that since she had grown up without siblings and he had lost his younger sister, the two of them had been drawn together in a bond as strong as her love for her husband. They teased each other mercilessly yet everyone knew their genuine fondness for each other. Their relationship had been a blessing to both of the brothers due to their closeness and need to remain so. Once they were married, everyone was happy with the bond the two families shared.

Elrohir soon noticed that Laurëanna's hand was stroking his chest steadily moving downwards. Chuckling, he waited until she raised her face to him with her deep blue eyes looking so very innocent.

"Why are you chuckling? What do you find so humorous?"

"Your attempts at being subtle are quite humorous." Elrohir smiled as he lowered his lips to hers.

Rolling on his side, Elrohir buried his hands in her golden hair and pulled her close to him as he sought out the warmth of her mouth against his. As always, their kisses ignited a flame of desire in both of them that soon raged out of control. As his tongue moved against hers, his hand slipped down her back to her bottom. Her hand came to rest on his hip, lightly pulling him to her.

Fully aroused, Elrohir was intent on making love to his wife when they heard a loud knock on their front door.

"Ignore it. It is Elladan. Only my fool brother would knock on anyone's door this early in the morning," he whispered as his hands roamed her body.

Once again the knock came even louder. Laurëanna giggled seeing the look on Elrohir's face. He tried yet again to ignore it but the third knock seemed loud enough for the neighbors to hear and he rolled on his back while groaning in frustration. Getting off the bed, he grabbed a pair of leggings off the chair and jerked them on. Then he yanked a tunic off a chair on the way out of the bedroom putting it on while storming down the hall.

"If someone is not dead, I am going to kill him," Elrohir seethed. He jerked open the door to see a very surprised Eönwë.

"Yes?" Elrohir asked as he quickly tempered his look. His mind could not comprehend any reason why the Maia would be there.

"I bring a message from Manwë that you and Glorfindel's daughter are to be at Máhanaxar at midday today for a council of the Ainur," Eönwë said, matter of factly.

"Do you know what is this about?" Elrohir asked, confused. There was absolutely no reason why the Ainur would want to see the two of them.

"I was asked to deliver the message to you but I cannot discuss this matter any further."

"To whom else you have given this message?" Elrohir persisted, trying to gain more information.

"It is not my place to say," Eönwë answered in a tone that did not allow for any more questions. "Will both of you be there at midday?"

"Of course," Elrohir said respectfully with a nod.

Eönwë turned and walked away leaving a puzzled Elrohir in the doorway. Closing the door, Elrohir's mind raced as to what this summons could be about. Practically running down the hall, he burst into the bedroom causing Laurëanna to sit up quickly.

"What has happened? Is someone hurt?" she asked as she left the bed.

"No. No one is hurt. The Ainur have summoned us to Máhanaxar at midday. You need to dress quickly so we can go to see your father. Perhaps he knows something about this. If not, surely my father would know," Elrohir explained, rushing around the room gathering his clothes so he could dress as soon as he bathed.

"Elrohir, what are you talking about?" Laurëanna put on a robe as she watched her husband as if he had gone mad.

"Laurëanna, I do not know anymore than what I have told you. Eönwë has summoned us to the Ring of Doom at midday to meet with the Ainur. I do not know why. I just know we need to get bathed and dressed very quickly so we can go to your father's then my father's if Glorfindel knows nothing of this meeting," Elrohir replied, shortly as he was walking out of the room.

After he was ready and waiting impatiently for her, she was still trying to decide which gown to wear. Her stomach was in knots and her hands were shaking. She had no idea what she should wear to an event like this. It is not as if the Valar were inviting them over for tea. They were being summoned to the Ring of Doom. She did not know of anyone being summoned there other than her father when he had returned from Middle Earth and rarely Lord Elrond or Lady Galadriel were summoned to meet with the Maiar. The Valar did not send for many elves to attend their councils, certainly not elves like she and Elrohir. She could not imagine what this was about.

Looking up, she saw an exasperated Elrohir in the doorway.

"Laurëanna, perhaps you misunderstood when I said we needed to hurry."

"Elrohir, I do not know what to wear. I do not want to appear improper by wearing the wrong dress."

Rolling his eyes and sighing, Elrohir walked to the closet and moved her clothes around. Jerking a gown out of the closet, he handed it to her.

"Do not argue. We do not have time. Wear this one," Elrohir said. When she opened her mouth, he quickly cut her off. "It will be more improper for us to be late than it would be for you to wear the wrong gown. Now as I said before, hurry."

Gritting her teeth at the fact he was treating her like a child, Laurëanna snatched the gown from his hands.

Elrohir watched her long enough to make sure she did not start trying to find another gown and was actually getting dressed in the one he had chosen. He ignored her looks of annoyance. If he were not looking right at it, he would not have remembered the color of the gown. He had merely chosen the one that had the least amount of things for her to fiddle with. Laurëanna had a tendency to be restless when she was nervous and he did not want to give her a gown that gave her hands adornments to toy with.

Hearing a knock at the door, he left her dressing and walked back down the hall. Opening the door less forcefully, he was glad to see Elladan in the doorway this time.

"I think that is the first time you have opened the door without glaring at me." Elladan smirked.

"Did you come to test my abilities at opening doors or just my patience?" Elrohir cocked his head to the side as he leaned against the doorframe.

"At least with the glares, I am allowed into the house." Elladan smiled. Elrohir sighed and moved out of the doorway to permit Elladan to come into the house.

"Elladan, we do not have time to visit right now."

"Perhaps you were going to see Glorfindel or father about Eönwë's summons," Elladan said, no longer smiling.

"You were told to be there as well?" Elrohir asked.

"No, I believe I was the only one not invited. Father and mother have both been asked as well as Galadriel. She is on her way here already as she was the first told. Eönwë also told father that King Thranduil and Tavaril as well as Glorfindel and Indil have all been summoned."

"What could this possibly be in reference to?" Laurëanna asked as she walked into the room. Elladan smiled and hugged her quickly.

"Let us discuss this on the way to your father's," Elrohir said, grabbing her hand as he opened the door.

The three of them walked quickly through the town barely noticing others passing them by on the walkways. Both sets of parents lived on the other side of the city. Elrond had sent Elladan to notify them that he was going to Glorfindel's house and to meet them there.

Walking into her parent's house, Laurëanna was greeted by her obviously concerned mother.

"Oh, I am so glad you are all here now. Your father is wearing a hole in the floor with his pacing," Indil said kissing her daughter. She gave each of the twins a fond embrace.

Walking into the sitting room, Laurëanna walked to her father.

"Ada, what is the meaning of this meeting? Do you know?" Glorfindel stopped his pacing long enough to kiss her on the forehead and hug her tightly.

"No one knows what this is about. None of us," he explained, his irritation evident.

Glorfindel hated waiting. He had no patience for standing around waiting for things to happen. The warrior in him preferred being on the offensive rather than sitting on his hands doing nothing. Every minute waiting was agonizing for him.

Laurëanna and Elrohir each greeted Elrond and Celebrían as well. Glorfindel continued to pace like a caged animal as Laurëanna sat with Celebrían and her mother waiting. Lord Elrond and his sons watched Glorfindel silently, his tension filling the room. Some time later, Lady Galadriel arrived as well.

As always, Lady Galadriel appeared regal and beautiful to Laurëanna and she felt plain near Lady of the Golden Wood. If she were not so welcoming and endearing to Laurëanna then the young elleth would have shied away from Galadriel completely. But Galadriel made Laurëanna feel as if she were the most special person in her life. With those she loved, Galadriel always made them feel like they were the most important person in Arda to her. The way she hung on every word spoken and graced each one with her special smile made those closest to her open their hearts and allow her aura to enter.

Laurëanna had been timid and afraid near her for so long much to Elrohir's amusement. He knew his grandmother's ways well. Long had she made him feel like he was more special than his siblings were. It was not until he was older that he realized that she had made each of them feel that way. As predicted, Laurëanna was soon under her spell as well and had been drawn to her since that day.

Even though she was feeling unrest, Lady Galadriel still greeted everyone individually taking a special moment with each of them. Elrohir watched in awe as she calmed Laurëanna with ease, as no one else had been able to do. The two sat side by side with Galadriel holding Laurëanna's hand tenderly as she spoke to her daughter and Indil. All in the room seemed calmed by her presence, even Glorfindel who soon walked to an overstuffed chair and dropped into it with a frown.

"Naneth, do you know what this meeting is about?" Celebrían asked quietly. Like her mother, her melodic voice soothed those with whom she spoke.

"Nay, iellen, I do not. Has anyone else been told anything other than to be there at midday?" Galadriel queried as she looked around the room.

Elrond and Glorfindel shook their heads. Elrohir was quiet and lost in thought. He walked over and sat by Laurëanna looking at her for a long time.

"Elrohir?" Indil asked.

"There was one thing rather odd," Elrohir began but did not further explain. Looking down, he took her other hand in his as he focused on the slender gold band on her index finger.

"Elrohir, perhaps if you share it with us, we could ponder it as well," Elladan retorted only to be glared at by his twin.

Elrohir was quiet for a moment as everyone waited. Looking at Laurëanna, he finally spoke.

"It was strange the way Eönwë spoke of Laurëanna. He did not call her by her name nor call her my wife. He called her 'Glorfindel's daughter,' which now seems rather odd."

All eyes turned to look at Laurëanna who instantly felt self-conscious

"Elrohir, I am sure that was just his way of thinking of me. 'Tis nothing more, I am certain," Laurëanna stammered but all eyes remained on her.

"Perhaps," Galadriel said, squeezing Laurëanna's hand then turning away.

Glorfindel watched Galadriel closely. He had seen the way Galadriel seemed doubtful in her dismissal of the subject.

"Lady Galadriel, does this have something to do with my daughter?" Glorfindel dared.

The room was quiet for a long time waiting for her to answer. Just as she seemed about to do so there was a knock at the door causing some of them to jump at the sudden sound. Indil rose and quickly went to the door letting Thranduil and Tavaril into the house.

"It is time now. We must leave if we wish to be there by midday," Elrond said, standing. "I am sure all of our questions will be answered soon."

~~**~~

Elrohir looked over at Laurëanna and even though she appeared calm to others, she had already subtly begun fidgeting. She had a lock of her golden hair wrapped around her fingers and had begun twisting it. Pulling her hand out of her hair, he held her hand firmly, yet lovingly, interlacing his strong fingers with her delicate ones. Their eyes met and he could see not only nervousness, but fear in them. He tried to look reassuringly at her and squeezed her hand with a small smile. She seemed soothed a little. He, on the other hand, felt only turmoil. He knew, for some reason, this was about her although he could not fathom what it was.

Glancing around subtly, he saw that the Maiar had joined their small group along with all of the Valar save Manwë and Varda. Eönwë was waiting at the top of the podium for their arrival. The eight Aratar, High Ones of Arda, sat in their thrones on a raised section of Máhanaxar. Also, seated with them were Nessa, Vána, and Tulkas. The two Fëanturi or Masters of Spirits, Irmo and Namo, and their wives, Vairë and Estë sat in the thrones before them as well.

The Maiar sat in the circle to the left and right of them. None of the Ainur looked at him. Some of the Maia had greeted his father, King Thranduil, Lord Glorfindel, and Lady Galadriel. Indil, Celebrían, and Tavaril had been introduced as well. Whenever anyone would introduce Elrohir and Laurëanna to one of the Maia, he noticed a slight almost unseen hesitance as each of them looked at his wife intently before catching themselves. Yes, he knew somehow this had to do with Laurëanna and his blood ran cold when he thought about what it might mean.

Laurëanna had never been so nervous is her whole life. She felt like she should not even be breathing the same air as those around her. The Valar all shone as if brighter than the sun and were dressed in stately robes of various rich colors.

Aulë and his wife Yavanna sat beside the empty thrones of Manwë and Varda. Aulë wore robes of rich reds that had gems around the collar and he wore a thick chain of gold. He was tall and slender with golden hair. Yavanna, in her deep green robes and her waist length red hair, was as beautiful as any creation she had wrought. Laurëanna could not look at her without thinking of the gardens throughout Valinor. Growing up, she had loved to hear stories of Yavanna from her mother. She felt awed in her presence and blushed when Yavanna looked at her and bestowed her with a smile as if she knew of Laurëanna's fascination with her.

Tulkas and Nessa sat next to them. Tulkas was an imposing figure with golden hair and beard and a ruddy complexion yet he seemed to smile quite a bit. His wife Nessa sat with her husband and appeared small and light beside him in her colorful robes and a blush on her cheeks.

Sitting beside Manwë's throne was Ulmo, Lord of the Waters. Ulmo, in his silver mail, seemed larger than all others assembled. She could imagine him amongst the waves of the stormiest seas. Even now, she could almost see the waves surrounding him. She knew if he was here, this must be very important indeed. He must have felt her eyes on him for he turned in her direction as she quickly looked away.

The two Fëanturi, Námo and his brother Irmo, sat together with their wives. Laurëanna felt uneasy when she looked at Námo. A chill ran down her back as she observed his stern face surrounded by white hair. He was dressed in somber black robes. She glanced over at her father for a moment thinking of his time in the Halls of Mandos and felt a tightening in her chest. Glorfindel must have sensed her looking at him because he turned in her direction. For a moment he looked serious then he gave her a slight smile and a quick wink. She smiled despite herself. Looking forward again, she once again resumed her subtle observation of the Valar.

Beside Námo's wife, Vairë, sat his brother Irmo and his wife, Estë. Both had thick dark hair. His robes were a deep azure almost the same color of his eyes. Estë's raiment, as always, was gray. Dressed in earthly tones were Oromë and Vána, the Ever Young, and beside them sat Nienna. Nienna had a look of sadness to her face that tore at Laurëanna's heart and tears sprung to her eyes. The three of them were having a quiet conversation while the other Valar were silent, patiently awaiting the arrival of Manwë and Varda.

Looking at her family, Laurëanna saw that everyone seemed outwardly calm, even Elrohir. But she felt the clamminess of his hand and knew his calmness was a façade. On one side of her were her parents then Thranduil and Tavaril. Beside her husband sat his parents and Lady Galadriel. She had been seated directly in the middle and she felt like squirming around in her chair like a hyper child forced to sit still. To others she would appear serene and calm but inside her mind was working constantly.

'Why are we here? Why would Elrohir and I be asked here for any reason?' She thought and grew terrified it might mean something bad for her husband. She looked over at him and he at her. He squeezed her hand and she smiled faintly. As long as he was there with her, she had little fear that things would turn out well. She looked at him lovingly and he stroked the back of her hand with his thumb.

Pushing the nagging doubt to the back of her mind, she began to calm her frayed nerves. When Eönwë announced Manwë and Varda, her nervousness came back instantly.

When Manwë and Varda arrived, Laurëanna gasped and dug her nails into Elrohir's hand. She ignored his quick intake of breath as she did so. Manwë looked so powerful and regal in his sapphire robes that were the same color of his eyes yet he looked kind and compassionate. He smiled warmly at those assembled. He appeared unaware of his own power and had a welcoming demeanor to him.

It was Varda that took Laurëanna's breath away. Everyone knew that Elbereth was too beautiful to describe in words but until she was faced with the vision of a face lit by the light of Ilúvatar, Laurëanna had never known it to be possible to be so beautiful. She could not pull her eyes away from her and when Varda looked upon her and smiled, Laurëanna's heart pounded in her chest. She felt like the stars had just kissed her themselves. Struggling to compose herself, she looked away for a moment. All those with her seemed to be affected the same way.

After Manwë and Varda had seated themselves, Eönwë sat nearby with Ilmarë. There were a few moments of silence before Varda smiled at Manwë and he spoke to those assembled.

"This meeting has come at a time where we are in a most difficult situation. Evil is once again upon us and not since the days during the fall of Númenor, has Sauron's treachery affected Aman so much. Middle Earth is forever lost to his power, but now he seeks to darken Arda completely."

Elrohir felt sickened by the name of the Dark Lord. Flashes of the torment Sauron had caused on Middle Earth tore through his mind and he shut his eyes and took a deep shaky breath. He felt cold and eerie as if words of doom were about to be spoken. Many times he had looked death in the face and was not afraid. He felt fear now. When he opened his eyes, Manwë was looking directly at him as if he knew his thoughts.

"The pain you have all suffered on Middle Earth will soon be forced onto Aman as well, if we do not act. Sauron has amassed an army and with the aid of our betrayer, Saruman, he is crossing the seas to the Undying Lands."

"He would not be able to sail here without elven ships. Even if he could come here, Ulmo could stop him before he arrived. Besides, how would his forces find the Straight Road?" Salmar questioned.

"He has a fleet of Elven ships. Cirdan and the Teleri elves from Mithlond were not killed but enslaved by Sauron. At first, the elves built the ships fearing what Sauron would do to their Lord Cirdan, who was being held in Minas Morgul by the Witch King. Eventually they were corrupted and built the ships in the service of the Dark Lord." Ulmo said in a deep booming voice. "When the hobbit, Frodo, was killed, he had the gift from Galadriel, the phial with the Star of Eärendil. It will be used to guide his way."

Glorfindel felt a pain deep in his heart remembering his dream. It had been a warning of things to come.

"But can you not stop this fleet before it arrives?" Melian asked.

"His ships are unseen by my eyes. Whether by Saruman or The Ring's power, I do not know, but his ships have passed out of sight. I fear I cannot stop them." Ulmo's voice sounded sad to Laurëanna.

'Why was this happening now? Everyone is happy now and finally at peace,' Laurëanna thought, tears stinging her eyes.

"Based on when Ossë told Ulmo the elven ships departed, we know that within the next twelve days, Sauron will land on Tol Eressëa with forces large enough to destroy it," Manwë said, solemnly.

The council erupted into gasps and whispered chatter. Laurëanna looked to those with her. Elrohir had an unreadable expression that reminded her of the days that had first met. Lord Elrond and Lady Galadriel looked upset. Galadriel studied her hands that were on her lap. Never had Laurëanna seen her look this way. Her mother and Tavaril both had silent tears rolling down their faces while Thranduil looked at the ground.

The look on her father's face made her blood run cold. She had never seen him this way. She imagined this is what he looked like in battle for he terrified her now. She bit her lip to keep from crying even as her hands started shaking.

Elrohir felt her hand shaking and was once again aware of her beside him. For a moment he had been back in Middle Earth amidst the horror but feeling her near, he pulled her even closer.

"Laurëanna, it will be all right. Do not worry. You will be safe, meleth i guilen," he whispered in his ear. Laurëanna looked at him surprised.

"It is not myself I am worried about. I do not want to see everyone's peace disrupted or even worse, lives lost. I do not want any more death surrounding those that I love. I do not want the evil to come here and destroy all that is good," she whispered back.

Ignoring those around them, Elrohir gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

"We can fight him and prevent him from coming into Valinor, defend Tol Eressëa as well as Alqualondë. He cannot win this fight," Tulkas said angrily.

"He would not win a war against all of the Valar," Varda agreed. "But at what price? How many elves along the coasts will die? No, this is not a battle that we can win, there would be too many lives lost. All we could do is destroy him not undo the evil he will bring with him. The loss would be too great and the darkness he has brought here would forever linger."

"Then what are we to do?" Yavanna asked, calmly. "Aman has already been taken out of the circles of the world. Middle Earth is devasted. What can we do to stop him from destroying everything beautiful and peaceful in Arda?"

"So desperate are the times that we are forced to seek a way to not only prevent this from happening but also undo some of the damage that has been done in the past century of Middle Earth," Manwë said.

Manwë looked at Varda and she nodded. Her soothing voice calmed those present as she spoke. "Eru Ilúvatar has shown to us a way to prevent Sauron's forces from setting foot in a Aman and save Middle Earth so that it might see the days of peace if we are successful."

Everyone assembled brightened at this news. Laurëanna smiled at Elrohir and stroked his hand. In the back of her mind was still the curiosity why she and Elrohir had been asked to come here. Her questions were soon answered.

"Eru will allow us to send only one back in time to the moment that forever changed the tide. That person will have one chance to right what is wrong by helping to ensure King Elessar walks the Paths of the Dead. The future that had been foretold by both Lord Elrond and seen in the mirror by Lady Galadriel will then come to pass," Varda continued. Looking at Laurëanna she smiled. "Laurëanna, daughter of Lord Glorfindel of the House of the Golden Flower, the one chosen is you."

All of the color drained from Laurëanna's face.

~~**~~

"This is not possible!" Glorfindel jumped from his seat. "She cannot go back to Middle Earth. She would most certainly die."

"Glorfindel, I know this will be difficult for you to accept. This decision was not made by us nor do we take it lightly," Manwë explained as Varda sat back down.

"I do not understand why she was chosen. She is not a warrior, has always lived in times of peace. Why not someone else?" Glorfindel looked at Manwë confused.

Indil started crying softly. Laurëanna was too shocked to do or say anything yet vaguely noticed that Elrohir's hand had grown cold.

"A person cannot exist in the same time as their former self. Laurëanna had not even been born when King Elessar failed to take his intended path. Therefore, she is the only one who can do this," Manwë explained calmly.

"If I may." Lord Elrond stood and Manwë nodded. "How would this happen? If she changes the past, would she not change her own future as well?" He paused and looked sharply at Manwë. "Could she change the future so greatly that she herself would no longer exist?"

"We would alter her life so that she would exist separately of Glorfindel's and Indil's life when she goes back through time, similar to a parallel plane," Manwë explained.

"So she would stop being our daughter completely," Indil said, feeling as if her heart was breaking.

Varda looked at Indil for a long time. "She would never stop being your daughter in her heart and mind."

"If she fails to alter the past or if she does and it does not prevent Sauron from coming to power, what would happen then? Would she be allowed to return to this time?" King Thranduil asked.

"No. She would never be allowed to come back to this time for once she goes back, everything will be altered for her and everyone else. Her existence in the past will change the future of all of you here," Manwë explained. "Like all of the Eldar, she will return to Valinor when she leaves Middle Earth but her life will not be the same as it is now."

"Manwë, perhaps you could explain how this can be done," Nienna suggested.

"Laurëanna would be sent back to Helm's Deep after the Rohirrim defeated Saruman's forces. Once she is there, she will need to convince King Elessar to go to Isengard with Mithrandir rather than riding to Gondor. This will place him in Rohan when Grey Company arrives and, therefore, would allow him to receive the message from Elrond in time to walk the Paths of the Dead. The only thing that changed from both Elrond and Galadriel's visions was Elessar's location when he received the message from Elrohir and Elladan," Manwë explained.

Aulë leaned forward and asked, "Would this one change alter history enough that we will not see Sauron come to power and the destruction of Middle Earth? It seems like a small thing to change so much."

"Yes, it is a small change in history. Perhaps there are other changes that could prevent more suffering but Eru has shown us that this is what changed it from what had been foretold. No one could have known how this one decision made by Elessar would affect everything. We have been given one chance to solve this problem. Laurëanna would ensure that this decision was not made incorrectly the second time," Manwë replied looking to the other Vala.

"One thing must be understood though," Varda warned. "Laurëanna can never tell anyone directly what happened when King Elessar failed to take the Paths of the Dead. Also, she would not be allowed to tell her family or her friends who she is in their life now. Doing so might alter someone's true path, causing more changes and possibly more damage that has already been done."

Elrohir felt like he had been punched in the stomach.

"So, we are to let her go back in time to a place where she will most likely die with the small chance that she might be able to stop what has happened? And if she fails, she is doomed to live through what we have all lived through, yet with the knowledge that she had failed to prevent it all from happening," Elrohir said, harshly. Elrond put his hand on his son's arm to remind him to whom he was speaking to no avail. "Yet she is not allowed to tell anyone who she is. Why would Aragorn change his path and go against what he believed to be right at the wish of an unknown elleth?"

"You are right to question this, Elrohir. There is one person's help she might seek because his life was ended shortly after Elessar failed to take the Paths of the Dead. She would not alter his life's path accept to possibly save him," Varda explained.

"Legolas," King Thranduil said, solemnly.

"Yes, Thranduil. Legolas. He was a trusted friend to Elessar and would be able to assist Laurëanna in this task." Varda nodded.

"Why would Legolas believe her?" Vana asked.

"She will take something with her or be told something that only Legolas would know to persuade him she was sent by us. I am certain that Thranduil and Tavaril know of something that would ensure that he believed her," Manwë looked at the couple, who both nodded.

Glorfindel watched silently as all of the details were discussed. Finally, looking towards Indil, he said, "And if she dies?"

Everyone was quiet for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, Varda said, "There is nothing we can do to prevent her death. Legolas will protect her as will those with him and that is what we must rely on."

"Laurëanna can choose not to do this. If she does, it will be understood and no one will fault her for her decision," Manwë said looking from Glorfindel to Laurëanna.

"Laurëanna, do you have any questions?" Varda asked.

Tears had already started filling her eyes so Laurëanna had been biting her lip to hold them back.

"Do I need to make my decision now? When would I leave if I do go?" Laurëanna struggled to make her voice loud enough to be heard.

"Eönwë will stay here until nightfall tonight. If you have not decided by nightfall, he will return tomorrow at midday. By nightfall tomorrow we need to know your decision. You would need to leave ten days from now. It will allow you time with your family and you will need to learn some things about Middle Earth that you would have known if you had lived there during that time. We cannot give you any more time than that I am afraid. There will only be a window of two days between when you leave and when Sauron is to arrive. We will begin to prepare our defense in the meantime in case you fail or unwilling to accept this task," Manwë answered.

Laurëanna nodded and he continued, "Laurëanna, I understand we are asking you to do something dangerous and if you fail it will be even more dangerous. You will have to give up your life and your relationships here as well. No one will fault you if you feel you cannot do this. But Eru has put faith in you. We shall do the same."

This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

In Challenges

Story Information

Author: Alassante

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Rating: Adult

Last Updated: 02/16/10

Original Post: 03/13/07

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