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Story of Legolas and Enóreth, The: 2. A Mary Sue Is Come
When Legolas came to himself he stood blinking in confusion, for his eyes were dazzled with brilliant sunlight. Hismemory abandoned him and he did not understand. How had it gone from darkness to broad daylight in the space of three seconds? And why could he hear a stream rushing nearby when the last flowing water they had seen was the river Entwash, one day's travel behind them?
Then, before he could even begin to fathom the answer, a voice called to him, "Legolas? Legolas!" And as his vision cleared his bewilderment gave way to astonishment, for there before his very eyes stood Mithrandir, Gandalf the Grey.
Legolas staggered back, not believing what he saw. Many long days past had Gandalf been lost in Khazad-dûm – and yet here he was, standing in the impossible sunlight next to the stream that could not be there. And nearby sat Frodo and Samwise, and Merry and Pippin, smoking their pipes as if nothing out of the
ordinary had occurred. Here also was Boromir seemingly unaware that he had been slain at Amon Hen, and Aragorn and Gimli gazing at Legolas with mild curiosity.
"You look pale of a sudden, Legolas," said Aragorn. "Are you not well?"
Legolas, who by now was fearing phantoms or sorcery or maybe even a sudden fall into lunacy on his part, was quite at a loss for what to say. Gandalf (or the creature who appeared to be Gandalf) was puzzled. "Does something trouble you?" he asked. "Perhaps one of us should go with you."
"Go!" managed Legolas at last. "I...."
"What do you mean, 'go'?" said Gimli impatiently. "Did you not tell us just now that you were going to take a look around?"
This baffled Legolas all the more, because of course he had no memory of saying such a thing. He opened his mouth to refute the claim and cry out his distress. Then, just as things were about to become rather awkward, a flash of insight came upon him. He restrained himself and feigned a look of comprehension. "I did!" he said hastily. "Yes! A very good idea. Pardon me...." And off he fled.
Only when he was a good distance away and safely out of sight did he pause to gather his wits about him. He hid himself in a grove of small trees near the stream and looked this way and that, trying to determine where he was. At first sight the land seemed strange to him; the ground was rough, covered in low-lying bushes and spotted with snow. In a moment, however, he recognised the thin cold air of the mountains, and he soon discovered the familiar peak of Caradhras looming behind him. Then he found his bearings and began to understand. It was not witchcraft after all, nor was it insanity – but the alternative hardly reassured him.
Somehow, Legolas had returned to early days of the Quest. The Fellowship was yet whole, and not much time had passed since their departure from Rivendell. If memory served him correctly, they had just attempted the treacherous ascent of Caradhras and failed. And because he remained aware of all that was to occur – the journey through Moria, the stay in Lothlórien, the breaking of the Fellowship and the pursuit into Rohan – Legolas could make but one conclusion. Though this land was by all appearances Middle-earth, it was merely an imitation. A force beyond his understanding, known to him only as "Fan Fiction," had drawn him forth from the lands he knew and placed him here.
A great mystery to the races of Middle-earth were these "Stories," this ever-changing world created by the whims of writers in a realm far away. Few could speak of the strange happenings that took place within these borders, and yet there were some who had been brought hither many times, so the legends went. Legolas himself, possessing the heightened awareness of the Eldar race, knew that this was by no means the first time he had been here, nor would it be the last. Yet his knowledge was little, for the powers at work removed all but the faintest memories from the minds of those they summoned. Only vague conceptions did Legolas hold of what lay ahead, and they troubled him. Anxious and wary, he waited.
Slowly his thoughts grew clear, and snatches of memory returned. As this seemed to be the beginning of the Story, Legolas decided it would not be much longer before some message was sent to him in one way or another, informing him as to what purpose he had been brought here. He stood still and silent, listening. Yet long minutes passed with no sign, and he began to fear that the Fellowship would come searching for him before he was ready.
Suddenly there was a flutter of wings, and a sparrow lighted on a branch within arm's reach of Legolas. She perched there – a cheerful, bright-eyed little thing – and gazed at the Elf with such a friendly expression that he was glad of the comfort, however small.
"Well met, little friend," he murmured half to himself. "Would that you were able to speak, and bring a kind word to those in need."
"Aw, do you feel lost?" said the sparrow, a bit out of breath. "Don't worry, it will pass. The trip over is always disorienting."
Legolas started and eyed her askance. Birds that spoke with common speech were not unheard of. Indeed, there were many such creatures mentioned in the lore of the Elves. But few appeared so unexpectedly, or spoke in so straightforward a manner.
"May I suppose," said he, when he trusted himself to react calmly, "that you are one of the Forces who summoned me to this place?"
"Me, one of the Forces?" the sparrow said. "Oh, heavens no! I just work for them, and a bossy lot they are too. I was having a nice birdbath until they rudely interrupted me and sent me flying over here as fast as I could go. I mean, really, common decency...." She stopped and looked embarrassed. "Oh, but that's of small consequence for someone who just transported to a parallel dimension, isn't it? Goodness, where are my manners? It's a pleasure to meet you. I am one of the Guides, and you must be Legolas Greenleaf."
"Good, good," she said. "Sorry we had to pull you out of such a crucial moment in the Quest, but you know how it is."
"Ai, the Quest! the halflings!" cried Legolas with renewed alarm, for her words had brought the desperation of their plight flooding back to memory. "I cannot stay here! Merry and Pippin—"
"Easy now," the Guide soothed him. "Time in Middle-earth has no meaning here, remember? You won't have lost a moment when you get back. But first there are things you must attend to. Don't you hear something?"
Still distressed in spite of the Guide's assurances, Legolas paused to listen. There was a new sound on the wind – a high keening noise, dipping and soaring in pitch to a seemingly random tune. He did not know who or what it was, but it somehow filled him with an odd combination of dread and irritation.
The sparrow spoke again. "I'd better leave you to it. For now, follow that sound to its source. Things will be clearer to you then, and I'll be along presently to give you further information. Goodbye!" And she flew off before Legolas could detain or question her.
As any Elf of noble birth, Legolas was courageous and strong of spirit. Even so, such an astounding string of events in so short a time would have been a strain on anyone, and for a moment he was loath to abandon the relative calm and comfort of his little grove. But soon enough he steadied himself, and squaring his shoulders he set out in the direction of the strange tune. It led him to a place where the stream widened to a clear pool surrounded by holly bushes. There the singing could be clearly heard; for it was indeed a song (though an artless and irksome one) that someone was lifting to the air. Recognising it as such, Legolas was quick to espy the singer standing at the edge of the pool.
Clad in flowing white with a belt of silver flowers about her slender waist, she glowed like a fallen star amidst the dark green leaves. Her skin was flawless, as white and smooth as new milk, and her hair (golden-red as copper gleaming in the light of a thousand candles) fell in heavy locks to her waist. She ceased her song and lifted her eyes to him; he saw they were soulful and deep, and they shone cerulean and endless as still pools beneath a summer sky (or some such poetry). Thus Legolas for the first time beheld Enóreth, daughter of Men, kindred of the Elves, and deemed the dearest of treasures among her people. And as he gazed upon her he sighed, for he knew in his heart that the presence of so fair a maiden could only mean that he would be entangled in an irrational tale of romance ere the day was spent.
"Hail, Legolas Greenleaf!" she said (in a voice at once sweet, haunting, and slightly ear-splitting).
"You know who I am," he said, though it came as little surprise.
The maiden lowered her head, allowing the sunlight to gleam over the ripples of her hair. "I have searched many long days for you," she said. "I am Enóreth, and I am weary and in peril. I only pray to reach some safe haven where I might find rest and sanctuary!" And she gazed at him with hope and coquettish admiration mingling in those unsettling blue eyes.
"A Elbereth, protect me!" murmured Legolas. To Enóreth he simply replied, "Then be at peace, for you are among friends here. Come, if you will. My companions are near at hand."
Enóreth smiled with a flash of very white teeth and stepped forward to take the hand he offered. Then,
with his arm clutched as if in a vice every step of the way, Legolas led this apparition of an unknown world to meet the Fellowship of the Ring.
Coming Up: Enóreth tells her story. Oh joy.
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