Carpe Diem: 4. Unsettling News

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4. Unsettling News

"Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.” (Seize the present day, trusting the morrow as little as may be.)

Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize--- It all belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien or New Line Cinema.

Author's Note: This is fan fiction and if you spot any time, fact or event mistakes/differences, it means I have manipulated it to flow with my story. I will try to stay true to events and characters but I have taken liberty with them in certain places. I apologize for any grammar/Sindarin/spelling mistakes--- I am only human. :) Saying this, reviews are of course most welcome! So is constructive criticism. The setting is roughly many years after the departure of Celebrian but many years before the arrival of Aragorn. Enjoy the story.

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Chapter 4: Unsettling News
"Sorrow comes to all… Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You cannot now realize that you will ever feel better and yet, you are sure to be happy again." -Abraham Lincoln

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"Talk about weird!" muttered Elrohir after hearing Elladan's scouting report. He slowed down.

"Elrohir?"

Elrohir came to a halt and dismounted.

"We're setting camp," was his reply.

Elladan raised an eyebrow. "I thought you wished to get out of Imladris as quickly as possible. You rode as if Sauron himself was chasing you!"

"I am out of Imladris," Elrohir replied calmly. "That is all I wanted. Now, come on! Let's set up camp. Since you've been travelling earlier, I shall take the first watch."

Elladan, though he hid it well, was exhausted and was grateful to sleep and get some rest. He fell asleep quickly. Elrohir sat by the fire, looking out into the distance. He couldn't explain it, but… something didn't feel right.

The shadows are longer and darker, he thought ominously. When the time for his watch ended, he did not wake Elladan. Elrohir continued feeling uneasy until at last the sun rose from the east, shining out rays of light. The sun rose higher while Elrohir sat motionlessly. Soon, it was almost midday. Elrohir looked around him. Nothing, he thought. All is peaceful.

But in the distance… A group of riders! They were too far for Elrohir to tell enemy from friend. He could see they bore flags with them. It was also a rather large group.

"Elladan!" he hissed. Elladan woke immediately, blinking slightly at the bright light.

"'Ro!" he said indignantly. "You didn't wake me for my watch! Did you stay up all night? 'Ro, it's nearly midday!"

"There's no time to talk," Elrohir said urgently. "I see riders in the distance."

Elladan quickly got up. "Let's hide behind the trees and see who it is."

The large group of riders approached. They could almost see their flags…

"Nevermind," Elladan nearly laughed out loud in relief. "I see the Imladris flags!"

"And Glorfindel's hair," added Elrohir and they both sniggered. Glorfindel, the leader of the Imladris guard had golden hair that gleamed in sunlight--- simply cannot be missed.

The twins purposely stood in their path, waiting for them to approach.

"Elladan, Elrohir," greeted Glorfindel, and signalled a halt. "We only hoped you had not gone too far. Were you that eager to begin the mission?"

Elrohir mutter something incoherent, staring at his feet.

"No matter," said Glorfindel. "If you are ready, we would ask you to set out with the rest of us."

Elladan and Elrohir packed and mounted their horses quickly, riding out with the group. Elladan spotted Brilthor and Legolas.

Before they could begin their conversation, they were interrupted by a sneering voice.

"Not following orders?" Celebros looked slightly bothered. "And yet Glorfindel does nothing to you two spoiled brats of Elrond!"

"Good one, Bros," Rastaban grinned, folding his arms.

"Bugger off," ordered Legolas, annoyed. He nudged Elladan to stop him from exploding right there and right then at the two cronies.

"Watch who you are ordering around, Silvan elf," an ugly look crossed Rastaban faced when he said "Silvan".

Legolas rolled his eyes. Brilthor cut in.

"Look," he said, evidently annoyed. "Either leave us alone or go back to Imladris and have a snog session with Alcarin."

Rastaban was about to retort when Glorfindel shot him a nasty look. The group shot him a grateful look.

"Morning, mellon-nin," Elladan said to Brilthor. "Had a good night's rest?"

Brilthor regarded the twins warily and sighed. "The dreams came again."

Legolas looked thoroughly confused.

Elladan and Elrohir looked at each other. They knew exactly what Brilthor spoke of. The twins, Brilthor, Falasir, and another elf named Aikasse were best friends. Aikasse was the older brother of Alcarin. Brilthor was closest to Aikasse. Present day, Elladan, Elrohir, Brilthor, and Falasir are still best friends. When they were a few hundred years old, still beginners in the warrior rankings, Aikasse set out for a scouting trip in the wild. Apparently, he was attacked. Though no one is sure, it was almost certain that Aikasse did not make it alive. A body was never found and Aikasse was never seen again. The four friends took the news badly, Brilthor especially.

For a long time, Brilthor would not accept that Aikasse was dead. He was convinced that he was simply lost someone in the wild, as unlikely that scenario may seem. Then, Brilthor began having dreams--- dreams about Aikasse, when he would actually speak to him in the dream. From what the twins were told, Brilthor had these dreams very frequently, almost every night.

"Brilthor," Elrohir said gently, "do you remember what Aikasse said to you in those dreams?"

Brilthor shook his head. "I never remember them, at least not word for word. We just… talk. I can't even remember what we talked about! But I see him all the time, he's just there, and looking alive too!" Brilthor was evidently frustrated.

"Does he tell you anything? Do you remember anything at all?" Elladan asked.

"You know what? I don't think he can tell me anything, even if he wanted to."

"What do you mean?" asked Elladan.

"It's so strange," frowned Brilthor. "I see Aikasse--- it's him, but he looks different, changed. He tries to tell me something important. But he can't. It is like there is a spell preventing him from telling me."

The twins pondered at this. Elven dreams were usually very realistic and sometimes can even turn out to be premonitions. Could it be possible that Brilthor could speak to the dead?

"I suppose it has to do with his encounter with the Red-Eye," muttered Brilthor angrily.

"What?" the twins asked in unison.

Brilthor hit his head. "Sorry! I forgot you weren't told. You better ask Glorfindel to explain to you why we are in such a rush to get to Lorien and why the Guard is so large."

Glorfindel heard him and rode beside them.

"Yes, Elladan, Elrohir," he said, seriously. "We bring unsettling news."

Elladan and Elrohir were silent, waiting for him to continue.

"Elladan, we have figured out the evil you and Legolas sensed," Glorfindel continued, looking at Legolas. "We have encountered it before, albeit briefly. I am positive it has even been mentioned to you, though most likely not in full detail. Have you ever heard of the Red-Eye or the name, Antares?"

The pair exchanged glances and shook their heads.

"It is what befell your friend, Aikasse, over a thousand years ago," explained Glorfindel.

"But--- I thought---" sputtered Elladan.

"Yes Elladan, he died when returning from his scouting trip when he encountered an unexpected enemy, Antares. Antares tried to use his powers on Aikasse but for some inexplicable reason, it backfired! Aikasse fought his power and resisted. Antares lost his powers and was weakened and unfortunately, Aikasse died in the effort."

"Powers?" asked Elrohir, amazed.

"Yes," Legolas cut in. "When Elladan and I were in the forest, we sensed him. I felt a painful fire take control of my mind. I felt excruciating pain and a sudden will to go in the direction of Antares. That is his power! When he is near, you feel the pain and he has you partially under his control already. And he was not extremely close to us, he wasn't even in our sight, and yet we felt the terror of his power."

The twins were wide-eyed.

"This evil--- Antares," said Elrohir, "why is he called the Red-Eye?"

This time, Glorfindel answered. "When he is close, he tries to draw you to him. If you look into his eyes, he puts you completely into his control--- has absolute power over your mind and actions. The last thing you see before falling to his power are his glowing red eyes. Antares can cause pain in any living creature by simply touching them."

This news was appalling.

"Can he control all living things too?" asked Elrohir.

"No," the golden-haired elf replied. "His absolute control over the mind only applies for elves and men. For example, a dwarf may sense his evil and slightly feel the fire but Antares cannot control them if they look at him in the eye."

"But Aikasse," Elladan said, looking at Brilthor. "He--- he was different!"

"Indeed he was," agreed Glorfindel. "And even now, we are not sure why. Perhaps this is one of the everlasting mysteries of middle-earth."

"There were only two people," he began slowly, "who witnessed what happened between Aikasse and Antares…"

~*~*~Memory~*~*~

Aikasse let out a sigh of relief. Imladris was in sight. His journey had been uneventful but all the same, he was happy to go home. It was unsettling for him how he constantly felt dread and evil tailing him. He wished he had Brilthor on the scouting trip with him. It would be so much more enlightening and cheerful had his friend been present.

"Noro lim!" he cried, urging his horse on through the road surrounded by trees. He was approaching Imladris fast.

What--- he thought as a sharp pain ran through his brain. Aikasse had a feeling he was being followed.

Gasping through his pain, he veered his horse off the straight path and raced into the forest. He could hear a separate pair of horse hooves gaining on him. The pain was almost becoming unbearable! Hold on! he thought as he broke into a clearing.

"Aaaaughh!" Aikasse gave an anguished cry as he fell off his horse in pain.

Outside the forest, two elf-lords heard his cry…

"Glorfindel?"

"I heard it, Elrond."

"It is an elf! We must help him!" Elrond cried as he dashed into the forest, towards the sound with Glorfindel hot on his heels.

Elrond could see a clearing in front of him, a feeling of dread washed over him. There is great evil here, he sensed. Cautiously, he peered around the tree. Before he could take in the scene, he felt Glorfindel colapse to his knees beside him. Glorfindel bit his lips, clutching his head in great pain.

"Glor…?" Elrond asked, slightly aghast.

"It… it hurts," Glorfindel managed to get out.

With one hand on Glorfindel's stiff shoulders, he looked out at the clearing. Elrond winced as a spark of pain hit him, but it disappeared immediately.

"No…" he whispered when he saw young Aikasse on his knees before the evil, human-like creature… Antares.

Aikasse was clearly overwhelmed in pain.

"We must help him," rasped Glorfindel, attempting to get up.

"No," Elrond commanded firmly. "All that will happen is two elves falling under his spell. Do not move, Glorfindel!"
"It is drawing me…" Glorfindel gasped painfully.

"Get up, elf," Antares kicked his victim with his boot. "Useless creature!"

Aikasse curled up in pain, resisting the urge to look into Antares's eyes. NO, he told himself firmly. Just give in, another voice commanded inside his head. Look into his eyes… yes… elf, look into his eyes… That's it… Aikasse gritted his teeth in pain, NO! The pain got worse, the irresistable urge got stronger. He could no longer resist.

Ever so slowly, his head jerked and his eyes met the red ones of Antares. His enemy wrapped his mind around Aikasse's very own. The two minds were combined as one… impossible to separate.

"You serve Antares," the creature commanded coldly.

"Yes," replied Aikasse in a dead tone.

No! NO! his mind told him. Aikasse could still think independently. But his voice and body would not obey him. Stop. Stop! STOP!

"STOP!" Aikasse yelled out, shocking himself. Elrond nearly jumped out of his skin, even Glorfindel was surprised through his pain.

"What?" Antares was surprised. Then unexpectedly, he dropped to his knees. He shrieked of pain.

"NO!" Antares yelled. "STUPID ELF! Useless, HATEFUL, elf! You--- YOU SPITEFUL THING--- NO!"

Aikasse could feel Antares desperately trying to loosen his grasp on his mind. But Aikasse wouldn't let go. Now, he was grasping Antares's mind. Suddenly, his mind exploded with pain. It was pain beyond anything for Aikasse. Pain beyond screaming, beyond writhing in pain… in that moment, he just wanted to make it end… just die. And then, he blanked out.

Elrond and Glorfindel saw Aikasse fall to the ground, lying there motionlessly.

Antares was writhing in pain, holding his head. He thrashed around desperately!

"IT CANNOT BE!" he wailed hysterically. "USELESS, DISGUSTING ELF! WORSE THAN MORTALS!"

His body stiffened and then colapsed to the ground. He laid down beside Aikasse. The moment the evil, human-like creature hit the ground, Glorfindel felt his immense pain lift and he felt joyfully free.

The two witnesses dashed out from their hiding place.

"No, please don't be dead," Elrond murmured, almost begging-like as he kneeled down beside Aikasse. Then, came the answer he dreaded.

"There is no pulse, Glor," Elrond gulped as his stomach sank.

"No pulse here with Antares either," Glorfindel replied, wiping his hands on his tunic after touching Antares. He felt as if he touched something worse than slime.

"What he did was valiant," Elrond gestured sadly to the motionless body of Aikasse.

Glorfindel was about to reply when his pointy ears twitched.

"Yrch!" he cried in Sindarin.

Quickly, he and Elrond ran out of the clearing and into the foresta again. They scrambled up the branches and hid themselves within the green leaves. They sat quietly as a band of orcs moved swiftly past them.

Orcs, so close to Imladris, thought Elrond.

"They are heading away from the valley," Glorfindel said in the softest whisper, as if reading Elrond's thoughts.

As the scampering of the orcs faded away, Elrond and Glorfindel knew it was safe to move again. They quickly jumped from the tree and ran into the clearing once more. When they arrived, Glorfindel felt a mad desire to laugh hysterically. The two bodies had disappeared.

Elrond frowned, "Do you think the orcs took the bodies?"

Glorfindel shook his head. "They wouldn't," he frowned. "What use would they have for dead bodies? It is not their style."

They stood there for quite some time until Elrond finally vocalized their concern.

"Where could they have gone?"

~*~*~End Memory~*~*~

"How?" Elrohir finally sputtered. "Aikasse… how did he…?"

"Believe me, Elrohir," sighed Glorfindel, "if I could tell you, I would. The problem is, no one understands. Not even your father, Elrond." Glorfindel noticed how Elrohir stiffened at the mention of Elrond. The golden-haired elf frowned slightly.

"You said the bodies were gone," Elladan pointed out. "Why would the orcs take the bodies with them?"

"That's right," added Legolas. "Orcs have no use for dead people."

"The thing is," Glorfindel pondered, "Lord Elrond and I don't think the orcs took them at all."

"This whole thing is strange and suspicious," Elrohir frowned deeply. "Maybe they were never dead and simply left!"

Glorfindel shook his head. "No, I do not think so. We checked their pulses. They were most certainly dead. Lord Elrond had tried to sense their auras--- they had already faded away. Even so, why would Aikasse run away--- in that situation and in his condition?"

"But…" Brilthor trialed off as something dawned on him. "Lord Glorfindel! Aikasse and Antares both disappeared. But Antares returned, didn't he? Even after you and Lord Elrond checked their pulses and auras. Antares is alive right now! Maybe Aikasse also came back."

Glorfindel shook his head again. "It's highly unlikely," he sighed, not wanting to get Brilthor's hopes up. "Antares's strength and power is almost beyond your understanding. And it took him over 1000 years to return to power. At first I hoped--- but it was only a fool's hope."

Brilthor glared at Glorfindel silently. "I saw him in my dreams," was all he said.

"How did Antares come to be?" Elladan broke the uneasy silence. "What race is he of?"

Glorfindel visibly stiffened. "He is believed to be an elf," he muttered.

"What?!" Elladan looked completely bewildered. "An elf?"

"No one knows his exact origin," began Glorfindel. "But his appearance… is very much like an elf. Antares has fair hair, the lighter shade like the Lorien elves, tall stature, graceful movement, prowess with weapons, and not to mention, amazing stealth! The date of his birth and his parents are unknown; he first became known in the third age. He could have been born in the first age… second age…"

"What made him hate elves and men like so?" interrupted Elrohir.

"You ask me as if I know him personally," Glorfindel said, bemused. "You best be asking him that yourself… though let's hope that never happens! Antares has already several elves from Imladris under his control and several men from Gondor and Rohan. Beware of who you trust. Elves and men are usually trusted and Antares knows this."

They rode on silently for a long time until a rider came up to them. It was a she-elf. Elrohir started and then smiled, saying nothing.

"Sir," she said to Glorfindel, "orcs spotted just ahead! What are your orders?"

"Is there any way to avoid them?" asked Glorfindel.

"No, sir," she shook her head. "Their group is too large. They will spot us if we try to hide. Your orders, sir?"

"We fight," he replied simply. Then turning to the whole group, "Have your bows ready! Orcs spotted ahead!"

"Thank you, Elanor," Glorfindel nodded to the female warrior.

"No problem, sir."

Elrohir drew his bow and notched an arrow. Then he turned to Elanor.

"This is your punishment?" he asked, raising an eyebrow. Elanor was usually not an outlooker who rides around the group, straining to spot danger. She hated doing it--- a fitful punishment from Glorfindel.

"Shut up," she muttered.

"It's wonderful to see you too," Elrohir replied sarcastically while increasing the tension on his bow.

She grinned. "You got to love our reunions! Last time trapped in a cave behind a waterfall, this time in front of a band of orcs… what next? Making out on a tree in front of Antares?"

Elladan, Legolas, and Brilthor hastily turned their chuckles to hacking coughs. Even Elrohir could not contain a smile despite his pink cheeks.

"Bad mental image," he laughed. "I believe that will scare Antares away."

"Yuck! They're getting closer," commented Legolas. "I am just so disgusted every time I see these creatures."

"I wonder…" began Elanor curiously, "Do orcs ever make out or kiss?"

Elladan nearly slipped an arrow. "WHAT?!"

"I thought so," Elanor shook her head. "That would probably scare the bravest person on middle-earth away! Even thinking about it simply gives me the shudders."

Glorfindel let loose an arrow. It struck one of the front line orcs squarely between the eyes. He was followed in succession by his warriors.

Legolas strung three arrows and let them loose. It hit three orcs, all between the eyes.

"Nice, Legolas!" shouted Elladan as he unsheathed his sword. Behind him, a short dagger went flying, missing his head by inches and struck an orc in the chest. Elanor had a small smile of satisfaction on her face

"You have a formidable aim, Elanor," said Elladan, still a little annoyed at how close it was to his ear.

"Lighten up, 'Dan!" Elrohir rolled his eyes, as he cut off the head of an orc. "Elanor never misses a target."

The battle continued for quite some time and the Imladris Guard began having the edge when suddenly…

"Auughh!" an elf gave a strained cry. He was surround by five orcs and two roughly pulled him off his horse, dragging him away into the trees.

Swoosh! Elladan and Elrohir let loose an arrow at the same time. The each struck one of the orcs taking the man but three more came to drag the unfortunate elf until they disappeared into the trees.

Glorfindel rode up to them.

"All gone," reported Elanor.

"Yes, but not all slain," added Legolas. "I saw them take two elves alive with them."

"Five in total were taken," nodded Glorfindel. "I am almost positive the orcs are taking them to Antares, who will make slaves out of them."

"Is he here?" Elanor asked worriedly.

"No," Elrohir answered for her. "I am sure we would sense the evil or feel great pain if he is near."

"I would exercise extreme caution these days," warned Glorfindel.

Those were words all should have taken to heart.

Days later…

"We will travel the Caradhas," announced Glorfindel. "The Redhorn Pass!"

Glorfindel turned slightly and looked at the twins. Elrohir looked down at the ground and Elladan's eyes sparked dangerously as his mouth had drawn into a thin line. Going there would certainly spark some unpleasant memories. The Redhorn Pass was where their mother, Celebrian was waylaid by orcs.

Glorfindel was not the only one who noticed. Their friends also cheated glances at them.

Elrohir felt someone squeeze his hand. He looked up.

Elanor smiled back at her. She didn't say anything. She didn't need to.

"Elladan, are you all right?" Elrohir asked, glancing at his brother's vacant expression.

"Fine, fine," he waved a hand. "Just thinking…"

"Oh no, not just thinking about that!" Elladan laughed at Elrohir's creased brow. "I am pondering about Antares."

"What about him?" Elanor asked curiously.

"When I was near him, I wasn't affected," said Elladan. "But Legolas was. He was in severe pain and I wasn't. In Glorfindel's story about he and Father witnessing Aikasse, Father wasn't affected very much either! Glorfindel was though…"

"So…" Brilthor said, catching on. "What do you and Master Elrond have in common that Legolas and Lord Glorfindel doesn't have?"

"Precisely," Elladan pointed at Brilthor.

"Well… Legolas and Glorfindel have blonde hair but Elladan and Elrond have dark hair," Elanor pointed out.

The group laughed.

"What?" Elanor looked around innocently. "You never know! Besides, I like elves with dark hair."

"You and your father are Sindarin and the other two… aren't?" Brilthor reasoned, frowning slightly.

"That doesn't make sense," Elrohir shook his head. "Glorfindel said that several Imladris elves have fallen under Antares's spell."

"I am originally Sindarin anyway," added Legolas.

"Father and I are twins!" exclaimed Elladan. "We are also the oldest!"

"Yes… you could be right," Elrohir nodded his head slowly. "I don't see a connection but that could possibly be a reason."

The group murmured in agreement. Could the fact that Elrond and Elladan were both (the eldest) twins have an affect on Antares's power?

Elanor sighed. "I wish I had a twin to scare Antares away," she pretended to pout and wipe away tears, thus making everyone laugh again.

"Me too," Elladan winked at her. "Then I can date the other one!"

Elrohir shook his head, shaking with amusement. He rode out a little further, followed by Elanor. The Imladris Guard was now getting closer and closer to Lorien. But the scent of evil was also getting stronger.

"I have this dreaded feeling that…"

"That we are going towards danger," Elanor finished for him.

The sun was setting and shadows once again loomed ominously around them.

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Elrond Peredhel was sitting in his study, researching through his books, trying to find anything to use against Antares. But his mind could not help wandering. He thought endlessly about the confrontation with Elrohir. His youngest son was quieter than Elladan. Elrohir listened to reason and was very perspective and therefore taking his father by complete surprise with his recent outburst.

And now he is gone, Elrond thought tiredly. He did not know he had upset his son so much that he chose to leave in the middle of the night, his brother tagging along. He had planned to speak to Elrohir in the morning. Elrond hoped that with Antares roaming around, the Imladris Guard had caught up to them and kept them safe. He felt a little better knowing that Elladan had gone with him.

His study door opened.

Elrond's head snapped up from his desk. A cloaked figured strode in. The stranger was tall and wore a black outfit. He wore a hood, hiding his face.

"Who are you?" demanded Elrond as his hand seized the long elven knife concealed under his desk. Elrond did not move and surveyed the stranger closely.

The stranger did not answer.

"Speak now," Elrond said in a firm tone. "You might want to answer my question before I call for guards."

There was a long hesistation.

"My lord," the cloaked figured finally said. His voice was hoarse.

"Who are you?" Elrond narrowed his eyes. "What is your name?"

"I… cannot say," he replied, voice full of sorrow.

Elrond got up and walked to the stranger. The stranger seemed to be unarmed and so far, with no intention to kill or harm him.

"Why have you come?" This time, Elrond's voice was not stern, simply curious. "Do I know you?"

"I think you do, my lord," his voice quavered.

Then, the stranger flicked his hood back in one smooth movement. Elrond stared. He blinked but the figure still remained. He couldn't believe his eyes. Older, more tired, more solemn, but definitely the same person. The long knife he was holding fell to the floor with a clang!

" It cannot be--- You… But you… died."

"I know," the stranger cut in quickly.

"But I saw you---" Elrond put in, astounded. "How?"

"Let me tell from the beginning," the stranger said. "I never went to the Hall of Mandos. I don't even think I actually died. The events are still a blur to me. I was relieved of pain when I sank into unconsciousness. I thought I had died. But I woke up again. I woke up lying weak and injured on the plains of Rohan. My body and mind were so weak that I could not move, let alone walk."

"Then, some people found me," he continued. "They were from a nearby village. They took me to their home and they tended me. I stayed with their family and they showed me great kindness. Finally, when I had recovered enough, they asked me questions and I could not answer any of them. I did not know how speak. I remembered nothing. I couldn't give a name or a home. I could not remember my family, my friends, where I came from--- nothing. For a while, I was in a state of total panic."

The stranger looked miserable. He gulped, "What kind of adult did not know how to speak, my lord? What kind of adult did not know how to dress himself or feed himself? It was like starting over again. I was as helpless as a newborn babe. My mind was just blank!"

Elrond nodded sympathetically. "I am sorry. Please continue."

"But the family was kind to me. They took pity in me and accepted me as a member of their family. For the next few years, I was taught to speak, eat, and the basic life skills. And still, I could not remember anything. My former life was a complete blank. My foster family had seen my pointed ears and they told me I was an elf. An elf! How preposterous! I had thought. They tested to see if I had the normal elven magic."

His voice choked, "I didn't. I had the appearance of an elf, Lord Elrond, but I had lost all elven power. I had no keen eyesight or hearing. I had no more grace than a man. I could not speak elvish. The only thing that remained was my immortality. I never aged the way humans did--- but even that gift was dulled as you can see how much older I look."

He paused again. "There was one thing. I had dreams. Those dreams were so vivid and clear. In them, I was always in the forest and speaking to a young man. The young man had a fair face and kind smile. We would talk but when I would wake up, I could never remember our conversations. For some unexplained reason, I thought those dreams had a connection with my past life."

"I loved my foster family dearly and I even liked my home. I stayed with them until the last member of the family died or left."

"The price of loving mortals…" Elrond whispered and patted his shoulder. "It was not easy for you."

"It was not," confirmed the stranger. "After the only family I could remember died out, I left and began travelling all around Rohan. I would jump from household to household, helping needy families. The villages and places I went to began referring to me as the Elf-Man because of my elven origin and mortal upbringing. But seeing other families together tore me inside because no matter how hard I tried, I could not remember my own family. The memories remained lost but… the dreams continued."

"How did you get here?" asked Elrond gently. "When did you recover your lost memories?"

"They were lost for over a thousand years, my lord," he said mournfully. "Things only began coming back a few months ago… around when Antares returned to power. One day, I was tending a child with a broken leg in the village I was staying in. Before I left, she called out, 'Thank you, Mr. Elf-Man!' And suddenly, something lit in my head. A face surfaced in my mind and I recognized him! He was a friend--- from my former life! Suddenly, the name, 'Elladan' came up! I remember I was so excited that I almost felt like singing all day!"

"It is a bit silly," he admitted, "but after a thousand years of blank pages, even the smallest sign of remembrance felt like a blessing. The next few months, the memories began returning rapidly. I would suddenly remember faces, names, and places. I remembered my home and my family. I had dreams about my best friend. I so desperately wanted to tell him everything but I couldn't. In those few months, events and people from my past life returned. The holes began filling though they are still not completely filled. There was one thing that bothered me greatly."

"I could not remember my name," he told Elrond, shaking his head. "Of all the memories that came back, my name did not. I still do not know my name. After the knowledge returned, I decided to return to Imladris, return to my home--- especially with the whisper about the new enemy. Even the people of Rohan are terrified, for many of their people have fallen victim."

Thus, the stranger concluded his story, looking expressionlessly at Elrond.

"I have known all along why I could not remember my name," he finally said.

"Why is that?" Elrond waited for him to go on.

"This spell--- this curse--- or whatever it is that Antares or fate put on me caused it," explained the stranger. He closed his eyes, blinking back the tears threatening to fall. "I remember my past life but I cannot speak of it to anyone. And I will not remember my name until someone recognizes me; until someone names me."

The stranger looked so hopefully at Elrond that the elf-lord felt emotion well up inside him. He gazed back at the figure before him, a small smile creeping up on his face.

Elrond said one simple word that to the stranger was a blessing from Iluvatar…

End of Chapter 4. To Be Continued…

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Author's Note: I am muchos sorry if this chapter was too slow or boring for you liking! But it is a very important chapter! Sorry if there were too many explanations but the arrival of Antares and the stranger is very important. Without Antares, there would be no plot! I guess there wasn't much "twins moments" in this chapter. Sorry Elladan, Elrohir--- sometimes I have to give the spotlight momentarily to others! Oh and about Celebros and Rastaban, they will play more than just the annoying rivals role in this story. There will be something in store for those two and I'm not telling right now!

Feedback, constructive criticism, and ideas are welcome! You are also welcome to point out any obvious or overlooked mistakes! Thanks a bunch!

Coming Up Next: Arrival In Lorien: The news exchange between Glorfindel and the Lord and Lady of Lothlorien. Elves are falling victim in Lorien too! There is a strange elf who mutters nonsense (Elladan, Elrohir, and friends will meet the elf!). Arwen will show up again and Galadriel speaks to Elladan. Why are the Lord and Lady behaving so strange at every mention of Antares?

Names--->Meaning
Elladan--->Elf-Man
Elrohir--->Elf-Knight
Elrond/Peredhel--->Elf of the Cave/Half-elven
Glorfindel--->Golden-Haired Elf
Thranduil--->Hall Of Star Shadow/Beyond The Great River (Thank you, Fince!)
Legolas--->Greenleaf
Arwen--->Noble Woman
Undomiel--->Evenstar
Galadriel--->Radiant Garland
Celeborn--->(Tall) Silver Tree
Elanor--->Sun-Star (a flower)
Alcarin--->Glorious (referring to her appearance)
Celebros--->Silver Foam
Rastaban--->Eye of the Snake
Aikasse--->Mountain Peak
Falasir--->River Shore

Chapters Guide:
Chapter 1: The Winter Festival
Chapter 2: About Warriors And A Warrioress
Chapter 3: The Promise Rings
Chapter 4: Unsettling News
Chapter 5: Arrival In Lorien
Chapter 6: A Narrow Escape
Chapter 7: The Things That Change
Chapter 8: I'll Always Be There For You
Chapter 9: Fatherly Advice And A New Mission
Chapter 10: Arrival In Mirkwood
Chapter 11: He Did It! It Was His Fault!
Chapter 12: Peredhil
Chapter 13: Elladan's Loyalty
Chapter 14: Every Day I Think Of Home
Chapter 15: Elladan Speaks, Elrond Ponders
Chapter 16: Speaking To The Red-Eyes
Chapter 17: A Battle At The Home Front
Chapter 18: The Return Of Elrohir
Chapter 19: A Sacrifice
Chapter 20: The Twins Connection
Chapter 21: Dreaming Celebrian
Chapter 22: These Red Eyes
Chapter 23: The Greatest Weapon You'll Ever Have
Chapter 24: Arrival In Imladris
Chapter 25: What It Means To Be Family
Chapter 26: The Next Winter Festival
Epilogue: A New Day Has Come

Feel free to try and guess the chapters from the titles! Note that this is not definite. More chapters may be added and titles may be changed. I'd just like everyone to know that I have a definite plan and layout.

THE FINAL CHAPTER and EPILOGUE has already been written. But I've hidden it in a CAVE, behind LOCKED DOORS, and guarded by DWARVES with AXES!

Copyright © 2003 ChasingLiberty

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.

Story Information

Author: ChasingLiberty

Status: General

Completion: Work in Progress

Era: 3rd Age - The Kings

Genre: Action

Rating: General

Last Updated: 09/07/03

Original Post: 08/26/03

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