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Crossroads of Time

Chapter 2: Chapter 2

by ellie

Title: Crossroads of Time
Author: Ellie
Betas: Fianna, Julie, and my husband who doesn’t have a screen name yet
Chapter: 2/?
Rating: PG for now
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters. They belong to JRR Tolkien and I am only borrowing them for a while. I make no money from this.
Cast: Glorfindel, Ecthelion, Idril, Turgon, OFCs and OMCs
Summary: A woman not of Arda but in the position of being able to change Arda’s past, finds herself becoming a part of it instead. Not a Mary Sue.
Feedback: Please let me know what you think. This is my first fan fic and the longest story I've ever written.


Chapter 2

Ariella stood in a room bathed with the new light of dawn. Beautiful voices raised in an ancient song of wondrous welcome lilted in on the warm breeze from the window. She wore a flowing lavender dress that she knew accented her eyes perfectly. A gorgeous golden-haired elf stood before her dressed in a green tunic with matching green leggings and a light green shirt with golden flowers embroidered at the collar and cuffs. His grey eyes twinkled mischievously as he told her how lovely she was. She blushed and looked away from his enchanting smile.

“Oh, you are shy!” he delighted as he reached out and brushed his fingers against her cheek. Her blush deepened as she leaned into the caress.

She awoke with a start, looking into the shocked guilty face of the same golden haired elf. With lightning reflexes, he snatched his hand from her face. He was sitting in a chair beside her bed, wearing the same green clothes. Outside, the voices in ethereal chorus were still singing their welcome to the dawn.

He took a deep breath and smoothly erased the shock from his face with a smile. “Welcome to Gondolin,” he said.

It was her turn to look shocked. Gondolin! Tirion on Middle Earth. The mountain city of seven names. The hidden kingdom resplendent with singing fountains. The kingdom ruled by King Turgon of the Noldor …who never took kindly to visitors. That was bad. That was very bad. She closed her eyes for a moment then opened them again. The elf was still there. She closed her eyes for a longer time and opened them again. He persisted in being there and, unfortunately, so did she.

“I am not going to go away,” he commented wryly. “You are saddled with me for the present.”

Time. Why hadn’t she returned to her time? Why was she still on Arda? Why was she still here?

She smiled at him cautiously. “Who are you?”

The golden haired elf leaned forward, his grey eyes lit with amusement. “Courtesy dictates that you should name yourself first since you are the stranger here. However, since it is my fault that you are here, I shall answer first. My name is Lord Glorfindel, Chief of the House of the Golden Flower.”

She was stunned. This was so not good. Her parents knew him. Or at least they would know him. She took a steadying breath before replying. “My name is Ariella,” she said in a small voice. “It is … nice to meet you Lord Glorfindel.”

His expression grew serious. “I deeply apologize for the circumstances of our meeting.” He paused for a moment, then nodded. “But it is nice to meet you as well.”

She gave him a small smile and shifted a little in the bed. Wincing at the sudden pain, she looked toward the source and saw that her left shoulder was heavily bandaged.

He stood and hurriedly adjusted her pillows. “You should lie still for now. It is almost time to change your bandages again. Are you in pain other than when you move like that?”

She thought about it a moment. “Yes. A little. What exactly happened to me?” She looked at him in confusion. “I remember I was…” she paused, searching for a plausible explanation that didn’t have to do with tissue sampling, “petting a beautiful deer that I saw by the river when… I think I was shot!”

He sat back in his chair and looked down at his hands for a moment. Taking a deep breath, he looked up. “Yes,” he said hesitantly. “You were shot. My friend Ecthelion, Chief of the House of the Fountain, and I were out on an errand for our king. On our return journey, we thought we would do some hunting. We knew there were no orcs in the area and the wild game was quite plentiful. We saw a likely looking stag by the river. The stag was far enough away to be a challenge, so we decided to shoot at the same time to see who would bring it down. The winner would get the prize. Just before we loosed, a shadow passed in front of the stag, but we thought nothing of it. Unfortunately, the shadow was you.” He looked back down at his hands.

“So you were the loser and ended up with me?” she asked.

He looked up, aghast, then realized she was smiling. He relaxed and smiled back, but the smile didn’t reach his eyes. “No. I think I won the better prize.” He reached out and very gently took her left hand in his right. “Unfortunately, I also won the consequences. King Turgon does not appreciate visitors in his realm. He never has done so, and especially not since the Nirnaeth Arnoediad.”

“The entire city is out celebrating for today is the festival of the Gates of Summer, but I am trapped here under house arrest. And here I must remain until either you die from your injuries and he passes judgment on me, or you recover and he passes judgment on both of us. Your injuries are quite severe. Your survival thus far is almost totally of your own merit for my healing abilities are minimal as are Ecthelion’s. You should have been under the care of a skilled healer, but Turgon denied me one hoping that you would die and the problem would go away, except for punishing me of course.” He sighed and looked down again, absently running his thumb over the back of her left hand.

She puzzled over what he had said. She had never read about any turmoil between Glorfindel and Turgon. In fact, Glorfindel was reputed to have been the most beloved elf in Gondolin, except perhaps for Ecthelion, but who would want to choose? In her opinion, they were both wonderful and they didn’t let her die when they should have. They both had her vote for most beloved.

“Why does the king not like you?” she asked, curiosity getting the best of her.

Glorfindel stiffened and looked up surprised. He stopped caressing her hand. “It is not that Turgon does not like me.” He explained looking affronted. “He is upset that I have put him in a difficult situation. I am his kinsman. My father and his mother are siblings. I am also, by right, one of his lords. My father is Chief of the Golden Flower in Tirion and served King Finwe. Father did not join the rebellion, but I, purely out of loyalty to my beloved cousin, did. So, I am the chief of our house here. I have done my best to serve Turgon faithfully and loyally. I even commanded his army at the Nirnaeth alongside Ecthelion fifteen years ago. However,” he cast down his proud gaze, his voice turning somber. “In bringing you here, I have overstepped my bounds.”

“I have seen and done enough killing, so it seems that one more death should not have bothered me. But you were innocent of any wrongdoing. I simply could not justify to myself letting you die because of our carelessness.” He met her eyes again. “Ecthelion agreed with me and also shared in the guilt over what we did to you. We discussed how we should go about bringing you back and how to take the punishment. I pointed out to him that because he has a wife and children, whereas I do not, I should take the punishment. Besides, I am the king’s cousin, so maybe Turgon would be inclined to be more merciful toward me. Ecthelion, however, was not going to give in, but,” he paused with a glint in his eyes, “I beat him to the guards at the First Gate, and gave them my version of the story before he could say anything. So…I am taking the punishment, and Ecthelion faces no dishonor. He, too, is furious with me at the moment.”

She briefly pondered his words. If the Nirnaeth was fifteen years ago, then this is the year 487, and Gondolin will fall twenty-three years from now. At least now she knew when she was.

Glorfindel sat back in his chair, releasing her hand and crossing his arms in front of his chest. “So…considering what I am enduring on your behalf, would you care to tell me what you were doing out there?”

He had a very commanding presence, and she found she could not long endure the piercing gaze he leveled at her. She looked away from him as a wave of guilt washed over her. Erecting the strongest mental block she could muster, she considered her response. Telling him that she was an alien from another world and had been taking part in an experiment in time travel was out of the question. She decided that some version of the truth might be best though, as he was probably good at mind reading as were most elves.

“Well…” She stared at her right hand and began fingering the bed sheet. “My family served the Princess Artanis, Galadriel as she calls herself now, and Prince Celeborn of Doriath.” Not a lie, just not the whole truth. “I am all that remains of my family. I lost them some time ago.” She paused. “It seems like ages have past since I last saw them. I was wandering when you found me.” And she desperately hoped that she would be going home any moment now.

She looked back up at him.

“I am sorry to hear about your family.” He bowed his head for a moment before continuing. “You must have wandered for a long time judging from the condition of your dress and your lack of supplies. All we found in your bag were a dagger, a hair brush, a water skin, and some lembas.”

She nodded.

“This may sound callous,” he continued, his tone serious. “But it is probably for the best that you have no family to return to. You cannot leave Gondolin now by any door other than death. It is the King’s law.”

She turned her head away from him again and didn’t respond. He considered her for a few moments before uncrossing his arms and leaning forward to take her left hand in both of his.

“How did you lose your family?” he asked quietly.

She was hoping he wouldn’t ask that. She desperately tried to think of a plausible explanation. What was she going to say? “Most would probably fault my brother for his carelessness.”

What was she saying? What a typical little sister?! Blame your big brother to keep yourself out of trouble. Well, everyone would blame him for whatever happened to her anyway. Don’t smile. Don’t laugh. It is not funny. She could die for this and so could Glorfindel.

“And …, when they all meet again in the Great Halls to which we may pass, I hope they are not too hard on him. I do not hold him entirely responsible, for his decisions seemed valid at the time.” The more she tried not to laugh, the funnier it became to her. She pressed her lips together tightly for a moment as tears came to her eyes. Hold it in. Hold it in. She took a shaky breath and continued. “I mean, who knew they would bring about the horrible events that ensued? These are dangerous times after all and... and many have been lost due to decisions that we all have come to regret. Things unexpectedly turned bad where they were, apparently.” Tears started down her cheeks as she further suppressed the giggles. “And I guess he lost control of the situation. I was the only one able to get away, and … now I’m here alone and my family is gone.” Her voice rose as the last few words came out in a rush. She pulled the sheet up to hide her face, trembling with the effort to control her emotions. Holding in the laughter was hurting her injuries horribly. Now tears of pain streamed from her eyes too.

This was so bad. This just could not be real. Here she was trapped in Gondolin trying not to die with someone who will be one of my parents’ best friends thousands of years from now…before he returns to Valinor that is. She had probably totally screwed up history and the future and she was laughing about it! She was going to die. The world was going to end and it was all her fault. And she was going to kill her brother if she ever saw him again… If he was ever born that was... If she was ever born…. But, she was still here, so maybe she hadn’t totally messed things up yet. She needed to calm down. Take a few deep breaths. She began one and was rudely interrupted by searing pain flashing through her chest. Her face contorted with the agony.

Suddenly she felt the sheet being pulled away from her face and a hand gently caressing her tear-stained cheek.

“I am sorry I upset you,” Glorfindel said softly, leaning over her. “But I had to know. Turgon will want to know as well. For the time being, you have a home here in my house. At least until we find out what Turgon decides to do with us.”

Good he hadn’t read her mind, but the laughter died in her as guilt flooded back in. What had she done? This was all so unfair to Glorfindel.

He sat down. Pulling the sheet back from her left shoulder, he began trying to loosen the bandages. “I need to check your wounds and change the bandages now.”

She looked down and gasped when she realized she was naked under the sheet. “ Where are my clothes?”

“Your dress was ruined by the arrows and blood. I had a new one made for you in case you survived.” He paused and bowed his head as a flush crept up his cheeks. “That did not sound right. I hoped you would survive so I had one made for you.” He paused again. “Was that better?”

She smiled. “Yes, a bit. I appreciate the thought.”

“Good.” He sounded relieved. “But, you cannot wear it yet as you are likely to bleed all over it. A couple of my female servants and I have tried to figure out how we could get you into a sleeping garment of some kind and still have access to your injuries. Unfortunately, we could not come up with anything suitable. One of them is usually in here with me when I change your bandages, but my servants are at the festival right now. Are you comfortable with me changing the bandages by myself?”

Realizing he had probably already seen all of her there was to see, and more than once, she sighed self-consciously. “I guess I am all right with you changing the bandages yourself.”

“Good.”

He got up and walked over to a table across the room. The sunlight from the window above the table caught his hair in a radiant glory. His back was turned and she couldn’t see what he was doing. As she tore her gaze away from him, she realized dawn had finally given way to day. The singing had died down to a low hum. Her room was spacious and white. The arched brown door in the wall to her right was ornately carved with leaves and flowers. The wall to her left was bare except for a window where a light breeze tickled the wispy curtains.

Glorfindel returned momentarily with a tray bearing a cup of water, some bread, a knife, some herbs, and bandages. Setting the tray on a small table beside the bed, he bent over and helped her to sit up a little so she could drink the water. She paled and trembled as renewed waves of pain washed over her, but complied.

“I think we had better hold off on the food until I have changed your bandages,” he observed.

“How long was I asleep,” she panted wearily after he settled her back on the pillows. He sat down and reached for the knife.

“Four and a half days.”

She gasped in horror. That couldn’t possibly be! Why hadn’t she returned? What went wrong? She felt herself pale even more.

“It is all right.” He quickly tried to reassure her, misunderstanding her reaction. “I will not hurt you. I just need to cut away the old bandages.”

She gulped shallow breaths as she panicked. This could not be happening to her. She needed to go home! She was supposed to go home!’

He set the knife down on the bed and stood up. He walked around to the other side of her bed and took her right hand in both of his. He gracefully knelt down, leaning close to her and giving her hand a gentle squeeze. “You are very weary right now.” He reassured tenderly. “After I change the bandages, you can rest some more. I will try to hurry as best I can.”

She blinked at the tears forming in her eyes. She couldn’t panic. She needed to calm down. It would all be over soon and she would be home again.

She looked at him and nodded, finally believing. She would go to sleep soon, wake up, and be home again. This would all just be a really weird memory. Her breathing slowly returned to normal.

He smiled releasing her hand with a last quick squeeze. He stood and made his way back to her other side where he sat down, taking the knife in his right hand.

“Try to be still. I don’t want to cut you,” he cautioned.

She stared at the white ceiling as he slipped the knife under part of the bandages and began cutting them away. Her pain gradually increased as he worked. After he exposed the wounds to her shoulder and upper chest above her left breast, she cocked her head to look. Her wounds looked raw and oozed fresh blood from where the poultice had stuck to them. She lay back a moment and closed her eyes, searching inside of herself to read the extent of her injuries.

“Those arrows barely missed my heart in two places. Some of my ribs are broken and the rest are bruised,” she observed matter-of-factly.

He looked at her in surprise. “You are correct.” He placed the knife on the tray and started making a poultice from the herbs.

“I am a healer in my own right,” she proudly explained through the pain. “Oh. You probably will not need that.” She nodded toward the poultice. “I am going to finish the healing myself.”

He set the poultice on the tray and sat back in the chair crossing his arms in front of his chest. He looked at her doubtfully. “I will believe that when I see it.”

"All right.” She closed her eyes again, took a deep breath and felt all of the pain wash away. She placed her right hand over the wound on her chest. She stared at the damaged area concentrating hard. It began to heal from the inside out. After a few minutes the entry and exit wounds from the arrow were gone. She moved her hand away and looked approvingly at the smooth soft skin. She moved her hand to the other arrow wound and healed it in a little less time. She closed her eyes, panting hard from the exertion. When she finally caught her breath again, she opened her eyes as she raised and flexed her left arm. She glanced over at Glorfindel who was staring at her, mouth open, shocked wonder written all over his fair face.

She grinned sheepishly. “I told you I am a healer.”

“I have seen many healers ply their craft upon many a wounded elf,” he shook his head in disbelief. “But never have I seen a healing like that.”

“Well…” She paused. She couldn’t tell him her people are genetically engineered to heal quickly in that manner. “I do not heal the same way that most do,” she explained choosing her words carefully. “I am a little bit different in that regard and my training was different from that of most healers. Some things are done in different ways in different places.”

She sighed to herself in relief as she thought about finally going back home so she wouldn’t have to explain any more difficult things to Glorfindel.

He stared at her curiously. “I guess some things are done differently in Doriath.” He shrugged. “After all Melian is there. And I do not know the customs, as I have never been there. That is very interesting!”

Doriath?!

Oh yes. She had told him her family served Galadriel and Celeborn. It was time to talk about something else. Anything else.

“Please remove the bandages so I can feel my ribs. Broken bones are harder to mend and I am tired. It is easier for me to heal in direct contact with skin.”

He did as she asked and tried to avert his gaze from what he had uncovered. “You can watch my hands, if you like,” she offered. “But nothing else.”

He swallowed hard and nodded, pressing his lips together. For a few minutes she concentrated on the bones mending, but the effort soon exhausted her.

She looked over at him to see him watching her paling face. “Please help me,” she whispered. “I am not strong enough to complete my healing. Would you please lend me some of your strength?”

“How could I do that?” he asked curiously, leaning toward her.

“Place one hand on my forehead and one on my chest below my neck.” She smiled weakly. “No wandering any lower.”

He gave her a small smile in return and complied with his right hand on her forehead and his left hand on her chest. “Now what?” He inhaled suddenly and stiffened as the last word escaped his lips.

She closed her eyes breathing as deeply as she comfortably could. After several breaths, she felt strong again. She looked over at him. “You can move your hands now.” Withdrawing his hands, he had an odd look on his face. “Are you all right?” she asked him in concern.

“Yes,” he replied uncertainly. “I think… I am fine. Just a little…tired.” He looked at his hands and then back at her in wonder. “That was so strange. Can you heal others too?”

“Yes, but I would not want to put any of your healers out of work. Besides it can be very exhausting for me.” She paused a moment. “I must finish healing myself now. Thank you for helping me.” She reached out with her left hand and gently squeezed one of his. “Thank you for everything.” And she truly meant it.

She placed her hands back on her wounded ribs and completed the healing. Weariness quickly overtook her. She glanced up at his beautiful face again as she drifted off to sleep. She would miss him. He really was wonderful. She felt the sheet being raised covering her to her neck. Fingers gently brushed her cheek.

“Sleep well. You have earned it,” he whispered, admiration evident in his lovely voice.



Notes:

▪ Nirnaeth Arnoediad- The Battle of Unnumbered Tears. The last of the great battles of Beleriand in which the Noldor and the Edain fought. King Fingon was killed, but Turgon escaped taking the surviving members of Fingon’s forces back to Gondolin with him. Most of the surviving Edain, under the leadership of Hurin and Huor, bought the escape of Turgon’s forces with their lives.

▪ Gates of Summer – A festival welcoming summer, held on the longest day of the year.

▪ I made up Glorfindel’s parentage though he really was Chief of the House of the Golden Flower in Gondolin. In History of Middle Earth, volume XII it says that Glorfindel was a kinsman of Turgon and that that kinship was largely the reason Glorfindel joined the rebellion of the Noldor. I also subscribe to the belief that Glorfindel of Gondolin and Glorfindel of Imladris (Rivendell) are the same person.

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Chapter 2
Created
02 Sep 2004
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02 Sep 2004
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