Login

Lost Password?

Create New Account

Crossroads of Time

Chapter 3: Chapter 3

by ellie

Title: Crossroads of Time
Author: Ellie
Betas: Fianna, Julie, Rianna, and my husband who doesn’t have a screen name yet
Chapter:3/?
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 3

Warm and comfortable, Ariella snuggled up in the softness of the bed, the scent of flowers filling the air as she gradually became aware once again. She wondered where her mother had found flowers with such a delightful smell. They reminded her of some she had seen in Elrond’s garden in Imladris. She had always meant to ask Elrond what the flowers were called. She opened her eyes to see a vase full of those same Imladris golden flowers with a lovely purple center. The only problem was that this wasn’t her bedroom at home.

She abruptly sat bolt upright and blinked at the dizziness that temporarily assailed her. This wasn’t her bedroom in Imladris either. She looked around in a panic. This was…

She gracelessly dropped back to the pillows with her hands over her face, trying to deny what she had seen. She slowly slid her hands down to expose her eyes, her hands still covering her nose and mouth. She stared at the blank white ceiling in horror. Oh, dear God, she was still in Gondolin!

How could this have happened? What had gone wrong? Was this a joke? Surely this couldn’t be real. She couldn’t be trapped in the past. She just couldn’t.

Ariella lay still for a while, trying to get up the nerve to get out of bed. The sun was shining through the windows while a breeze was busy tossing the curtains about. She looked around the room and noticed someone’s abandoned embroidery project lying on the chair Glorfindel had been sitting in before. He does embroidery? He’s a warrior and a lord. What’s he doing sewing golden flowers on a … Was that a baby blanket? That was weird enough for her to get up out of bed to investigate.

She had tossed back the sheet and turned to get out of bed when she realized she was wearing a thin pale yellow night gown. She fingered the soft linen material wondering where it had come from. It was simple and pretty. Who had put it on her? She would let that one go. At least she wasn’t naked any more.

Ariella stood up and immediately felt light-headed. She closed her eyes, bowing her head and breathing deeply for a few moments until she felt better. She opened her eyes and made her way around the bed to the embroidery on the chair. Examining the blanket, she admired the highly detailed work. She herself could do little more than basic stitching, but she knew quality work when she saw it. This needlework was exquisite.

Just then, the door to her room opened. Ariella dropped the embroidery and spun around to see who was there. A pregnant golden haired elleth in a blue dress stood there staring at her in surprise. The lovely woman pressed a hand to her swollen belly as if the baby had been surprised too.

“Hello, Ariella,” she greeted in Sindarin. “I hope I did not startle you. I was not expecting you to be awake, let alone out of bed.” She paused, taking in Ariella’s appearance. “Are you feeling better now? You look quite well, especially considering what you have been through.”

Ariella stared at her, temporarily at a loss for words.

The woman smiled. “My brother said that you healed yourself right before his eyes. Did you really? I had heard that your wounds were serious.”

She walked over to where Ariella mutely stood, and awkwardly bent over to pick up the embroidery. “I did not mean to be gone so long when I left this here. I just came back for it.”

Ariella finally recovered her voice. “Who are you?”

The woman briefly put her hand up to her mouth in alarm. “I am so sorry! How rude of me for not introducing myself. I am Glorfindel’s sister Elianna. It is nice to meet you Ariella. Welcome to Gondolin. I hear you are from Doriath?”

Ariella looked bewildered. Doriath? Why do they keep thinking that? Celeborn and Galadriel live in Lothlórien. Oh yes, this is the First Age. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to regain some mental focus. When she opened them again, Elianna was staring at her oddly.

Ariella forced a smile and placed her hand to her forehead. “It is nice to meet you…Elianna. I am sorry for being so slow to respond. I am still feeling a little out of sorts. So much has happened to me in such a short time. I am still trying to come to terms with it all.” What an understatement!

Elianna’s expression relaxed into a sympathetic smile. “Yes, much has happened to you. And much more still may.” She gestured to Ariella to sit down in the chair while she sat on the edge of the bed.

“King Turgon is not pleased that you have recovered so.” Her tone was serious though her voice was soft and kind. “For that matter, my brothers are not happy about it either, except for Glorfindel of course. They fear for him and the punishment he will receive because of you. I am sorry to tell you such unhappy news so soon upon waking up from such an ordeal. I just thought you should know to be wary of my other brothers. They love Glorfindel dearly and are fiercely protective of him.” She paused, looking into Ariella’s eyes for a few moments. She reached out and clasped Ariella’s hand and smiled reassuringly. “I, for one, am happy to see a new face. We are so isolated here! You know, you are every bit as lovely as my brother said you were. You are as golden as a Vanya, but I have never seen someone with eyes your color before. Is that a common color in Doriath?”

Ariella smiled uncertainly and slowly replied, “Thank you for the compliment. It is good to know I have a friend or two here. And no, the color is not common. I have my father’s coloring in hair and eyes.”

“You have a lucky mother to have such features to admire in a husband.” She suddenly clapped her hand to her mouth and quickly apologized, “Oh, I am so sorry. I should not have mentioned your parents. My brother said that you lost them some time ago and that you are alone now. I could not imagine what it must be like to be alone in the world. I have always had my brothers and then my husband. And now,” she looked down with a smile and lovingly caressed her stomach, “I have him.”

She looked back up at Ariella and clasped her hand again. “I may not have much room left on my lap or in my stomach for that matter, but I have room in my heart for one more friend…no matter how things turn out with Turgon’s judgment. So, if you need someone to talk to, I am here. I am certainly not going anywhere any time soon, and even if I did, I move so slowly you would catch me before I got very far away!” She laughed merrily, and Ariella couldn’t help but smile warmly back.

“Ariella, I imagine you must be quite hungry. I always am nowadays. You slept for two more days after you healed yourself. It has been a long time since you last ate. How about if I have some lunch sent up for you? There is a dress for you in the wardrobe over there.” She gestured to a finely carved oak wardrobe that stood against the same wall as the head of Ariella’s bed. “The door beside it leads to a washroom. I will have a servant prepare a bath for you as well.” She stood up and started toward the door. “I must go and tell Glorfindel that you are awake. I am sure he will want to meet with you to discuss some things if you are up to it.”

“Thank you very much for your kindness,” Ariella replied.

“You are welcome. Please let me or a servant know if you need anything. Farewell.” She walked out the door.

“Farewell,” Ariella said as the door closed.

Ariella remained in the chair, pondering the conversation. She had read often enough about how nice Glorfindel was, but history never said anything about his wonderful sister. Well, nothing except that she died in the fall of Gondolin along with her brothers, husband, and son. Her son will be only twenty-two years old, not even half way to adulthood when he dies. Ariella blinked back the tears that suddenly threatened her eyes. She shook her head, trying to clear it. “I can’t do this every time I meet someone. I can’t think about how they are going to die. This is so unfair. So unfair.” She took a few deep breaths to calm herself, then got up and went to the washroom.

When she came out, there was a knock on her door. She opened it to find four women there bearing water and supplies for her bath as well as her food. She stepped aside as they nodded to her and silently went about filling the tub in the washroom and preparing the table across the room from her bed for lunch. When they finished and were walking out of the door to leave, one of them finally paused and spoke.

“We hope all is to your liking. You will find soap, towels, and clean undergarments by the tub. I will come for you in an hour to take you to meet with Lord Glorfindel. If you need anything before then, I will be waiting outside of your door. Just call me. My name is Linanna.”

“Thank you Linanna.”

Linanna inclined her head in a short bow and the women left, closing the door behind them.

Ariella went to the table. She hadn’t realized how hungry she was. She devoured a few slices of bread and some yellow cheese without even bothering to sit down. She drained the glass of juice, then grabbed an apple to snack on in the bath.

She went in the washroom, stripped, and lowered herself into the hot scented water. Her mind was strangely numb and empty during the bath. She had no idea what to expect next and didn’t know enough about what was going on to worry much. She would avoid Glorfindel’s brothers if she could. She was clueless about what to do when she met Turgon. All she could do was wait and see what happened next. Besides, relaxing here in the tub, nothing seemed real anyway. It really didn’t feel different being in this age. And of course, there was still a chance she would wake up or go home any moment now.

After washing her hair, she got out of the tub, dried herself, and went to the wardrobe. She found her bag at the bottom of the wardrobe and satisfied herself that its contents were still there. Her brother would need the brush back intact to get all of the readings off of it. She stowed the bag again and focused on the new dress hanging in front of her. It was a soft lavender and looked strangely familiar.

She put on the undergarments and tried unsuccessfully to pull the dress on over the towel that was still bound around her wet hair. She struggled beneath the cloud of wispy lavender fabric until she extricated herself from the towel. She wiggled the rest of the way into the dress and attempted to fasten it. Picking up the towel off the floor, she went to the door and opened it calling to Linanna.

Ariella blushed in embarrassment, feeling quite childish about her dishevelment as Linanna came in the room eyeing Ariella critically. She straightened the dress on Ariella’s body and fastened a couple of hooks Ariella had missed.

“Thank you,” Ariella said sheepishly. “Would you please help me comb my hair? I am afraid it will not be dry in time for my meeting with Glorfindel.”

Linanna smiled knowingly and retrieved a comb from the washroom. “Lord Glorfindel is not used to considering the needs of an elleth when planning events concerning one. He does not realize we need more time to prepare. Sit.” She gestured to the chair by the bed.

Ariella smiled and hurried to seat herself. Linanna picked up Ariella’s long hair from where it pooled on the floor and began combing it.

“With all of this gold on your head, how could he not see you while out hunting?” she asked in mock disapproval. “Unless he did see all of this and thought he better shoot before you got away. He does love gold, you know,” she teased.

Ariella protested, “I was wearing my cloak and had my hood pulled up.”

“In the heat of summer?” Linanna queried dubiously.

“Well...I didn’t want to draw attention to myself. It is dangerous out there alone.”

“Well a lot of good it did you!” Linanna shot back.

Ariella turned and glared at her. Linanna burst out laughing, and Ariella soon joined her when she realized Linanna was teasing her.

“Lord Glorfindel will never ever live this down,” Linanna shook her head and laughed even harder.

The remainder of the combing took place in a giddy silence occasionally broken by further fits of the giggles from both of them. When she finished, Linanna said, “Your hair is only half dry. Stand up and I will braid it for you, if you like.”

Ariella nodded, and stood up walking away from the chair to give Linanna some room. Linanna deftly plaited a single braid down Ariella’s back, then tied the braid with a silk ribbon that matched the dress. Linanna walked around Ariella, inspecting her, and nodded in satisfaction.

“We should leave now,” Linanna said. “Please follow me.”

Ariella had no idea what to expect next, so she put all of her mental barriers back in place as she followed Linanna. They went into a long hallway, down two flights of steps, and into a large open room filled with sunlight. They turned left and walked down another hallway, stopping before a large wooden door ornately carved with vines and flowers.

“This is Lord Glorfindel’s private study,” Linanna whispered as she knocked on the door.

“Enter!” a melodic male voice commanded.

Ariella felt nervousness settling into the pit of her stomach for a long sojourn as Linanna opened the door and led her in. Ariella slowly followed, looking around in awe. The room was larger and more elegant than Elrond’s study in Imladris. The walls were covered with tapestries and paintings depicting what Ariella guessed were scenes and landscapes from Valinor. The bare parts of the walls were carved with vines of flowers weaving their way throughout the room. It was almost like being in a forest with art growing from the trees. The effect was quite stunning. The engraved forest continued through an archway with small animals and birds carved around it and into a large library with a balcony. The windows in both rooms looked as if they were natural gaps in the trees. It was simply exquisite almost as if a forest with a couple of rooms in it had sprouted within a large block of wood.

When Ariella finished gawking at the room, she noticed Glorfindel standing behind a large carved wooden desk adorned with a couple of stacks of papers, three glasses of wine, a bottle of ink, and some quills. He wore a grey shirt beneath a blue tunic, with matching blue leggings and robes. Two other elves were each standing in front of chairs to either side of the desk. The male looked familiar and incredibly handsome with long dark hair and was dressed similarly to Glorfindel in burgundy and mauve. He also wore a silver knot-work collar set with diamonds. The female was beautiful with loose golden hair long enough to sit on, and wearing a silky white dress but no shoes.

“Good afternoon, Ariella. It is good to see you up and around,” Glorfindel said, a warm smile lighting his face.

“Good afternoon to you, Lord Glorfindel. It is good to still be around to be up,” Ariella returned with a smile. She felt comfortable talking to him.

He gestured toward the woman. “This is Princess Idril, daughter of King Turgon.” Gesturing toward the man, he continued, “And you have already met Lord Ecthelion.”

The comfortable feeling promptly departed as Ariella curtseyed to them and said, “I am honored to meet you.” They both nodded to her.

Glorfindel gestured to a chair beside Idril. “Please sit down. Would you like some wine?”

“Yes, please,” Ariella responded as she walked over to the chair and sat down. Glorfindel, Ecthelion, and Idril sat as well.

A servant brought her a crystal goblet of wine. Glorfindel looked at the servant and then at Linanna and said, “You may leave. I will call you if I need you.”

They both responded, “Yes, my Lord,” as they turned and left the room, closing the door behind them.

“You are looking remarkably better than you did last time I saw you,” Ecthelion observed with a smile. His rich melodic voice would command the attention of any listener.

“Yes, I am much better. Thank you,” Ariella responded as nervousness spread to other areas besides her stomach. She took a sip of her wine in the uncomfortable silence that followed.

“Glorfindel told us that before your parents died, they served our Princess Artanis and the Prince Celeborn of Doriath,” Ecthelion commented.

“Yes, that is correct.” Ariella fingered the stem of her glass. “Although, Princess Artanis calls herself Galadriel now. That is the epesse given her by her husband Lord Celeborn.”

“Yes, of course,” he continued, gesturing with his hand as if to physically brush aside her correction. “But you have the eyes of a mortal. Though, I must admit, the color is quite intriguing. Does Thingol now make a practice of admitting mortals to his realm?”

Why did every one have to comment about her eyes so much? No one in Imladris ever commented about them. “My eyes are like my father’s.” Ariella responded meeting his gaze, trying to remember the proper time frame for the next part of her answer. “And King Thingol has admitted a few mortals to his realm. The most recent, that I know of, was Turin son of Hurin. I believe you knew Hurin?”

“Yes, I did. Hurin lived here in Gondolin for a time as a youth. He and his brother Huor bought us our retreat from the Nirnaeth with their lives and those of their men.” Ecthelion paused as sorrow briefly clouded his bright eyes and bowed his head for a moment before stating. “So, your father was mortal.”

“Yes.”

“Judging by your lovely golden hair, I would say you are of Hador’s people as well.”

Ariella smiled and started to take a sip of her wine without answering. Ha! She had told her brother that she could pass as one of Hador’s people.

“And your mother was an elf from Doriath.”

Ariella froze. Lowering her glass, she asked carefully, “What makes you think that?”

“Well you must have elven blood in your veins or else your healing abilities are not to be explained. You also do not “feel” like any mortal that we have met before. You do not feel entirely elven either. Glorfindel and I could perceive your thoughts before you awoke two days ago, but since then,” he glanced over at Glorfindel. Glorfindel raised his eyebrows and shook his head no. “Neither of us can. There is something quite different about you that we cannot otherwise explain.”

Ariella looked down at the floor. If only they knew how different she was. She was the first alien they had ever met. It was no wonder they did not know what to call her. She thought they were a bit arrogant to think that humans shouldn’t be able to heal like she did and that they shouldn’t be telepaths. But then again, she was not like the humans of Arda, so she guessed she would have to forgive that. She just hadn’t expected to be called peredhel. She was actually flattered.

Ariella shook her head as she looked back up at the two with an odd smile. “No one has ever said such a thing to me before. I never knew I was perceived that way. I do not know what to say.”

Ecthelion sat back crossing his arms in front of his chest, and smiled smugly. “So we have you figured out now.”

Ariella considered this for a moment. Fortunately for her, her people did not get sick or show their age, so she figured she should be able to pull off peredhel… until she dropped dead of natural causes, was executed by Turgon just for being there anyway, or she returned home to her own time. And by then it would be too late for anyone to ask questions. That would work!

“Yes,” she replied with a smile and a sigh of resignation. “So it seems.”

“Yes, it does,” Idril commented knowingly. Her voice was quite nice too, but there was a touch of something in the tone that made Ariella most uneasy.

Suddenly Ariella heard Idril’s voice in her head. “I can still perceive your thoughts, Ariella, though the others cannot. I know what you are. You and I will talk more of this when we are alone.”

Ariella stiffened, turned to Idril, and gave her a slow wide-eyed nod. Her heart was pounding as she tried to control the fear threatening her composure. She had read that Idril could read minds, but she had never realized how powerful she truly was, until now.

Idril turned to Glorfindel and Ecthelion. “My lords, if you would excuse us, I would like a few moments to speak with Ariella alone.”

They looked at each other in obvious surprise, then picked up their wine glasses and rose to their feet. “Yes, my Lady,” Glorfindel replied uncertainly. “We will be on the balcony outside the library, if you need us.” They each cast a last curious glance at Ariella before leaving the room. The women watched them pass through the library and then onto the balcony.

Idril reached for her glass of wine and calmly took a drink. She turned a little and caught Ariella’s fidgeting form with a powerful penetrating glare. Ariella trembled all the more, unable to help herself as her eyes locked with Idril’s.

“Go ahead and drop the barriers, Child,” Idril commanded. “I can see right through them anyway.”

Ariella did as she was bid and was met with the full force of Idril’s awesome presence. She felt naked and exposed, but she could not move to look away. Idril’s eyes bore into hers for what seemed like an eternity before finally releasing her. Idril was clearly shocked at what she had learned. Idril looked down at the wine glass in her hands for a few minutes. Ariella’s shoulders sagged as she stared at the floor, fidgeting again, afraid of what Idril was going to say or do next. Finally, Idril sighed heavily and fixed her gaze upon Ariella once again. Ariella timidly looked up at her.

“So you are from our future? Poor little lost maiden!” There was genuine pity in her voice, which surprised Ariella greatly. “Unfortunately for you, my heart warns me that you will not be going back home any time soon, and not in the manner in which you might expect.”

Ariella stared wide-eyed, mouth open, shaking her head. She blurted, “But I have to go home! I cannot stay here! I could change things so that my future does not happen if I say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing.” She closed her eyes, fighting back tears. She even knew when most of the people here were going to die! Her voice cracked as she opened her eyes and elaborated. “I was only supposed to be here for four hours!” She held up four fingers and gestured to emphasize the point. “My brother built this machine for traveling through time. I was sent here to test some things to see what would happen to objects brought from this time back into my time and to measure how much certain things have changed over the millennia.”

She was silent for a few moments more, composing herself to continue. Idril just stared at her in disbelief. “This is going to sound really strange, but my parents helped save Arda from invasion by another race of beings who wished to enslave the peoples of your world. Afterward, my parents and some of their people established a type of,” Ariella paused searching for the words in Sindarin that would convey her meaning the closest. “defensive perimeter. Maintaining the perimeter requires a certain amount of technical knowledge. My brother and I have been studying to assume responsibility for the perimeter when our parents can no longer manage it. In addition to acquiring the knowledge from our world that we will need, we have also been studying elvish languages, customs, and lore. We need to be able to understand and interact with the people we are trying to protect. We chose the elves as our contacts as they do not have this nasty habit of dying off and constantly requiring new generations to become familiar with us.

So…when I said that my family serves Celeborn and Galadriel. I really meant it. But we serve more than just them, we serve all of Arda. Those two were the only ones I could think of whom I knew personally who were relevant enough to be widely known at this time. Besides, my brother is married to their youngest daughter.”

Ariella gulped some wine then coughed a couple of times before continuing. She was so relieved to be able to speak of this to someone here. “To further complicate the matters of my being here and interacting with people, which I was forbidden to do by the way, my fate has become entwined with that of someone with whom my parents will become close friends, before I am even born. In fact, my mother had a romantic relationship with him before she met my father.”

Idril gawked at her, but then her curiosity got the better of her. “Of whom are we speaking?” she asked, conspiratorially.

Ariella downed the rest of her glass of wine in one large swig. “Glorfindel,” she said morosely.

Idril’s eyes grew wide and she covered her mouth in an unsuccessful attempt at suppressing the giggles.

“This is not a laughing matter! He cannot be told anything about this or it could change history: MY history and your people’s future,” Ariella insisted, becoming angry.

“Yes it is,” Idril replied, her face turning red. “It is terribly funny to me.”

“All right. Why?” Ariella asked folding her arms in front of her chest and hoping she looked every bit as irate as she felt.

“Because I think dear Glorfindel likes you!”

Ariella was speechless, groping for words to express the thoughts that were all jumbling up together in her head at this startling revelation, when the subject of conversation poked his head back in the room. The wine she had drunk was definitely not helping her right now. She bowed her head and put her hand over her flushed cheeks in a vain attempt at hiding, while Idril just sat fanning herself with her hand as the last few giggles escaped.

“Excuse me my Lady. I am sorry to interrupt,” he looked doubtfully from one of them to the other, “whatever is going on in here. But I thought you would like to know that a messenger has just arrived from your father stating that the King will meet with us at court tomorrow morning at 8 to pass judgment.”

Idril immediately sobered. “Thank you, Glorfindel. I think that in light of the very interesting conversation that Ariella and I just had, I will speak to father on her behalf and see if I can sway his heart to mercy for her.” She arose and set her glass down on the desk. “I am going to go now and contemplate what we have discussed so I can speak with him this evening.”

“Ariella, it has been most interesting making your acquaintance. I look forward to many more conversations with you. Good day to you all.” Idril nodded to Glorfindel, and Ecthelion who had just entered the room behind Glorfindel.

“Good day to you, my Lady,” Ecthelion said respectfully as he and Glorfindel both bowed to her.

“And thank you, my Lady,” Glorfindel added placing his hand over his heart in gratitude.

“Thank you, my Lady,” Ariella said graciously as she stood and curtsied. “Thank you very much.”

When the door closed behind Idril, Glorfindel and Ecthelion immediately rounded on her, bewilderment written all over their fair faces. Glorfindel furrowed his brows at her, placing his hands on his hips. “What did you say to her to earn her favor? And what were you two giggling about?”

Ariella quickly pointed out, becoming a little bit snippy, “All I did was explain my situation to her. SHE was the one giggling, not I. And I did NOT see the humor in the subject in which she apparently took such delight.”

“I have not seen her laugh like that in quite a while. Would you care to share the subject of her amusement with us?” Ecthelion asked undaunted, a curious smile playing about his lips.

“No,” Ariella declared bluntly, putting her hands on her hips. “Absolutely not!”
Glorfindel looked down pressing his lips together clearly suppressing a laugh. Regaining his composure, he addressed Ecthelion, “I think we should leave Ariella alone for a while and let her rest.”

“Linanna!”

The door opened and Linanna entered.

“Yes, my Lord?”

“Please escort Ariella back to her room and see to her needs. She could probably use some rest before dinner.”

“Yes, my Lord.”

“Ariella,” Glorfindel said kindly. “You will dine with me tonight.”

“Yes, my Lord. Thank you.” She curtsied to the lords. Relieved to finally be leaving, she gave Ecthelion an annoyed look before she turned and followed Linanna out of the room.

As the door closed, she heard laughter erupt from the room along with an admonition from Glorfindel.

Linanna left Ariella in her room promising to return later to take her down to dinner. Ariella lay on her bed trying to decide if her weariness was the result of the wine, the confrontation, the recent healing, or all three. She fell asleep with the dilemma still unresolved.

*~~~*

That evening, Ariella had dinner with Glorfindel in a private dining area. The meal passed in silence for the most part. Ariella ate without really tasting her food, her mood quite subdued. Reality enclosed her in an ever tightening noose as she realized this could be her last dinner and her last night ever. Tomorrow, Turgon may decide she needed to die. She always knew she would die one day, but she never imagined it would be like this. She felt trapped, so lost and alone as her last hopes of returning home faded.

Glorfindel kept glancing at her, clearly concerned as she toyed with a last uneaten portion on her plate. Finally, he pushed back from the table, arose, and came around to her. She looked up as he offered his hand and commanded softly, “Come with me.”

She arose, taking his hand. He led her out onto a balcony that looked toward the spectacular colors adorning the sky at the setting of the sun. Glorfindel released her hand and they stood quietly for a while, watching the changing splash of color play across the horizon and reflect off the portion of the white city walls visible from their perspective. She guessed they must be in the southern part of the city, judging from their vantage point in relation to the sunset and the city walls.

Ariella shuddered involuntarily as tears unexpectedly assaulted her eyes. Glorfindel slowly reached out and put his hand on her left arm. “Are you all right?” he asked gently.

Ariella blinked. “I just realized this might be the last sunset I ever see.”

“I am sorry,” he whispered.

“I do not want to die.” She shook her head and burst into tears.

He stepped closer and tentatively enveloped her in his arms, pulling her against his chest. She sniffled and leaned her forehead against his shoulder. He tightened his embrace as she turned her head and nuzzled her cheek against his chest, sobbing uncontrollably. He rested his cheek against the top of her head and sighed.

When she finally calmed enough to open her eyes again, it was dark outside. She blinked a few times and took a few shaky breaths. He raised his head as she stilled and looked up at him. He leaned back and held her away from him a little, looking at her face.

She looked down and apologized.” I…I am sorry. I should not have. I just…I am just…”

“It is all right to be afraid,” he said softly. “To tell you the truth, I am a little scared myself.”

“What do you have to be afraid of?” she asked with more bitterness in her voice than she had intended. “It is my fault you are in this situation. Turgon can just kill me and be done with it.”

Glorfindel put his finger under her chin and raised her head, forcing her to meet his stern yet tender gaze. “You are blameless in this. As for me, he may be merciful and just dishonor me. Or, he may make an example of me and take away my lordship, or he may even decide my behavior warrants death. I do not know how he will judge. But my actions were of my own choosing and I must take responsibility for them. I do not regret the decision to bring you here and neither does Ecthelion. I do regret that you face judgment, however.” He cupped her face in his hands. They felt comfortingly cool against her hot, tear-stained cheeks. “I deserve punishment, but you do not. I hope that one day you will find it in your heart to forgive me, but I do not hope for that any time soon.”

Fresh tears streamed down her cheeks at his words. He brushed the tears away with his thumbs. “Shhhh.” He leaned forward and pressed his forehead against hers. Her heart was racing. She could feel his warm shallow breaths on her face, but she seemed to have forgotten how to breathe.

“There is nothing to forgive,” she whispered.

Against her will, Ariella found herself thinking about how handsome and wonderful he was. He felt so good, she could stay here in his arms all night. She wondered what it would be like to kiss him. Before she could chastise herself for such thoughts, Glorfindel tilted his head and lightly brushed her lips with his. Her mind went blank.

He leaned back a little studying her incredulous expression. He must have found this encouraging for he smiled briefly as his mouth descended once more and captured hers. He slid his hands from her face and embraced her, pressing her paralyzed body against his solid muscular one. Her mouth opened slightly as his tongue caressed her lips seeking entry to join with hers. Whatever reservations she had were fleeting as she melted against him, putting her arms around his neck and running her fingers through his silky hair. He deepened the kiss, their tongues meeting in a moist dance of passion. When he finally broke the kiss, her knees were so weak she clung to him to remain upright. He was breathing hard, her gasps for air matching his. Bewildered, she looked up at him, questioning in her mind, “Why did you kiss me?”

He smiled as she heard his response in her head, “Because I might not have another chance.”

She backed away from him with her hands over her mouth shaking her head. She hurriedly put all of the mental barriers back in place. This could not be happening to her. She couldn’t have a relationship with him. He will know her parents. It would change history. Besides, he’s an elf. It would cost him his life - a life of slightly less than 23 years for he will die at the hands of a balrog when Gondolin falls. But then what life was left to her? She very well might die tomorrow on Turgon’s orders. Would it be so bad to be in Glorfindel’s arms for one night?

He frowned in confusion, his hands on her shoulders holding her at arm’s length away from him. She stood there rigid, staring at him and breathing hard. He searched her face perplexed, “What is wrong? I meant you no harm. I thought you wanted that kiss as much as I did. Why did you close your mind to me?”

“I did. I mean… I just…I am shy.” What was she saying? “Should I be kissing you?”

“You can if you like. I rather enjoyed it.” Then concern clouded his face. “Why do you keep your mind closed to me? Do you not trust me?”

“Yes, I trust you implicitly,” she quickly assured him. “I just do not trust myself.” She turned away from him, her mind numb. He slowly slid his hands down her arms and crossed his arms around her waist. She relaxed, leaning back against him and looked up at the sky. It felt so good to be in his arms. He tightened his embrace. Soon she felt him relax too. Suddenly, she realized she was finally viewing the stars of the First Age and gasped.

He startled and looked down at her. “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing. It’s just that the stars really are brighter,” she replied cryptically, her voice full of awe.

He chuckled. “I have never heard of that being a result of kissing.”

She laughed, shaking her head at his misunderstanding. “It was a very nice kiss.”

“Yes, it was.” He raised his right hand and clasped her left shoulder, his arm crossing her chest. Leaving his left arm around her waist, he squeezed her close to him. She nuzzled his neck. Her fear and misgivings drifted away as she succumbed to the bliss of this perfect moment in time. He kissed her hair and rested his chin on her head. Softly he hummed beautiful melodies to her as they stood thus, looking at the stars until it grew late. Ending one last tune, he turned her in his arms and gave her another exquisite kiss. When they finally broke apart, they were both breathless.

When his breathing returned to normal, he took both of her hands in his and pressed his forehead to hers. “I need to take you back to your room now. You will need your rest for tomorrow, and I need mine.”

She smiled and whispered, “All right.” Suddenly on a whim, she stole a kiss, then turned away giggling.

He laughed and embraced her from behind with a quick squeeze. He released her and then formally offered her his arm saying, “May I escort you to your room?”

“Yes, you had better,” she said, taking his arm. “I do not know how to find it again from here.”

He smiled and then smoothed his expression to something unreadable as they entered the dining room again. They made their way through the house and up the steps to her room.

“Linanna will wake you early in the morning so there will be time to break our fast, if either of us should feel like eating, before we go to meet with Turgon.”

“Thank you, Glorfindel…for everything.”

He smiled, but there was a sadness in his eyes. His goodnight at her door consisted of a kiss to the back of her right hand and the brush of the backs of his fingers against her cheek.

“Until tomorrow,” he said as he turned and left.

Her mind was numb as she prepared for bed, unable to decide how to interpret how she had just spent what could possibly have been the last night of her life. As she settled in to bed, she realized there was no way she would rather have spent her last night under the current circumstances. She had a long talk with God about her life thus far as she lay there, praying for strength, and finally begging for His mercy at least for Glorfindel if she couldn’t have it for herself on the morrow. When sleep finally claimed her, her slumber was deep and blessedly restful.


Notes:
elleth – a female elf
epesse – a nick name or name that an elf can choose to be called by other than the name given to the elf by his or her mother and father.
peredhel – half elf
Elianna - I made up the name and existence of Glorfindel’s sister.
Vanya – A member of the Vanyarin tribe of elves who were known for their golden hair.

Chapters

Jump to chapter

Chapter name
Chapter 3
Created
09 Sep 2004
Last Edited
09 Sep 2004
Hits
1319
Words
7064