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Crossroads of Time

Chapter 5: Chapter 5

by ellie

Betas: Fianna, Julie, Rianna, and my husband who doesn’t have a screen name yet
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

Chapter 5

In the chaos of packing, turning over duties, and mustering his troops, there was no time for Glorfindel to meet with Ariella, let alone to say goodbye. She stood with the servants and watched him depart in his glittering golden armor and gold embroidered mantle. She felt so very alone. It would be a long three months for everyone.

In the weeks and months that followed, Ariella gradually began to accept that she would not be going home. She missed her parents and brothers and sisters terribly. She wondered what her brother Arzus finally told them about her fate. Did he even know what had happened to her? None of the history books she had seen had said anything about some mysterious elleth from Doriath showing up in Gondolin, let alone a time-traveling alien from another planet paying a visit to the hidden city.

She often cried herself to sleep at night wondering if her family missed her too or what her life could have been if she hadn’t been so stupid and gone back in time. None of her previous hopes and dreams mattered here, but what new hopes could she replace them with? What kind of future can a person have when everything from her past is taboo? She certainly couldn’t marry here: that would change history and condemn an immortal elf to death – if the elf chose to follow her fate when she died. Therefore, she also could never have any children. So her punishment for being foolish and curious was to be alone for the rest of her life, or at least for the rest of her days here. But, would this fate really be so different from the one she faced in her own time?

She had no one special waiting there for her. No one really seemed to understand her weird obsession with a primitive race most people had never even heard of on an obscure planet no one but her family ever went to. Looking on the bright side, if she was doomed to be alone, then at least she had the opportunity to do it someplace interesting.

Elianna took Ariella under her wing and endeavored to teach her the customs of the city and of Glorfindel’s house. Elianna and Idril often took Ariella out to the Greater Market in the eastern part of the city and to the Lesser Market in the southern part of the city, north of Glorfindel’s house. They provided her with four more dresses, hair accessories, and with some new shoes as well. As the three months wore on, Ariella had grown quite close to Elianna and Idril, much to the chagrin of Glorfindel’s brothers.

According to Elianna, the brothers had Ariella watched whenever she went out and were most displeased at the friendship she had formed with their sister and their cousin. They desperately wanted Ariella to go away and for everything to be as it was before.

Fortunately for Ariella, she did nothing for the brothers to complain about, and she avoided them whenever possible. She dined only in her room or with Elianna or Idril, and she never stayed out late. When she was not out with her new friends, Ariella would spend her time absorbing as much lore as she could from the books in Glorfindel’s extensive library and in the city library. She was hesitant to make friends with anyone else for fear of messing up history with unguarded words to the wrong people. It was a strange reclusive life for her, far from her life as a teacher and healer on her world, and a scholar and student of culture in Imladris.

She looked forward to Glorfindel’s return with mingled fear and anticipation. The night before their judgment day had been wonderful, but she had no idea if he would still feel anything for her after his three months away. She also didn’t know if she even wanted him to as nothing could ever come of their relationship due to the whole time, history, and mortality situation.

Though she tried her best to put such thoughts out of her mind, Ariella often wondered how much damage she had already done to the history of this world she had adopted. On the day Glorfindel was scheduled to return, she got the answer she most feared. Near lunch time word reached the city of a cave-in in one of the mines some miles outside of the city. Some jewel smiths and miners had been trapped, including the King’s nephew Maeglin. Ariella, accompanied by Idril, watched the excitement in the city with great interest. Soldiers and healers had been dispatched to aid in the rescue. She had never read or heard about this event in any of the books or songs in Imladris.

At dinner time, they were both summoned to return to Glorfindel’s house with great haste. When they arrived, they were met by Ecthelion who rushed them to Glorfindel’s private suite of rooms. Ecthelion’s burnished silver armor was grimy and his dirty haggard face betrayed his weariness. Outside the door, he stopped them.

“What is going on?” Idril demanded.

Ecthelion did not meet their eyes as he replied. “Word of the cave-in and the call for aid spread quickly this morning. Glorfindel and his soldiers were the closest, and arrived before anyone else. He and some of his men made their way into the mine in search of those who were trapped. They found them and dug them out. On the way out, Glorfindel was carrying Maeglin, who had been injured in the cave-in, when the ceiling above them collapsed, burying Glorfindel and Maeglin. I arrived at this time with my soldiers. It took a long time to dig them out.” He paused and took a deep breath to compose himself before continuing.

“Glorfindel had protected Maeglin with his own body or Maeglin would be dead now. And…if Glorfindel had not been wearing armor, he would have been dead too.” Ecthelion’s voice broke and he looked away blinking several times. “Unfortunately, the injuries Glorfindel has sustained are quite severe. He…the …the healers say he has broken many bones and has many internal injuries. They… they said he might have had a hope if not for the… By the Valar, I did not know or I would have been more careful when I moved him. They said… they said I should have put him on a board instead of lifting him in my arms. I just did not think. It never occurred to me that…” He ripped off his glove and smeared the dirt further across his face trying to wipe away the tears that he could no longer hold back.

Idril put a consoling hand on his arm. “It is all right, Ecthelion,” she said gently.

He took a few steadying breaths then went on. “They had to cut Glorfindel’s armor off of him; it was so mangled and crushed. The healers discovered a spinal injury once his armor was removed. His back is broken. There is nothing that can be done for him. We thought you would want to be with him in his final hours, if he indeed has hours left.”

“No, it cannot be,” Idril whispered clapping her hand to her mouth in disbelief.

Ariella was horrified. This couldn’t be happening. There was nothing about this in the history books. Maeglin was never in a cave-in that she knew of, and Glorfindel was to be killed by a balrog when the city fell.

Then something far worse occurred to her. This was all her fault! Glorfindel was at the First Gate because of her. He was leaving the First Gate on this day because of the punishment he served because of her. In spite of being so very careful and having so little social interaction, the damage had already been done. She hated herself for her selfishness. If only she had never taken part in the experiment. If only he had left her to die by the river and had never brought her to Gondolin. If only Turgon had executed her. This situation would not exist now.

When Ecthelion opened the door, Ariella’s heart sank even further at what she saw. Glorfindel’s red-faced brothers and their weeping wives and sons stood huddled together. Turgon turned and held out his arms to Idril who fled into her father’s tearful embrace. Elianna was seated in a chair, crying, her hand resting over Glorfindel’s limp and swollen left hand. Her husband stood beside her with his arm around her. Other lords and ladies Ariella did not recognize were huddled in couples weeping or trying to stay the flow of tears. A group of forlorn-looking healers with dark hair stood in a group across the bed from Elianna.

Ariella walked into the room, choking back tears of her own when she saw Glorfindel. He was covered to the waist by a sheet. His exposed torso was discolored and swollen. His chest looked strange from many obviously broken ribs. His face was black and blue and his nose appeared to be broken. Each labored breath came in a short rasping gasp that rattled painfully in his chest. She thought it odd that he was lying on his back considering his spinal injury, but after listening to his difficulty in breathing, she guessed his death would come more quickly if he lay on his stomach.

It was not supposed to happen this way. It just was not. Ariella clenched her fists as her anger with herself turned to rage at others as well. She glared over at the healers. Why weren’t they even trying? Didn’t they understand that he had to survive or so many others would not when the city fell?

“How can you just stand there and let him die? Why are you not trying to help him?” she demanded loudly, surprising even herself. Everyone glared back at her in surprise or anger, but she didn’t care.

The healers looked at her guiltily. “We have done all we can for him,” a healer dressed in blue conceded.

That was no excuse. It was totally unacceptable. “You mean among the four of you, there is nothing more you can do? What kind of healers are you?” she lashed out angrily.

It was the healers’ turn to get angry. “We are the best in Gondolin!” the one in blue shot back. “If we cannot help him, then no one can.”

The realization of what she must do suddenly dawned. If they couldn’t fix this result of her stupid mistakes, then perhaps she could. Perhaps she could heal him. Her abilities weren’t the same as theirs. History would definitely change if she did not try. Besides, she owed Glorfindel her life anyway. What better way to repay the favor?

Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she hesitantly offered, “Let me try healing him.”

Glorfindel’s youngest brother bitterly accused, “It is your fault that our brother is dying! It is because of you that he was anywhere near that place when the mine collapsed.”

“Do not belittle your brother’s sacrifice,” Turgon admonished, becoming angry in his turn. “It was my punishment he was serving that put him out there. But he would have gone to the aid of those in need and done all he could to save them and my nephew anyway. It is your brother’s good nature that landed him in this situation, regardless of the guilt we may feel about it.”

“What makes you think you can do what we could not?” The healer in blue gestured haughtily toward Ariella. “What makes you think you are better than we are, we who were trained in Aman in Tirion and in the Gardens of Lórien? You are moridquendi and have never even seen the light of the Two Trees. How can you presume to do something we could not?”

Ariella was shocked. She had heard of the pride and arrogance of the Noldor, but had never really experienced it first hand before. It was entirely too much for her to take at this point. She was so angry with herself and the situation, she was ready to march over and strangle the light of the Two Trees right out of his snobby face. How could this elf be worrying about calaquendi versus moriquendi when a life was at stake? Her ire was really up now!

“Well,” she said saucily, “why not let me try? The worst I could possibly do is to kill him. And since you have already given him up for dead, there is nothing to be lost, is there?”

With that, she rolled up her sleeves, schooling her face to hide the fear that suddenly assailed her. What if she couldn’t heal him after all? She had only assisted with a spinal healing once before. What if she couldn’t do it on her own? She took a deep, shaky breath and walked over to Glorfindel’s bed. Elianna got up and moved to give her room. Ariella knelt down beside him, gently stroking his left temple with her right hand and placing her left hand on his chest to establish healing contact with his body. Ariella stiffened and inhaled sharply as the connection was made.

His lungs were badly damaged. His heart was bruised. He was bleeding internally. All of his ribs were broken. There was damage to his liver, too. His nose was broken. His arms and hands were broken in several places as were his legs. There was severe ligament, tendon, and nerve damage to his arms and legs. The spinal fracture was a clean break that severed the cord. She had never seen so many injuries in one person before. She knew elves could endure more than any mortal could, but this was really stretching it. Doubt assailed her again. Could she heal this? Where was she even to begin?

Pondering the last question a moment, she decided to look for what would kill him first and start there. She placed her hands over his right lung and then his left, healing and repairing the damage. His breathing settled to something comfortably closer to normal. She then proceeded to heal the bleeding and then his heart and liver. Finally she leaned back, pale and trembling. An hour and a half had elapsed. Feeling dizzy and weak, she closed her eyes and took several deep breaths.

She shifted her position, trying to get some feeling back in her numb legs. “I…I need some help,” she begged softly.

The healer in blue came and knelt by her side immediately, flanked by another. There was great respect in his eyes as he put his hand on her cheek and gently admonished, “You are in no condition to be getting up.”

“But I have to,” she declared weakly, “I am not finished yet. I… I still have to heal his spine.”

He gripped her shoulders as if desperately wanting her to see reason. “What you are proposing is impossible, Ariella. You have healed him enough to ease his passing. You cannot save him. No one can.”

“But I can!” she insisted. “I just need more strength. Please help me.”

“How can I help?” he asked disbelievingly.

“Lend me your strength. Put one hand here,” she instructed placing one of his hands on her forehead, “and the other hand here.” She placed his other hand over her upper chest.

“I do not understand. How is this going to help?” Then he inhaled sharply and stiffened.

She took several deep breaths while he stared at her, wide-eyed and pale, unable to move. She felt absolutely incredible, ready to scale a mountain if need be. Wow! So this was how it felt to be an elf. Breaking the contact, she caught the healer’s swaying shoulders, balancing him as he shifted to a more stable sitting position. His arms dropped limply to his sides. He appeared ready to pass out from exhaustion.

“Are you all right?” she asked with concern. She hadn’t meant to take so much of his energy, but she knew she needed it, and still it might not be enough.

He was breathing hard, but nodded. She put her hand on his cold cheek, checking to see if he really was all right, then smiled warmly at his weariness. “Thank you. Now I can finish what I have begun.”

She rose and sat on the bed beside Glorfindel trying to decide how best to proceed. She needed to turn him over to get to his spine, but realized his broken ribs might undo the work she had done on his lungs. So, the ribs had to be healed first. She placed her hands on his chest and set to work. When she finished, she sat back removing her hands from Glorfindel’s chest. She felt about as strong as she had when she had begun the first part of his healing. She looked around and motioned to two of the healers who were staring at her, transfixed in wonder.

“I need your help to turn him over so I can heal his spine.”

They nodded as she rose and stepped back, watching as they carefully turned him onto his stomach. When they started to move away, she stopped them.

“No. Please stay. I need your help aligning his spine and holding him still.”

They assisted her as she instructed them, and watched as she placed her hands over the break and healed it. Two and a half hours had elapsed from the beginning of the second part of the healing until she finished. When she finally looked up again, she felt even more drained than she had before. Trembling, she leaned forward and kissed Glorfindel’s forehead. Sleep well, my friend, she whispered to him in her thoughts.

She leaned back, shaking. “I have done all I can for him. Do not move him again for about twenty-four hours or so to allow time for the healing to set. After that, you can turn him over and take care of his other injuries.”

She arose unsteadily, leaning heavily on the bed, took two steps, and collapsed. She was vaguely aware of arms catching her and the concern on the handsome face of the healer she had drawn strength from as he gently lowered her to the floor. Then darkness claimed her.


Maeglin – The son of Aredhel, daughter of Fingolfin and of Eol the dark elf of the forest of Nan Elmoth. Eol was a great smith of the moriquendi who wedded Aredhel after she became lost in his forest. He forbade her to leave the forest and forced her to shun the sunlight. Nineteen years after Maeglin was born, she finally escaped with Maeglin and returned to Gondolin. Eol followed her and when she refused to return with him, he killed her by mistake while attempting to murder Maeglin for refusing to rejoin him too. Turgon had Eol put to death for the crime and afterward loved Maeglin as if he were his own son.

moriquendi – the elves of darkness. The name given by the elves of Aman to the elves who never left Middle Earth and never saw the light of the Two Trees. King Thingol of Doriath was the only elf who stayed behind in Middle Earth who was considered not to be moriquendi as he had seen the light of the Two Trees.

calaquendi – the elves of light. The name given by the elves of Aman to themselves because they had seen the light of the Two Trees. The calaquendi were as superior to the moriquendi in learning as the moriquendi were in turn superior to the first humans that appeared in Middle Earth. There was some strife borne of jealousy and arrogance between the calaquendi and the moriquendi.


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Chapter 5
12 Oct 2004
Last Edited
12 Oct 2004