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An Unexpected Adventure  by KathyG

Summary: In the spring of 2012, four American children find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar fantasy world and part of an unexpected adventure.  This story is AU, and blends Lord of the Rings book-verse and movie-verse.  This story also contains a lot of spiritual and religious content as a part of the AU elements.  (Co-written by KathyG and Dreamflower.)

Disclaimer: The world of Middle-earth and all its peoples belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien; the three films of The Lord of the Rings belongs to New Line Cinema and to Peter Jackson.  This story is not for profit, but is a gift for the enjoyment of those who read it.

Citations: In most chapters, there will be some quotations directly from both the books and/or the movies.  Quotations from Tolkien's books are in italics, and quotations from the movies are underlined.  Occasional quotations from other sources as well as silent dialogue, words spoken in emphasis, and passages from the Bible will also be in italics, and those citations will be footnoted at the end of each chapter in which they occur. We will also footnote research sources and credit the ideas of other people.

Chapter 20: Into the Woods

Tears kept running down Jennifer’s face.  Why? her heart screamed.  Why Gandalf?  Why did he have to die?  Her stomach churned, and her heart roiled nonstop.  She could see, from looking at her companions’ faces, that they all felt the same.  Thank goodness Kaylee’s not with us!  She loves Gandalf.  Jennifer shook her head violently.

  Please, God, help me! she silently begged.   Please help us all!

Without warning, a song rose into her heart, and without thinking, she began to sing it softly.  

“Precious Lord, take my hand;

Lead me on, let me stand.

I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.

Through the storm, through the night,

Lead me on to the light.

 

“Take my hand precious Lord,

Lead me Home…"

The others listened to her as she sang; their facial expressions eased.  When Jennifer had finished, Kevin began to sing a different hymn.  

“Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee!

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me,

Still, all my song shall be

Nearer, my God, to Thee;

Nearer, my God, to Thee, nearer to Thee…”

Legolas listened in amazement to the songs of the children.  Their voices were not Elven voices, and the music was quite different from any music he had heard before.  But the words!  Their songs spoke directly to Eru Ilúvatar, rising up with assurance to the Presence.  These children seemed so confident that they were being heard by Eru, and the songs were as a balm to his grieving féa.  He could sense a difference in the others of the Company as well—an easing, though the sorrow remained.

Jennifer started to sing another song:    

“When peace like a river attendeth my way,

When sorrows like sea billows roll,

Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say

It is well, it is well with my soul…”

Once that song was finished, Kevin softly began another song, and Jennifer joined in.  

“Bless the Lord, oh my soul.

Oh, my soul.

Worship His holy name.

Sing like never before, Oh my soul.

I'll worship Your holy name…"

When Kevin and Jennifer had finished their song, Joey began another one:  

“All night, all day.

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

All night, all day.

Angels watching over me.”

His older brother and sister joined in:  

“Sun is a-setting in the West;

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

Sleep my child, take your rest;

Angels watching over me.”

As the children began another chorus, Pippin's clear voice joined theirs as well, repeating the words from before.  

“All night, all day.

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

All night, all day.

Angels watching over me.

 

“Now I lay me down to sleep,

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

I pray the Lord my soul to keep,

Angels watching over me.”

As the chorus joined in once more, Legolas lifted his own voice.  How wonderful it was, he thought, to think that the Maiar were watching over them, even though Gandalf was lost to them now.  

“All night, all day.

Angels watching over me, my Lord.

All night, all day.

Angels watching over me.”

Moved by the music, Legolas began to sing another song:  

"Eru, Tân Ilnad,

i amarthant i Veleglin ah i Melain,

aglarath an Eru i echant ah ista in ind ‘wîn.

No ‘lassui athen i lind ‘wîn aglar;

isto i banthas-i-fêr ‘wîn, Eru; togo i laim ‘wîn an *oled lend

anin Beleglin Gardhon, Eru.

Eglerio Eru, i Adar Ereb Ilnad,

i Ben i or archadhwath n’uir." *

Jennifer could not understand his words, sung as they were in another language, but she understood the feelings of it, that it was a song to the Heavenly Father who ruled everything, no matter what world they were in, and it eased her heart even more.

After Legolas had finished his song, they all grew silent once more, still saddened by the loss of Gandalf, and yet strangely comforted by all the singing.

Once they had stopped singing, it was all Joey could do to put one foot in front of the other.  He slowly plodded next to Frodo and Sam, making a valiant effort to keep up with the rest.  His big brother was up ahead, helping Aragorn and Boromir.  Jennifer was stumbling along with Pippin holding her by the elbow, and Merry on her other side.  Legolas was directly in front of Joey.  At first, Joey had been walking along with Frodo and Sam, just staring at the ground, trying not to trip, and trying not to think about that horrible moment on the Bridge.  It was a while before he realized that Frodo and Sam were not alongside him anymore.  He turned and saw them lagging far behind.  They didn't look too good.  Sam was shivering, and Frodo seemed to be struggling to breathe.

"Legolas!" Joey called.  "Frodo and Sam need help!"

Legolas turned around and seeing how far back Frodo and Sam were, called Aragorn, and then trotted back to the two stragglers.  Aragorn gestured to Boromir and turned back as well.  The others halted, and then Merry and Pippin also started to go back, but Gimli stopped them.  "Do not crowd them, laddies!"

“I am sorry, Frodo!” Aragorn cried, full of concern.  “So much has happened this day and we have such need of haste, that I have forgotten that you were hurt; and Sam too.  You should have spoken.  We have done nothing to ease you, as we ought, though all the orcs of Moria were after us.  Come now!  A little further on there is a place where we can rest for a little.  There I will do what I can for you.  Come, Boromir!  We will carry them.”

Legolas patted Joey on the shoulder.  "You did a good thing, Joey, noticing that your comrades needed help.  I think that you perhaps need some help as well."  He gave Joey no chance to protest, but picked him up to carry him.

The remaining members of the Company continued at a slightly brisker pace now, and pretty soon they came to a little stream.  There was a little wooded clearing, surrounded by some fir trees. There was lots of shrubbery surrounding it, and there was a little flat area next to the stream.  Joey recalled that this was the sort of place that they had occasionally camped in, and where they had been allowed to have a fire on their journey.

"Let us rest here," said Aragorn.  "We can now tend to your wounds."

Gimli directed the children and the other two hobbits in kindling a fire.  There was plenty of brush and fallen fir branches close by.  Joey helped Pippin to draw water, while Jennifer helped Merry in gathering the wood.  Kevin assisted Gimli in starting the fire; he had begun to get pretty good at using flint and tinder, and Gimli praised his efforts.  Joey glanced over at Aragorn tending to Sam; the Ranger's face was grim at first, but then he looked relieved.

“Good luck, Sam!” Aragorn said.  “Many have received worse than this in payment for the slaying of their first orc.  The cut is not poisoned, as the wounds of orc-blades too often are.  It should heal well when I have tended it.  Bathe it when Gimli has heated water.”

He opened his pouch and drew out some withered leaves.  “They are dry and some of their virtue has gone,” he said, “but here I have still some of the leaves of athelas that I gathered near Weathertop.  Crush one in the water, and wash the wound clean, and I will bind it.  Now it is your turn, Frodo!”

Frodo protested a little, but he knew that Aragorn would have his way, so he allowed him to lift his shirt.

“We must have a look and see what the hammer and the anvil have done to you.  If you had not been wearing that mithril shirt, you would be dead now.”  Gently he stripped off Frodo's old jacket and worn tunic, and revealed the rest of the mithril shirt.  It was the first time the rest of them had a good look at the mail.

Aragorn shook his head in astonishment“Bilbo did well to give you that shirt, Frodo.  It saved your life today.”  With a wan smile, Frodo nodded.  It certainly had.  Aragorn added, “But you are badly bruised and in need of treatment, and so I need to take it off so I can have a look at your wounds.”

Frodo nodded again.  “All right, Aragorn.”

Merry smiled with relief, and said again how grateful he was that Bilbo had given the coat to Frodo.  Joey felt relieved as well.  He did not even want to imagine how horrible he would have felt if Frodo had been killed by that troll—and then Gandalf...  The image of the Balrog rose in his mind, and he shook it away, shuddering.

Kevin took Joey by the arm.  "Come on over here by the fire while Aragorn works on Frodo, Joey, and let’s give him a little privacy, you and me.”   The brothers went over to join the rest.  There was a lovely smell that pervaded the whole little clearing.  The smell was like when Joey's mother made homemade cinnamon bread, and then it also smelled like Christmas.  While Aragorn treated Frodo and Sam’s injuries, Joey began to relax, and soon fell asleep at his brother's side, with Kevin's arm around him.

After what only seemed a little while, Kevin shook Joey awake.  "Let's have a little something to eat," he said.

He handed Joey one of the little bags of the dried fruit, nuts, and grain that reminded Joey of trail mix back home.  Then he gave him a strip of dried meat—that was sort of like jerky, except it didn't have as much taste to it.  Jennifer came over to him with a cup of hot tea.  Joey had never had hot tea before they all had come to this world, but after all these weeks of drinking it here, he found it very comforting.  Looking at Frodo and Sam, he noticed that there was a bandage covering Sam’s forehead, and that Frodo had put his tunic and jacket back on.  The mithril shirt must be on underneath, Joey supposed.

After everyone had finished eating, Aragorn urged them to their feet.  "Come along!  We must get well and truly into Lothlórien before it gets much darker!"  Everyone scrambled to their feet and worked together to remove all signs that a fire had been built.  Within minutes, they had climbed out of the dell and were on their way again.  That time, Frodo and Sam were able to keep up with the others; Joey could see that they felt eased and greatly refreshed.

"I feel a lot better after smelling that stuff Aragorn put in the water," he said.  "It smelled like Christmas morning."  Joey gave a deep sigh as he recalled the aroma of fir and cinnamon and Christmas candles.

"I thought it smelled like Mom's garden in the spring, after a rain," Jennifer replied.

"To me it smelled like Grandma and Grandpa Gordon’s apple orchard when we visit in the fall."  Kevin took a deep breath.

"Maybe it just smells like all those things."  Joey thought it made him feel braver and stronger to smell it; it was still sad about Gandalf, but he thought he could keep on going better now.

Kevin and Jennifer exchanged a glance.  “Maybe,” Kevin said, and Jennifer nodded.

The eleven of them walked on, not quite so weary as they had been; soon the Sun sank behind the mountains to the West, and it grew dim and misty.  But even so, they kept going on for at least three more hours, with only one short halt, so that Aragorn could check on Frodo and Sam.

As Jennifer trudged alongside Kevin, questions about their approaching destination kept running through her mind.  At last, when two hours had passed since they had left the dell and it had grown dark, she decided to ask Aragorn, so she hurried forward to catch up with him.

Aragorn looked down at her as she reached his side.  “What is on your mind, Jennifer?”

Jennifer furrowed her eyebrows.  “What’s Loth—Loth…?”  Her voice trailed off.

“Lothlórien?” Aragorn asked.  Jennifer nodded.  “It’s a place where Elves live.”

“You mean—like Rivendell?”

Aragorn smiled.  “Yes and no.  Elves live in Lothlórien, yes, but it is very unlike Rivendell in many respects, some of which I cannot find words to adequately describe, Jennifer.  You will find out for yourself when we arrive there, if not before.  I will tell you this: you will meet the Lord Celeborn and the Lady Galadriel when we come to their home in Lothlórien.  We will reach the Golden Wood tonight, but it will require two more marches to come to Caras Galadhon, the city where Celeborn and Galadriel live.”

Nodding, Jennifer dropped back.  She had a lot to think about.

The Sun continued to sink behind them, and their shadows in front of them were long.  Soon, it was dark.  Deep night had fallen.  There were many other clear stars, but the fast-waning moon would not be seen till late.  Gimli and Frodo were at the rear, walking softly and not speaking, listening for any sound on the road behind.  At one point, Boromir lifted an exhausted Joey and carried him; the child soon fell asleep.  They travelled on and on towards the distant golden eaves of a great forest.  It was quite dark when they finally arrived at their destination and took another break under the dark eaves of the forest at night.

They still heard no signs of pursuit.  Kevin knew that the ears of their companions were much sharper than his own.  And the goblins were not exactly quiet creatures.  Perhaps they had given them the slip; he could only hope so.  He heard Gimli voice much the same opinion to Frodo.

“Not a sound but the wind,” he said.  “There are no goblins near, or my ears are made of wood.  It is to be hoped that the orcs will be content with driving us from Moria.  And maybe that was all their purpose, and they had nothing else to do with us—with the Ring.  Though orcs will often pursue foes for many leagues into the plain, if they have a fallen captain to avenge.”  Frodo glanced down at Sting's blade.

Jennifer turned toward Kevin, and they exchanged an uneasy glance.  Good thing Joey wasn’t awake to hear that! Kevin thought.  Hopefully, though, Gimli’s right, and there are no orcs after us now.

Kevin knew that Frodo’s sword would glow if danger from those creatures was nearby, and he saw no sign of it as Frodo lifted it slightly.  He took even more comfort in that.

Frodo and Gimli continued talking, but Kevin tuned them out as he moved closer to where Jennifer and Joey were walking with Merry and Pippin.

Suddenly the group stopped.  “Lothlórien!” cried Legolas.  “Lothlórien!  We have come to the eaves of the Golden Wood.  Alas that it is winter!”

“Lothlórien!” said Aragorn.  “Glad I am to hear again the wind in the trees!  We are still little more than five leagues from the Gates, but we can go no further.  Here let us hope that the virtue of the Elves will keep us tonight from the peril that comes behind.”

A little over five leagues, Kevin thought.  One league equals roughly three miles, so it’s a little over fifteen miles from here, give or take, to those gates Aragorn mentioned.  He grimaced.  He’s right—there’s no way we can get there tonight!

The group stopped for more conversation.  Gimli doubted that Elves still lived there, and Boromir seemed almost afraid to go in.  That’s odd, Kevin thought, furrowing his brow.  I wouldn't think a warrior like Boromir would be afraid.

“Then lead on!  But it is perilous,” was Boromir's last word.

“Perilous indeed,” said Aragorn, “fair and perilous; but only evil need fear it, or those who bring some evil with them.  Follow me!”

They had not gone far when they found another stream; they could hear it splashing over the rocks long before they could see it.  When they came upon it, it was running swiftly across the path.

Here is Nimrodel!” said Legolas.  “Of this stream the Silvan Elves made many songs long ago, and still we sing them in the North, remembering the rainbow on its falls, and the golden flowers that floated in its foam.  All is dark now and the Bridge of Nimrodel is broken down.  I will bathe my feet, for it is said that the water is healing to the weary.”  He went forward and climbed down the deep-cloven bank and stepped into the stream.

“Follow me!” he cried.  “The water is not deep.  Let us wade across!  On the further bank we can rest, and the sound of the falling water may bring us sleep and forgetfulness of grief.”

It wasn't very deep.  They all (except the hobbits) took off their shoes or boots, and waded across.  The water was very cold, but felt soothing and refreshing to Kevin's tired feet.  When all eleven of them were across, they sat down and rested a little.  They put on their footgear once more.  (Kevin wished he had some clean dry socks.  He hated putting dirty ones back on.)  They broke out some of the trail food again and ate a little, and Legolas talked a little about Lothlórien.  The music of the stream and the distant waterfall was mesmerizing.  Kevin almost thought he could hear singing.

“Do you hear the voice of Nimrodel?” asked Legolas.  “I will sing you a song of the maiden Nimrodel, who bore the same name as the stream beside which she lived long ago.  It is a fair song in our woodland tongue; but this is how it runs in the Westron Speech, as some in Rivendell now sing it.”  In a soft voice hardly to be heard amid the rustle of the leaves above them he began:  

"An Elven-maid there was of old,

A shining star by day:

Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,

Her shoes of silver-grey…"

It was a long and sad song, but the way Legolas sang it, Kevin could just see it in his mind's eye.  When Legolas had finished singing, Jennifer sighed.  "That was so romantic and sad," she said.  “I wish Amroth could have married Nimrodel.  It’s not fair that they got separated like that.”

"Tales worthy of song are often sad, and in the long lives of Elves, they rarely end happily, for they are true," Legolas answered.

Jennifer bit her lower lip.  “Well, if they’re still alive, maybe they’ll be reunited someday.  I hope they will be!”

The Elf shrugged.  "Whether they have returned from Mandos or no, we shall not know so long as we dwell on this side of the Sundering Sea."

After everyone had finished eating, Aragorn urged them to their feet.  "Come along!  We must get well and truly into Lothlórien before it gets much darker!"    Everyone scrambled to their feet and worked together to remove all signs that a fire had been built.  Within minutes, they had climbed out of the dell and were on their way again.

Legolas turned his talk to Lothlórien, telling of the way the Galadhrim dwelt in the trees.  Gimli suggested that they do likewise, to throw off any possible pursuers.

“Your words bring good counsel, Gimli,” said Aragorn.  “We cannot build a house, but tonight we will do as the Galadhrim and seek refuge in the tree-tops, if we can.  We have sat here beside the road already longer than was wise.”

The group went off the path and into the woods, heading always west.  Not far from the waterfall they had heard, they found some trees overhanging the stream.  By this time Kevin was carrying an exhausted Joey, and Pippin was carefully guiding a stumbling Jennifer by her elbow.  Kevin watched them—Pippin was always so solicitous of his sister.  He wondered…no, that was just silly…

They stopped, and Legolas offered to climb up into the trees and discover if they would make proper shelter.

"Whatever it may be,” said Pippin, “they will be marvellous trees indeed if they can offer any rest at night, except to birds.  I cannot sleep on a perch!”

“Then dig a hole in the ground,” said Legolas, “if that is more after the fashion of your kind.  But you must dig swift and deep, if you wish to hide from orcs.”  He sprang lightly up from the ground and caught a branch that grew from the trunk high above his head.  But even as he swung there for a moment, a voice spoke suddenly from the tree-shadows above him.

“Daro!” it said in commanding tone, and Legolas dropped back to earth in surprise and fear.  He shrank against the bole of the tree.

“Stand still!” he whispered to the others.  “Do not move or speak!”

There was a sound of soft laughter over their heads, and then another clear voice spoke in an elven-tongue.

It was Elves!

The group spent the night in the trees with them.  There was a disturbance in the middle of the night, and several of the Elves went after the cause, but Kevin was too sleepy to be curious.

-oo000oo-

The next couple of days were weird.  First, they had to cross over a raging river by walking across a rope!  And then they all had to travel blindfolded because Gimli was going to have to.  Kevin didn't like that one bit—these Elves were way too paranoid and prejudiced against dwarves to suit him, but that's what Aragorn said they had to do, so Kevin couldn't protest much about it.  It really was unfair that Gimli wasn’t allowed to see what was around him when the rest of them would have been allowed to.  Joey, on the other hand, kept complaining about not being able to see until Pippin and Merry suggested they turn it into a game, trying to guess what they might see if they could take off the blindfolds.  They spent the rest of the day guessing the sounds and scents around them.

Thankfully, on the second day, orders finally came down: they would all be allowed to take the blindfolds off, and the Elf in charge, who was named Haldir, took Gimli's blindfold off first.

“Behold!  You are come to Cerin Amroth,” said Haldir.  “For this is the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago, and here is the mound of Amroth, where in happier days his high house was built.  Here ever bloom the winter flowers in the unfading grass: the yellow elanor, and the pale niphredil.  Here we will stay awhile, and come to the city of the Galadhrim at dusk.”

Kevin pulled down his own blindfold, and gasped, “Whoa!”  They stood on the greenest grass he had ever seen, sprinkled with white and golden flowers, and looked up at a double mound, crowned with a circle of amazing trees.  It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen.  He felt his sister and brother come to his side, and he put an arm around Jennifer's waist and a hand on Joey's shoulder, pulling them close.  This beauty was meant to be shared with loved ones.

Joey smiled broadly.  “Cool!” he said.

Jennifer nodded agreement, open-mouthed, shaking her head in wonder; she pulled her phone out and snapped a picture. But when she checked it, it didn't seem half so beautiful as it did in real life.  “I wish Kaylee could see this,” she said wistfully.  She looked over at Aragorn, and nudged Kevin, who looked as well.  The Ranger had a faraway look in his eyes as he held one of the golden flowers, and said something in Elvish.  Kevin and Jennifer exchanged a puzzled look.  What on earth was Aragorn thinking about?

Soon, Haldir led them on again.  It was still a fair walk to the treetop city of the Galadhrim.  It looked amazing in the dusk, with lights that twinkled like stars.  Haldir led them on and on, the trees above them a dizzying height.  Jennifer lost count of the many paths and stairs before they finally came to a wide clearing with a fountain flowing from the center; silver lights hanging in the trees made it almost glow as the water poured into a wide silver basin.  The water overflowed into a white stream that meandered down the hill.  To the south of the clearing was the biggest and tallest tree she had yet seen, the largest and grandest of the mellyrn, as Haldir had told them was the name of the great trees.  The trees put the great sequoias of California to shame.  She recalled how awed she had been to see those when the family had last gone to California on vacation when she had been thirteen.

“They get to live in treehouses!” Joey said, smiling broadly, craning his head as he looked upward.  “How neat!  Just like the Swiss Family Robinson!”  He loved to play with his friends in his family’s backyard treehouse back home.

Haldir led them to the foot of a long stairway that encircled that mighty mallorn.  Up and up they climbed, and Kevin began to have butterflies in his stomach at the thought of meeting the King and Queen of Lothlórien.  They climbed past many platforms that Haldir called "flets".  Some of the flets were set to one side or another, and a few were built all around the trunk of the tree.

At a great height above the ground, the members of the Company found themselves on a huge platform with a large house built on it.  Kevin and his companions discovered that they were in a chamber of oval shape.  The chamber was filled with a soft light.  The light was soft within the green and yellow walls, and the roof was as golden as the leaves of the mighty mallorn which grew through the center of the chamber.  On two thrones which sat on a dias by the trunk of the great tree were two Elves.  They seemed to glow with an unearthly light, and their eyes were deep pools of wisdom.  Kevin remembered that he had been told that they were Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel.  The two of them stood and came forward.

Celeborn's hair was long and silvery, while Galadriel's hair was of a golden hue.  She was so beautiful—Kevin had never seen a woman so beautiful, save perhaps the Lady Arwen.  Kevin exchanged an awe-stricken look with Jennifer and then looked at Joey.  The child’s mouth hung wide open.

Looking at Aragorn, Lord Celeborn spoke in a deep and sonorous voice, "The Enemy knows you have entered here.   What hope you had in secrecy is now gone.   Eleven there are here, yet twelve there were set out from Rivendell.   Tell me, where is Gandalf?   For I much desire to speak with him.  I can no longer see him from afar."

Before Aragorn could answer, Lady Galadriel spoke softly.  "Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land.  He has fallen into Shadow."  She looked out over the Company, who stood there uneasily.

Finally, it was Legolas who spoke.  "He was taken by both Shadow and flame.   A Balrog of Morgoth.  For we went needlessly into the net of Moria."

In a sad voice, Aragorn told them everything that had happened since their disastrous attempt to reach the pass of Caradhras—the wolves, the monster at the entrance to Moria, and worst of all, the Balrog and Gandalf's fall.  At the sudden memory of the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm, Kevin suddenly felt grief well up, as he recalled Gandalf's fall into the deep chasm.  He bent his head to blink away the tears in his eyes.  But he looked up in surprise when he heard the Lady say, "Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life.  We do not yet know his full purpose."

She looked out at the group of travellers before her with great sympathy, looking at each in turn, her eyes softening as she looked at Joey, and then her eyes stopped on Gimli.  "Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-dûm fill your heart Gimli, son of Glóin.  For the world has grown full of peril, and in all lands, love is now mingled with grief."  She added, “Dark is the water of Kheled-zâram, and cold are the springs of Kibil-nâla, and fair were the many-pillared halls of Khadazd-dûm in Eldar Days before the fall of mighty kings beneath the stone.”  She looked again upon Gimli, who sat glowering and looking sad, and she smiled.  And the Dwarf looked up at her and met her eyes.

He’s looking as if he sees a friend! Kevin thought, as he stared at the Dwarf.  Kevin saw hope and wonder dawning on Gimli’s face for the first time since they had left the tunnels, and then Gimli smiled in answer.

He bowed in dwarf-fashion, saying, “Yet more fair is the living land of Lórien, and the Lady Galadriel is above all the jewels that lie beneath the earth!”  She smiled at him again.

Kevin and Jennifer exchanged delighted grins.  It was clear to them both that the ancient prejudice between dwarf and elf was beginning to break down—at least, between Gimli and Galadriel.  Maybe things’ll change between Gimli and Legolas next, Jennifer thought hopefully.  I hope they will!

Then Galadriel’s gaze once more scanned each of them.  She held them with her eyes, and in silence looking searchingly at each in turn.  None save Legolas and Aragorn could long endure her glance.  Sam quickly blushed and hung his head.  Joey squirmed, biting his lower lip and shaking his head violently.

When Galadriel’s eyes met Kevin's, he had a sudden thought.  What if they had never gone into the cave?  What if they could go back in time, and wipe all memory of Middle-earth from their memories?  They would all be safe with their family and free from danger…he shook his head.  No, not now.  He and Joey and Jennifer couldn't leave all their new friends in the lurch, especially Frodo, and most especially since he and Jennifer, in particular, knew now that it was the Lord's will.

Lead us not into temptation, he silently prayed, but deliver us from evil.  Suddenly the temptation was gone, and a pressure he was not aware of before had left his mind.  He looked at the Lady, who gave him a nod of approval and a smile of pride, and he realised that he had just passed some kind of test.  Finally, the Lady Galadriel released them from her eyes, and she smiled.

Celeborn spoke again.  "What now becomes of this Fellowship?  Without Gandalf, hope is lost."

“Your quest is known to us,” said Galadriel, looking at Frodo.  “But we will not here speak of it more openly. I will not give you counsel, saying do this or do that, for not in doing or contriving, nor in choosing between this course and another can I avail, but only in knowing what was and is, and in part also what shall be, but this I will say to you: your quest stands upon the edge of a knife.  Stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all.  Yet hope remains while the Company is true," Galadriel said.  Her eyes turned to Joey, who was staring up at her in amazement, and then to Sam.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled,” she added.   “Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil.  Tonight you shall sleep in peace."  Kevin felt exhausted and ready to rest, and he could tell that his friends felt the same.  Joey was leaning against him, barely able to stay awake.

Celeborn nodded agreement.  “Go now!  Even if your Quest did not concern us closely, you should have refuge in this City, until you were healed and refreshed.  Now you shall rest, and we will not speak of your further road for a while.”

Thus dismissed, they were all led by Haldir back to the foot of the mallorn.  There, two Elves, one a maiden, were waiting for them.

-oo000oo-

 A/N: We would like to thank Hana M. of the Stories of Arda forum for helping us to come up with the translation of Legolas' hymn to Ilúvatar in this chapter.  She acted as go-between for us with the wonderful folks at Realelvish.net (https://realelvish.net/).  Our thanks also go to dreamingfifi, who came up with the actual translation.  Below is the original song, along with dreamingfifi's translation, as well as the literal meaning of the Sindarin.

Original: Eru Ilúvatar, Maker of All, who declared among the Ainur the Great Music, all praise to Ilúvatar who made and knows our hearts.  May our songs of praise be delightful to Him; may He know the fullness of our spirits; may He guide our tongues to be always in harmony with the Great Music of Arda.  Praise Ilúvatar, the One Ilúvatar, the One who is above all thrones forever!

Translation: Eru, Tân Ilnad, i amarthant i Veleglin ah i Melain, aglarath an Eru i echant ah ista in ind ‘wîn.  No ‘lassui athen i lind ‘wîn aglar; isto i banthas-i-fêr ‘wîn, Eru; togo i laim ‘wîn an *oled lend anin Beleglin Gardhon, Eru. Eglerio Eru, i Adar Ereb Ilnad, i Ben i or archadhwath n’uir.

Literal: Eru. Maker of Everything, who decreed the Great-song with the Valar, all glory to Eru who fashioned and knows our hearts.  May our songs of glory be joyous to him; may Eru know the fullness of our souls; may Eru lead our tongues to becoming sweet-sounding to the Great-song of Arda.  Praise Eru, the Lone Father of Everything, the One who is over all thrones forever.

This was translated by dreamingfifi from Realelvish.net (https://realelvish.net/) into the wood elves' Sindarin.





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