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An Unexpected Adventure  by KathyG

Summary: In the spring of 2012, four American children find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar 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.

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 Ringsbelongs 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.

Thanks: We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable help of our beta, Linda Hoyland, another well-known and prolific LotR fanwriter, whose many wonderful stories also grace this site. 

Chapter 54: True Love’s Kiss

Gail sat up and, through tears, watched as Steve swung first Kaylee and then Megan through the air, and eventually ended up with on child on each hip.  He grinned down at Gail, and his exhaustion was plain, as well as his elation to see them again.

Gail rose to her feet, and stared into her husband's eyes, as he slowly lowered Kaylee and Megan down to the ground.  She stepped forward and found herself in the circle of his embrace, and their lips met in a deep and passionate kiss.  Finally, aware of the small tug on her sleeve, she drew back, and looked down at Megan.

"Mommy!  'nough kissy-face?  I'm hungry."

Kaylee jabbed Megan in the shoulder with one finger.  "Megan!  Mommies and daddies get to kiss like princesses do!"

"Ow!  Mommy, Kaylee poked me!"  Megan pouted.

Steve began to laugh heartily.  "Well, I guess I really am back now.  I could use some breakfast myself, and a wash, and probably a nap, since I've been up all night long, travelling to get back here."  Looking amused, Gail nodded agreement.

The little family made their way back to the pavilion, Steve carrying Megan, and Gail holding Kaylee's hand.

Standing out of sight of any of the four, but not out of earshot, Galadriel had been glad to greet her own husband, and they watched as their guests walked off with a smile, both of them amused at the comments that the little girls had made as their parents had kissed.

"And how does little Kaylee know so much about princesses?" Celeborn asked, shaking his head as he smiled.

Galadriel laughed.  "Everything she knows about princesses comes out of the children's tales that she has heard in her homeland.  They are called 'fairy tales'."  Celeborn chuckled.

Sobering, Galadriel looked at Celeborn and changed the subject.  "I take it that Steven comported himself well?"

He nodded.  "He did.  From his own words, it has been long since he had served as a warrior for his own people, but he took orders well, and slew a good number of the enemy."

"That is good.  But you know, this is not the end of it, eremelda," his wife answered.  "We shall experience at least one more assault on our borders, and it is likely to be far worse.  And as to whether it shall be the last or not, my foresight fails me, and I can no longer see Frodo and Sam from afar."

"It will be as it will be.  Yet, I do think that if their mission had failed, that we would already know."

"Come, then, let us go and celebrate our reunion, ere we plan to meet the enemy once more."

Celeborn took one of her hands and raised it to his lips.  "You are rightly accounted one of the Wise," he said.

Her laugh was as light as that of a young child, as they, too, went their way.


Gail sat next to their bed and watched Steve sleep.  The little girls were outside on the grassy sward near the pavilion, playing on the swing.  They were being watched by Mairen and any number of other Elves who seemed to congregate around them like moths to a flame, whenever they were out playing.  She would say that Kaylee and Megan might get spoiled by all the attention, if it weren't for the fact that both of them (but especially Kaylee) were far better behaved now than they had been at home.

Steve had been sleeping for nearly two hours now, and Gail hoped he would wake up soon.  She wanted to tell him about the Lady Galadriel's Mirror and what she had seen there.  She wondered what he would make of her having seen some of the danger that their children had been in during their journey.

She was trying to think of how to broach the subject when Steve finally stirred.

He looked over at her.  "Hey, beautiful.  What time is it?"

"It's nearly time for supper, or dinner, or whatever.  A feast, in fact, like we had before you left.  That one was a farewell feast.  Apparently this one is a welcoming feast."

"I'm not all that hungry, Gail.  And I really would rather have a quiet evening."

She nodded.  "We have a lot to talk about.  What if I tell Mairen to take the girls to the feast?  We can stay here; there's always food on that table in the common area."

"That sounds fine to me," Steve replied.

Gail nodded, and got up and went out to ask Mairen if she could take the children to the feast and watch over them for the evening.  It was the work of a moment, and she was soon back to see Steve up and washing his face in the small washstand in their little curtained "room".

With a smile, Gail wrapped her arms around her husband’s shoulders.  “You don’t know how relieved I am that you’re back!” she said.  “I suspect it’s just as well that we weren’t married when you went off to fight in Operation Desert Storm.  I would have been so worried the whole time.”

“Indeed.”  Steve smiled wryly.  “So often, while I was deployed, I thought about how thankful I was that I didn’t have a wife and kids worrying about me, wondering if I’d ever return.”  He turned and kissed her.  “And I’m very glad that I did return, because that gave me a chance to go to college and to meet my best girl!”  He grinned, and Gail laughed, hugging him.

“So,” she said, as Steve sank down onto their cot, “how did it go?”  She sat down next to him and laid a hand on his shoulder as he sat for a moment, frowning.  She really wanted to tell him immediately about what she had seen in the Mirror so they could discuss their options, but she needed a chance to gather her thoughts first.  Anyway, she also wanted to know how the battle had gone, and how he had escaped injury or worse.  Bringing him up to date could wait until she had learned the details of that first.

"I'm not really sure how much to tell you, sweetheart. It was unpleasant, to say the least.”  Steve shook his head, a sombre look on his face.  “But I was in less danger than you may have feared.  Mostly I was up in a flet, shooting arrows across a wide river in the dark.  I didn't get a very good look at the enemy most of the time.  To be honest, I don't even know if I killed any of them—I was just aiming where the Elves with me aimed.  Glorfindel told me I did get some of them, so that means I wasn't totally useless.  And at least I didn't get injured, thankfully."

He stopped and looked sideways at her, and she knew he probably wouldn't say much more.  "So, how did you and the munchkins get along while I was gone?"

"Just fine.”  Gail smiled.  “The girls were busy being spoiled by Elves."  Steve laughed.  She stopped, and then said in a more serious tone, “I had a little talk with Lady Galadriel.  Remember I told you what she had said, that she could help me know what was going on with Kevin, Jennifer, and Joey?"

He nodded, but didn't say anything.  He knew she'd tell him in a moment.

"Well, first she told me that Jennifer has been having prophetic dreams since she arrived here."

Steve jerked forward.  "Prophetic?"

"Yes."  Gail bit her lower lip.  “Apparently she and Kevin both dreamed about going on this journey they were a part of.  And then while she was here, she also dreamed that we would be coming to this world as well."

"She did?”  Steve frowned, and his back stiffened.  “Why didn't they wait for us?"

Gail sighed.  "I don't know.  The Lady didn't say, and the Mirror she allowed me to look into did not show me enough details to let me see for myself.  And from what she also told me, those were not the only prophetic dreams Jennifer's had since she's come here.  Lady Galadriel thinks this new gift of hers may continue when we return home."

Steve frowned.  After a moment, he said, "She's going to need our guidance and support if that happens."

Gail nodded, biting her lower lip.   "I agree.  She certainly will, and we're going to need God's guidance if we're going to help her there.  And that's not all, Steve.  This Mirror of hers is like no mirror I've ever seen before."  Steve nodded, his eyebrows raised questioningly.  "You see, Lady Galadriel has this special silver bowl.  She calls it her Mirror, and when she fills it with water, she can see all sorts of things, past, present, and future.  She granted me a look into the Mirror, and I saw a lot of things involving the kids, but they didn't make much sense."

She grimaced.  “Every scene the Mirror showed me was very short, and quickly followed by something else completely different.  But most of them involved the kids, and one of them involved you.”  She snorted.  “It was as if the Mirror knew exactly what I wanted to see!”

"Like what kinds of things?" 

"Well, for one thing, they were not all together.  Not as they were, starting out.  I have no idea what could have split them up like that."

"Okaaay…"  Steve was disturbed, but he wanted her to keep talking.

"Joey was in some kind of city with a hobbit, and they seemed to be running—in a hurried sort of way, and not like they were frightened.  But before I could see where they were going, I saw Jennifer on a ship, a sailing ship, with an Elf and a Dwarf.  And then I saw Kevin on a galloping horse.  And then, before I could see as much of Kevin as I wanted to, the scene changed again a few times, to people we don't know, and then I saw you—and it must have been during the fighting, Steve, because you were shooting the crossbow, and then there was us, in a boat on the river with Kaylee and Megan, and it changed again, and ended up in a desert with a horrible-looking tower.  At one point, I could see two strange hobbits I had never seen before."  She lowered her head.  "I'm sorry, I just couldn’t get it to stop and stay with what the kids were doing."

Steve sighed and put an arm around her shoulders.  "Well, you did the best you could, hon.  It's troubling, and makes me want to leave Lothlórien ASAP, to go and find them, but I don't think we can.  Those orcs are still out there, and it's way too dangerous right now to leave; I know that much.  And if they’ve been separated, then who knows how we would find all three of them?"

Gail sighed.  “I don’t like this one bit, Steve.  We came all this way just to find our kids, and this happens.”  She shook her head.  “‘The best-laid schemes of mice and men, and all that.’”

Steve grimaced.  “No kidding!”  He shook his head.  “Robert Burns certainly had that right, didn’t he?”  He wrapped his arm around his wife’s shoulder and kissed her nose.  “Well, sweetheart, all we can do is trust that our children are in God’s hands, and that He’ll protect them.  And we’ll also have to trust that when the time is right, we will be reunited with them.”

Gail smiled wanly.  “True.”  She sighed.  “Sooner rather than later, I hope.”

“Me, too,” Steve admitted.  “I really miss our other children.”  She leaned her head against his.

For a while, they sat silently, and then Steve took her hand, and both of them bowed their heads.  "Lord, this is all beyond us," Steve prayed.  "All we can do is trust You to keep taking care of our kids.  Please be with them, and comfort them with Your presence.  In Jesus' name, amen."

“Amen,” Gail echoed, and then they rose and left the tent to go check on their daughters.


The next morning, Kaylee and Megan were playing on the double swing.  Their parents had left a short while before to take Lucy for a walk, and Mairen was watching them as they played.  The little girls couldn’t stop giggling as they swung back and forth.  Mairen observed them, amused.

Lady Galadriel stepped into the clearing and caught Mairen's eye.  Kaylee waited until the swing was at its highest and jumped off, flying through the air.  To Kaylee's surprise, the Lady stepped forward and reached out, catching her mid-air with no effort at all.  Megan, who had waited for the swing to slow to a stop after her big sister had unexpectedly left her to wobble and slow down, slipped off and ran over towards them.

“Good morning, Kaylee.”  The Lady smiled at her.  “And Megan.”  Lady Galadriel set Kaylee down by her sister.  "I did not know you could fly, Kaylee," she said with a gentle smile.

Kaylee took a deep breath.  "I didn't know you could catch me!" she answered.  "That was a surprise.  You were fast.  Real fast!"

Galadriel smiled.  “It pleases me that you enjoy your new swing.”

“I love it!  We do!”  Kaylee glanced at her little sister.  “We have a swing set and slide in our back yard at home, too!  We play on it a lot.  It’s fun to play on.”  She smiled broadly, both rows of front teeth gleaming in the sunlight.

“You do, now?”  Galadriel’s laugh was like a spring breeze.

“Mm-hm.”  Kaylee nodded vigorously, smiling broadly.  “And guess what?  Lady Arwen taught me to sew!”

Galadriel nodded in her turn.  “Oh, she did?”

“Uh-huh.  She sure did.  I made my very own nighty!  Lady Arwen taught me to make it.”  Kaylee smiled.  “And guess what!  Mr. Baggins taught me to cook.  I learned to make scones and mushroom soup and sandwiches and stuff like that.  And I learned to ride and everything!”

Galadriel laughed again.  “Well, Kaylee, it sounds as if you had fun in Rivendell, and that you learned much while you were there.”

“I sure did!  ‘Course, I missed Mommy and Daddy, though.”  Kaylee’s face clouded, and then she beamed.  “But then they came, too, and I got to show them what I can do!”

“That is very nice!”  Galadriel put an arm around the little girl’s shoulders and then glanced down at Megan, who was staring up at the Lady shyly, inserting her thumb into her mouth, and who tugged on her sleeve with her other hand.  Galadriel smiled and then picked up Megan, who dropped her hand to her side.

Megan stared into the ageless eyes, which were twinkling with merriment.  "You shiny," she said softly.  “Like G'orfinel.”

"So I am, little one, and so is Glorfindel.  You are shiny as well, in your own way."  Galadriel reached a long-fingered hand up to the little girl's brow, and gently brushed away a lock of hair that had escaped Mairen's careful braiding that morning, and then she kissed the little girl on the forehead.

"Kelly-born tol' us a 'tory."

"Did he, indeed?"

Not to be forgotten, Kaylee spoke up.  "He did!  He told us about Lady Arwen climbing a tree when she was little, and getting stuck!"  She giggled at the memory.

An amused smile crept across Galadriel’s face.  "Ah, I see.  And do you wish me to tell you a story as well?"

Both Kaylee and Megan nodded vigorously.  “Yes, yes!  Please, Lady Galadriel,” Kaylee begged.

The Lady Galadriel sank down to sit upon the soft sward, and Megan climbed upon her lap, while Kaylee leaned against her knee.  Mairen quietly sat down nearby and pulled a bit of sewing from the purse at her waist.  The Lady wrapped her right arm around Megan and laid a hand on Kaylee’s shoulder, and then she scanned the little girls’ faces before she began.

"Once, long ago, in the land where I lived when I was young, there were two beautiful Trees.  One of them had leaves of dark green and silver, and was called Telperion; the other was named Laurelin, and her leaves were of pale green and gold…"

Kaylee and Megan stared in rapt attention, as they listened to the story, transported by the Lady's soft and lilting words to a place far away, called Aman, long before the time of the Sun and the Moon, where all of the light came from those two beautiful Trees.  Megan snuggled against the Lady and inserted her thumb in her mouth as she listened.  Kaylee leaned against her, utterly unmoving and wide-eyed, her gaze never leaving the Lady’s face.

Only Mairen saw the sorrow and longing upon the Lady's face.


Steve and Gail walked along one of the paths that meandered through the mellyrn.  They walked hand in hand, with Lucy trotting along obediently alongside them, carrying in her mouth a stick she had found on the path.  Occasionally the little spaniel would go off to the side of the path to sniff among the tree roots, but she would always come back to her spot next to Steve's heels, still clutching her stick between her teeth.  Steve smiled down at the young dog approvingly.  He was still rather amazed as yet at how well the Elves had trained Lucy.  He caught Gail smiling at him, and they both laughed softly.

They were not speaking.  There was something about the quiet and peacefulness among the immense trees that made speech unnecessary.  Gail was surprised that the path came out overlooking the gardens where she and Mairen and Lassiel and the girls had visited that day.

By mutual consent, the two sat on the ground at a distance, leaning against the bole of one of the trees, where they could watch the women tending the garden, and listen to them singing.  They shared some water from Steve's waterskin, and watched as Lucy dropped her stick and chased a butterfly.


The next few days seemed to last forever.  There was a hush over the Golden Wood.  But the notion of war was also still over them.  Each day, Steve took his crossbow out to practice and, unknown to Gail, Lord Glorfindel was also testing out Steve's rusty knife-fighting skills.

"We have no way to know how the next attack will go.  I believe that we may face attack other than over the River, and if we do, there is a chance you may find yourself in a situation when those old skills will be needed."

Steve took a deep breath, and then sighed.  "Yes, sir," he said.  He watched as Glorfindel held out a piece of cloth, clearly wrapped around something.  Without a word, he took it and peeled back the cloth.  It revealed two beautiful knives.  They were white, and there was some of the graceful Elvish script engraved upon the blades.  "What do they say?"  He looked up at Glorfindel as he spoke.

"One says, 'Defend', and the other says, 'Serve'," the Elf replied.

Steve looked awed.  "When I served in the Army, our motto was 'This We'll Defend'."

The Elf Lord smiled.  "A good sign, I am sure."

“I hope so.  Well, thank you for the knives.”  Steve smiled and then shook his head.  “I think while I’m at it, I’d also better brush up on my old hand-to-hand skills.  I may need them before it’s over.  I had to use them more than once in battle, in Operation Desert Storm.”

"It is possible you may have to.”  Glorfindel nodded agreement.  “Do you wish sheaths for these?  Your daughter Jennifer was given boot sheaths for her knives."

"Jennifer?  Knives?"  This information rather floored him.

Glorfindel nodded.  "Lady Arwen herself taught Jennifer some knife-fighting skills before they left Rivendell, and I believe Legolas continued her lessons after they left.  And she learned the bow here in Lothlórien."

Steve shook his head, frowning.  "I just can't imagine my little girl fighting with knives...:"

"It is possible that she will never have to do so.  But if she should become separated from her protectors in a dangerous place, is it not well that she has the means to take care of herself until someone can come to her aid?"

"Of course, it is."  And Steve meant it.  But the back of his mind was screaming, ‘Your little girl might have to fight with knives!’  Out loud, he added, "And yes, I would like to have some sheaths for these, thanks."

Glorfindel nodded.  "I will find some for you soon."

Glorfindel had asked Gail if she wanted to learn a weapon, but she had steadfastly refused, and so he did not press the matter.  So, while Steve was busy with his military training, she and the girls found other useful things to do.

One afternoon, the Lady invited her and the children up to the talan, not just to the main part of it, which they had not seen since their arrival, but to another level, where she and Lord Celeborn had their private quarters.  Mairen and Lassiel accompanied them, with Marien holding Kaylee’s hand and Lassiel carrying Lucy.

"I seldom have guests to whom I can show my home," Galadriel said.  Her expression seemed both modest and confident at the same time.  

"It's beautiful," Gail replied honestly.  She put Megan down.  At that cue, Mairen let go of Kaylee's hand while Lassiel set Lucy on the floor.  The little spaniel started sniffing around the room.

Lady Galadriel smiled at Lucy, and without a word, held up two fingers.  Lucy looked at her and immediately sat, and then lay down close to Galadriel’s feet, thumping her tail against the floor and still looking up at her.  Gail gaped at the Lady in astonishment.

"Lucy is a very intelligent little dog," was all Galadriel said.  She bent over and rubbed the half-grown puppy’s head, and Lucy licked her fingers.  As she straightened up, the Lady added, “She has learned much during her stay in Middle-earth.”

Gail smiled ruefully.  “I just wonder how much of her obedience training she’ll remember when we return home.  I hope she’ll at least remember her housebreaking.  I don’t relish her having to be housebroken twice.”  She looked down at Lucy and then glanced around the room.

They were in what must have been a sitting room of sorts.  There were sheer curtains floating between branches growing from the tree that looked as if they had grown just for the purpose of having curtains hanging there.  There was a canopy above that had been half-rolled back.  The furniture seemed to all be made of intertwined tree limbs, but the chairs looked comfortable, with white cushions in the seats and on the backs.  The tables had slabs of highly-polished wood on their tops.

There was only one actual wall in the room.  One side of it was composed of the bole of the tree, and the rest of it was free-standing, about eight feet high, and perhaps twelve feet or so across.  A large wooden beam with beautifully carved edges spanned the width of the wall, and it served as a shelf of sorts.  There was an array of various objects there, all beautiful and elegant.  An enamelled vase in the centre held some flowers, and there were two sets of brackets above the beam.  One set held a wonderfully elegant sword, with a white hilt.  Like every Elven knife or sword that Gail had seen so far, it was engraved with the beautiful Elven script.  But there was nothing in the other set of brackets.

"My Lord Celeborn has his sword on him at all times, in these dark days," the Lady said answering Gail's unspoken question.  "Mine rests upon the wall until all is lost.  But that may not come to pass."

In the centre of the room was a large round firepit.  It was a large bowl of beaten copper, and there was evidence of ashes and burned wood, but it was cold.  Next to it was a spinning wheel.  Kaylee went over to it and reached out her hand, but did not touch it.  "This is so pretty.  Eledhwen had one in Rivendell.  She was a good spinner."  She dropped her hand to her side.

Galadriel nodded.  "I know Eledhwen, child.  You are right; she is a very good spinner."

Gail smiled at her daughter.  “You know, that’s the way people used to make their own clothes back in the old days at home,” she told Kaylee.  “They spun their own thread on spinning wheels, and then used looms to weave the thread into cloth, which they then made into clothes.  Apparently, that’s the way women make their families' clothes here, now.”

Kaylee frowned at her mother.  "I know that, Mommy.  Eledhwen showed me." 

"Oh."  Gail was somewhat abashed.  She glanced over at the Lady Galadriel, who was giving Gail a look that she could only describe as speculative.  Galadriel smiled and dipped her head. 

‘We shall speak later,’ Gail heard in her mind.  She nodded at the Lady, though it was still very strange to have someone speaking in her head.

Kaylee was still speaking.  "I liked to watch her.  I wish I could spin."  She looked once more at the spinning wheel.  "That one is really pretty," she said again, sounding wistful.

"That spinning wheel was a gift to me," Galadriel said, and she gestured at the chairs.  "Be seated, and I shall tell you of it."

Kaylee and Megan sat cross-legged on the floor in front of their mother's legs, and looked up at the Lady with rapt attention.

"Long, long ago, when first I came with our people from Aman to the lands East of the Sundering Sea, I stayed a while in the hidden land of Doriath, and was taken under the wing of the Queen, Melian, who was a very special person.  She taught me many things.  I was already a spinster, but she was so much more skilled than I, that I felt a rank beginner.  And so, when she knew I enjoyed the art of spinning and weaving, she taught me more…"

At first, Gail's attention wandered, wondering why Lady Galadriel needed to speak to her alone.  But soon the story drew her in; as she listened, she, too, became fascinated by the story of Galadriel's lessons (which, to her mind anyway, seemed to encompass a lot more than just spinning), and finally the gift of the spinning wheel.

After Galadriel finished the story, she took Kaylee upon her lap and let her hold the yarn as the Lady drew it through the spindle.  She gave Megan a bit of unspun wool to play with.  Kaylee watched, fascinated, as the wheel twisted the wool into a single strand of wool thread while Galadriel pedalled the wheel.

"It would not be possible for you to learn to spin alone on a spinning wheel," Galadriel told the little girl.  "Your legs are currently too short to reach the pedals.  But we can work together to spin thread, you and I, as we are doing now, and I have a drop spindle that you can practice with on your own, to learn how.  I am sure that Lassiel and Mairen will be able to help you as well.  It is just like the drop spindle my naneth gave me when I was a small elfing in Aman, to acquire the skill of spinning, and like the ones that my daughter and granddaughter learned with."

Kaylee smiled.  “Thank you.”  Galadriel picked up some unspun yarn and showed the little girl how to use the drop spindle, and for the next several minutes, under Galadriel’s instruction, Kaylee worked very hard to master the skill of spinning as her mother and Megan watched.  Lucy remained curled up on the floor, watching them all, her tail thumping the floor from time to time.

After a while, it was time to go back to the pavilion, as Lady Galadriel had other matters to attend to.

"I thank you for coming to visit me," she said, as she escorted them from the talan.  "I so seldom am privileged to have the chance to show my home to guests."

Gail smiled.  "Thank you for having us, Lady Galadriel."  She looked down at the girls.

"Thank you, Lady Galadriel," Kaylee said, with one of the curtseys she had learned in Rivendell.

Megan tried to emulate her big sister.  "T'ank 'ou, Lady," and she gave a wobbly little curtsey, too.

Lady Galadriel bent and gave Kaylee and Megan a smile.  "I was glad to have you."  She kissed each little girl on the forehead, and then she smiled at Kaylee.  “I will have Lassiel bring you the drop spindle, Kaylee, tomorrow.”

Kaylee smiled back.  “Thank you.”

That evening, after Kaylee and Megan had gone to bed, Gail discussed their visit with Steve.  "I can't think what I said to make her want to talk to me."

"There's no telling," answered Steve.  "Elves have a way of noticing things that we never do."

Gail nodded, but she was still wondering.

But Gail was left to wonder for another day.  While Steve was busy training for the next battle that they knew was to come soon, Lassiel came by with the little drop spindle that the Lady had promised, and she and Mairen gave Kaylee her second lesson in its use.  They spent some time after that, teaching the little girl how to use the drop spindle.  Megan wished to try, but her little fingers were not yet coordinated enough to manage the little spindle, and she soon lost interest, preferring instead just to play with the bits of unspun wool.  Even Gail gave it a try, but after several awkward tries, she too, gave up, mumbling, "Now I know why they call it a drop spindle…"

Lassiel and Mairen both laughed at that, and Gail shook her head.  It was somewhat embarrassing to be so inept at it, but she was a little amused at herself as well.

Kaylee did develop a measure of proficiency in using the little spindle, and she produced several yards of rather lumpy yarn.  It wasn't beautiful by Elf standards, but it reminded Gail of the expensive slubby yarn often sold at home, and Kaylee was proud enough of it.  "Let's save it," Gail said.  Perhaps when they got home, she'd dig out her crochet hooks and teach Kaylee how to do that.  She had not noticed any of the Elves engaging in that particular skill.  The last crocheting she had done was when she had been pregnant with Megan.  Maybe she could teach Kaylee to make a little scarf with her homespun yarn.

Kaylee’s going to be so accomplished when the Elves are done with her! she thought, smiling.  Cooking, sewing, horseback riding, and now spinning.

The next day, Gail got a summons from the Lady, to meet her by the fountain where the Mirror was located.  She knew this was in regards to whatever it was that Galadriel had wished to speak with her about when they had been in her talan.

"Good afternoon, Gail," the Lady greeted her with a graceful wave of her hand, beckoning Gail to her side.

It was clear that she had been looking in the stone bowl.  "Soon our warriors will be leaving for the borders once more, for the end is coming near, and the forces of Sauron will be assailing all of those havens of the Free Peoples of the West."

Gail shuddered and shook her head.  "And my other children are out there in the thick of it.  Thank goodness Kaylee and Megan, at least, are safe!"  She took a deep breath.  "Is that what you wanted to talk to me about?" she asked.

"No.  Do these words sound familiar to you?”  Galadriel leaned forward.  “‘That’s the way people used to make their own clothes back in the old days; they spun their own thread on spinning wheels, and then used looms to weave the thread into cloth, which they then made into clothes.  Apparently, that’s the way women make their families' clothes here, now.’"

Gail bit her lip.  It suddenly dawned on her what she had given away.  She and Steve had tried to keep their ideas about being in the past to themselves.

"Do not be dismayed, Gail McCloud.”  Galadriel smiled at her.  “I knew you were from another place, and that you are also from another time does not surprise me.  I could feel that Mithrandir, or Gandalf as your children call him, was not telling me all he knew when he was here.  But he is of a kind for whom time and place do not have the same meaning as they do for us."

Gail shook her head.  "We actually were not really sure ourselves.  But I am worried that I gave it away so easily."  She looked up at Galadriel.  "Does that mean Kaylee was right, then, when she said this Gandalf was an angel?"

"If I understand your meaning, I will say, yes, he and Radagast are both emissaries of the One.  They are Maia, and serve the Valar, who also are emissaries of Eru Iluvatar."

"Oh."  Gail was a little stunned to be told this outright.

"But this is not spoken of aloud, even among the Wise, save in the most secret of circumstances.  It is not something I have ever spoken aloud, though I remembered Mithrandir from the first time I met him on these shores.  When the world was young, and my brothers and I lived in Aman, I knew him as Olórin.  Here, he is one of the five wizards."

"But you are talking about it to me, of all people?"

"It was laid upon my heart to do so.  You may tell your husband, but after that, neither of you are to speak of it again."

Gail nodded.  "I understand."

The Lady gestured at the Mirror.  "Do you wish to look again?"

Gail glanced down at it, and then after a moment's thought, she shook her head.  "I really would like to know how my children are, but the last time, it was just so confusing.  I didn't really learn anything useful.  It just made me worry more."

"Then you did learn something useful: the Mirror is not always to be trusted to show what you want to see.  Even I, after all this time, still have times when I cannot interpret what I see, and when it is difficult to guide the visions."

Gail frowned.  “But can you not control it?  Make it show you what you want to see?” 

"Most of the time, but not always.  Sometimes that which is to be is still in doubt.  The future may be on the edge of a knife, and only some small thing will tip the balance one way or another.  All is in motion now, and I cannot see into the Black Land, but I can see what is happening, for the most part."

Gail nodded.  “At least my children aren’t in the Black Land, so I have nothing to worry about there.  Thanks to the Mirror, at least I know they are not there now, and hopefully, they will never be.  I just wish…”  Her voice trailed off.  After a moment, she added, “I just want to wrap my arms around them all and keep my babies safe!”

"Be comforted, Gail.  You believe your children came here for a purpose.  Trust in the One who sent them here."  Galadriel sighed.  "I, too, wish I could hold my child again, and my grandchildren.  But I, too, must trust that one day, that time will come."

Suddenly, she turned her head, as if she had heard something.  "Ah!  The men are returning from their practice.  You may wish to greet your beloved.  My own is on the way, and we have much to discuss about the defence of our land."

Gail realized she had been dismissed, and took her farewell.  Slowly she made her way back to the pavilion, where the girls had been in the company of Lassiel and Mairen.  Kaylee had been busily trying to improve her skill with her drop spindle when Gail had left them.

It turned out that Steve had reached the pavilion before she did.  He was sitting on the ground with the girls and Lassiel and Mairen, all of whom were laughing at him as Kaylee tried to show her daddy how to use the drop spindle.  Gail stood at a distance for a moment, watching and trying not to laugh at her husband, who was just as awkward as she herself had been.  Finally, she approached the little group.

"Well," Gail said, "I see you are no better at that than I was.  I think Kaylee is the one who has the nimble fingers!"

Steve grinned up at her.  "Well, she apparently has much better reflexes, too!"

"Mommy!  Look!"  With a broad smile, Kaylee held up her ball of yarn, which had grown considerably since the last time Gail had seen it.

Megan jumped up and hugged her mother around the knees.  "See mine!"  She held up a small ball of unspun yarn.  "'s round!" the three-year-old proudly exclaimed.

"I see it is, love.  It's a very nice ball!"  Gail smiled at her.

Noon was long past, so the little family retreated to the main part of the pavilion to have something to eat and drink, thanks to the ever-full table the Elves provided through the day.

Afterwards, Gail put Kaylee and Megan down in their little cot to nap, and she and Steve sat on the cushions and talked.

Gail confided that she had unintentionally let slip that they might be from the future, and what Galadriel had to say about it.

Steve shook his head, but said, "Don't worry about it too much.  I am not sure anyone else would have figured that out from what you said.  And I have a feeling that Lady Galadriel can be trusted with that sort of knowledge."

Gail sighed with relief and leaned against her husband, who put an arm around her.  "That's a relief.  I was afraid you might not be happy with me."

He shook his head again.  "It couldn't be helped.  I wouldn't get mad at you over something like that."  He pulled her closer and turned his head to meet her gaze.  "I have something to tell you that you will not be happy about, either."

She looked at him and remembered what else the Lady had said.  "When are you leaving again?"

Steve gaped at her.  "How did you know?"

Gail shrugged.  "The Lady said there will be another attack soon.  I didn't expect you'd stay behind this time, either.  How soon?"

"Tomorrow.  We leave tomorrow.  And this time, I won't be going to the River.  Glorfindel says we are headed to the Southern border of Lothlórien."

Gail looked at him for a moment, studying his face.  "Well, then, let's make the most of today."  She stood up and took his hand, and when he stood as well, they came together once more in what Kaylee would have described as a "princess kiss", and what Megan would have called a “kissy-face”.


A/N: "eremelda" or "arimelda" mean "dearest"; and come from the word, "melda," which can mean "beloved, dear, or sweet".  From Parf Edhellen.

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