|The Eldar's Folly
Author: Angel251 PM
On Hold. A little action, a little romance, a little jealousy between very different people when a mystic enters the lives of the heroes of the Third Age.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance - Legolas - Chapters: 8 - Words: 16,739 - Reviews: 7 - Favs: 3 - Updated: 11-17-04 - Published: 04-13-03 - id: 1304354
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: I do not own any of the characters or settings from Middle Earth and Lord of the Rings. All original people are my own. This story is not being written for profit.
This story takes place from the time of the Battle of Helm's Deep on, but it will have references to past things because the depth of the world of Middle Earth is such that it is required. I have used the lore from the book the Silmarillion quite heavily, since it lists a great deal about the First Age and the Ainur. As the story progresses, I will not use so many references, but for the beginning it is necessary for background purposes.
Sauron was amassing great power. She could feel it. She sensed his malignant presence throughout the breadth of Middle Earth, and it troubled her. For centuries she had roamed the lands in peace, bringing healing to those devastated by the Great War. She had been born during the end of the First Age, shortly before the defeat of the dark lord Melkor, called now by the name of Morgoth, and had never faced his wrath, but despite that, she sensed him now. She instinctively recognized his foul taint, for it was the driving force behind his servant, Sauron the treacherous Maia of Aule. Once more, there was disturbance in the land, a dangerous shift in the balances of power, and it strongly favored the forces of evil. As a rule, she tried not to get directly involved with the affairs of mortals; afraid her own power might harm them in some way, and she had not walked among them since the end of the Second Age.
But times were desperate. Sauron was searching for something, and she was well enough versed in the history of Middle Earth to know what it was. The One Ring. If he found it, all would be lost. She could feel the presence of the Ring, for it was magic, as she was, and she knew it was to the east. It seemed to be heading for Sauron himself, but she sensed that was not its destination, because she could feel the Ring's frustration even from a distance. She had no idea what was taking place, and the only way to get information was to seek it, so she decided to visit her closest friends, her kin: the Elves.
She made way for Imladris, Rivendell, but something stayed her, directed her instead to Rohan. A man was there, a man of great importance. He could answer all of her questions and, more importantly, he needed her somehow. She had long ago learned not to question her instincts. The magic that had created her was tied to the very earth, and it never failed her.
Shadowfax covered ground with amazing speed, Gandalf reflected as the white stallion beneath him surged onward, his stride never tiring. They had been riding for almost two days already, their objective within reach. The exiled riders of Rohan were near, the wizard could sense it. They were desperately needed at Helm's Deep. Though the wizard knew that Elves had joined with Man, the war was not going well at all. The forces of Saruman were too many, and-
Suddenly Shadowfax slid to a halt, snorting wildly and tossing his great head. Gandalf looked up in surprise, wondering what had bothered the stallion. The animal was looking in the distance, his ears forward and quivering. This was no display of fear, but one of curiosity. Gandalf was mildly annoyed; they had no time for such antics. He was about to send the stallion into a gallop when he saw movement. His gaze followed that of the horse's, and he went still.
"Greetings, mortal," a gentle, dulcet voice called out, ringing with musical tones that were almost hypnotic. "I knew you would come. I have been waiting for you."
Standing on a ridge less then a hundred feet away was a being of breath taking beauty. Something he'd heard of in legend, but had never been privileged enough to meet. A unicorn, some would say, but Gandalf knew he gazed upon something far greater then that. The beast was tall, easily seven foot at the withers. Its body was similar to a horse, but more slender and graceful, and it had cloven hoofs and was crowned with a single horn. Whereas unicorns were solid white, this creature gleamed like a new star, a striking shade of iridescent blue, and rays of living sunlight seeming to dance over its shimmering hide. The horn on its brow was not white either, but opalescent, glittering with latent magic. Its mane, tail and hoofs were brightest silver, sparkling even in the waning light. Its eyes were not blue but a glowing green, like the facets of a sun lit emerald. His former compatriot, Saruman, had told him the tale of the Eldar's Folly more then once. It was a lesson to all who wielded magic, a warning of what the abuse of power could cost. And it was somewhat ironic to Gandalf that the treacherous head of the Council had failed to heed the lesson he had forced his fellow wizards to learn. Beneath him, Shadowfax shivered, drawing the wizard's attention back to the present, and the mythical immortal he faced.
"Greetings, Liathandrial Stardancer of the Vanyar," Gandalf called out, raising a hand, wondering how the Eldar's Folly had known he would come, and why she was waiting for him. He knew better then to question the antics of such a magical creation, however, and so he kept his thoughts to himself, for the moment.
The creature tossed its head, its green eyes widening in surprise. "Who are you, mortal? How do you know my name?"
"I am known as the wizard Mithrandir, and you are known to all of my kind," he answered, bowing his head to the mystic before him. "I regret meeting you at a time such as this, for it is indeed an honor, but I cannot spare the time to make your acquaintance as I would like. I seek the riders of Rohan."
"They are but a few hours ride to the North," the animal answered, eyeing him in speculation. "You ride a lord of the horses, wizard, yet you are no descendant of a King of the Mark. This must be a matter of great urgency."
"Saruman, the traitorous servant of Sauron, has sent a dark force to attack the city of Man known as Helm's Deep, and without the horsemen's aid, they will perish," Gandalf explained out of respect, but he was impatient to be off. Time was of the essence. He eyed the beast for a moment, sorely tempted to ask her to join him, but hesitant to do so. She was not of this world, even more then the Elves, and he had not learned enough of her to know if she would be willing to come to the aid of mortals.
The Eldar's Folly regarded him for a moment, her ancient eyes thoughtful. She turned her head to the north, and then snorted gently. Shadowfax trembled, and Gandalf frowned, but then the musical voice called out, "You should ride on, wizard. The circumstances are indeed dire. I do not know if you will be able to find your riders of Rohan, but I can tell you this: I will go to Helm's Deep, and do what I can to help your allies. Any enemy of Sauron is a friend of mine."
Gandalf was surprised to feel a moment of joy. He had thought himself beyond such living emotions, at least ones of such intensity. Though his knowledge of the Eldar's Folly was limited, he did know she was purported to possess phenomenal power. She would be most useful, indeed. He desperately wanted to know the reason she had been waiting for him, and why she had so readily agreed to come to the aid of Man, but he had no time for such questions, so he simply bowed his head.
"You have my thanks, and that of the people of Rohan as well," he humbly called out.
She inclined her regal head to him, and then leaped from the small cliff she had been standing on. She landed so lightly her hoofs didn't leave a single print in the ground. Shadowfax snorted at her, and then bowed, nearly unseating the wizard. She whinnied at the stallion and then lunged into a gallop. She moved with such speed that her body lost shape, appearing to be a ball of golden white light as she streaked across the land at an unearthly pace. She was gone from sight in less than a minute's time, and Gandalf wondered at the extent of her powers.
Sighing at his lack of time, he urged Shadowfax on, his attention once more on finding the riders of Rohan.
It would take her only an hour to reach the city of Helm's Deep, for she ran with the wind, so blessed was she by Sulimo. She was feeling apprehensive, not because of having to take part in battle, but rather because it had been ages since she had come into the lives of Man. She was reclusive by nature, being a unique creature forged more by magic then anything else, and she generally only spoke with the Elves. She did not understand the other immortals of Middle Earth, and Man was completely alien to her in his rash behavior and base, greed driven desires. He had become only a shadow of the noble Edain. She tended to avoid the lands of Man, and now she was in the heart of one. She was unafraid, because fear was not an emotion that was known to her. But she was worried.
She had heard of the wizard Mithrandir, for he was an Istari, and older then most men, and he had friends in all kingdoms of Middle Earth. She knew of him from her days in Valinor, where he was known as Olorin, though she knew he did not remember seeing her there, and from his exploits with the Elves. They thought very highly of the old man, and that in itself was surprising, for he was said to be human, and the Elves were notorious for their dislike or, more accurately, distrust of other races. Whatever he was, the Grey Pilgrim was no longer mortal, if he ever had been, though she suspected he was a Maia. Oh, he had a body, and his soul was bound to this plane for the time being, but he was not truly a part of Middle Earth anymore. He was visiting on borrowed time. She was most curious to know the circumstances that had granted him such a privilege.
As she drew closer to the battle at Helm's Deep, she became aware of a foulness polluting the land. The army of Saruman was comprised of black magic and compelled by evil intent, and it corrupted the very air with its existence. She felt a great surge of anger, affronted by the monstrosities that the dark lord had created. She felt the overwhelming desire to slay them, to rid the world of their hideous presence. She was not violent by nature, but she was nonetheless an engine of destruction by design. Her magic eclipsed the mightiest artifacts, and only the Rings of Power came close to her in strength. The One Ring was another story; it alone could rival her in raw power, for it contained the greater power of Sauron himself. Perhaps it could even enslave her. She did not know, and she wasn't going to go anywhere near that ring to find out.
Though she had never met the dark lord Morgoth, she had crossed paths with his servant, Sauron, in the past. And just as his black master had been stronger then the Eldar alone, so Sauron was more powerful then she. Not by any great measure, but enough that he could destroy her if given time. She knew the boundaries of her strength, and knew too that it would take him many years to break her, but it could be done. She was not invincible. No being in creation was, such was the will of Eru, Iluvatar. But she could never be truly destroyed, for her power was not tied to any artifact, but the land of Middle Earth itself, and beyond, to the very heart of Arda, where dwells the Flame Imperishable. The Valar and Valier had blessed her greatly during her days in Valinor, most notably Manwe and Varda, whom Melkor envied and hated above all others. As Sauron was able to remake himself, so was she, though it would take her longer. By the time she returned, Middle Earth could be lost. It was a risk she was not willing to take.
Lia reached Helm's Deep with ease, tireless as no mortal creature could be. Below her was the dark host of Saruman's army, relentlessly attacking the walls of Helm's Deep. Even from a distance, she could see her kin, the Elves, standing beside Man, giving their lives to protect an ally who was perhaps not worthy of such a gesture, but still the Children of Iluvatar. She looked to the night sky, seeking the presence of Elbereth among the stars. The great Ainur was ever watching over her, more often then even Manwe, for Lia's sire Halthanslay was Varda's most beloved steed, created for her by Aule in the dawn of time. She felt the Lady of the Stars' love, and knew she was protected. Her halo of light shimmered around her until she gleamed as brilliantly as the heavens, a gift from Varda that brought great agony and suffering to the servants of Melkor, who could not withstand the force of her presence without pain. She bowed her head in a moment of reverence, thinking of the great Eru and all he had created on Arda, vowing anew to protect her maker's world from the twisted schemes of Sauron and his dark master.
When she raised her eyes once more, they were filled with calm purpose and fury. Calling upon the gifts given unto her by Tulkas and Orome, she surged forward to join the battle.