13 years ago in a world far far away.

"... and so the beautiful Prince had saved the day once more. The Princess was more than impressed - her heart was beating with pure love for this man who had killed the evil fire-breathing dragon and saved her from certain death! She took his hand and together they walked towards the dawning day.........which would be the first day of their remaining happy and glorious days.........forever".

The silence in the room seemed to stretch on and on. It was as if a spell hung in the very air that none dared to break. Queen Amargath, having finished reading the tale, slowly closed the book and looked at the dreamy and beautiful faces of her three little daughters. By the looks of it, they were all imagining the rising golden sun and the pair walking towards it, hand in hand. She sighed slightly. A timeless story.........she could almost remember how, when she was 8 herself, her own mother had read it to her and how it had stirred her heart.

"What a darn stupid story!" Lady Amargath almost jumped at the interruption of her thoughts. She took a deep breath and slowly shook her head, pinching the bridge of her nose.

"It is not! It is sooo beautiful mama!" chirped another (and FAR sweeter) voice.

"Yes my sweet Analia. I think so too, dear."

"It is too! That Princess is just plain stupid! Doing nothing but getting herself saved all the time!" said Irulan even louder this time. She had a very annoyed expression on her young face. Amargath was starting to think that the very expression would be printed on her youngest daughter's face forever.

"That's enough Irulan! You are obviously missing the point......... again!" she said slowly and tried really hard not to hiss during the process. It was not becoming of a queen, after all.

"Very truly so, dear mother," added her oldest daughter Enaia. She was only 9 but Amargath could already see herself in Enaia. She smiled inwardly - Enaia would someday make a very good queen indeed. Now as to Irulan.........

"You read it every year. And every year you say I do not understand. What is there to understand? It still sounds very stupid to me!" Irulan was whining now. Both her sisters were giving her sour looks, but she was so caught up in her chanting, she did not notice. "And did I say boring? It certainly is! I like the other one.......about the raiding dwarves and how they cleaned the mines from all the evil orcs....."

"That's enough Irulan!" interrupted Amargath. This time she actually DID hiss saying it. She scolded herself immediately for doing so and slowly moved towards the bed of her youngest daughter. She held Irulan's confused and somewhat irritated face between her soft hands and kissed her forehead

"I hope you will understand it some day Irulan, I really do. Maybe next year. Now sleep.....all of you. It is quite late. Stampa!"

A chubby woman entered the room. She was breathing heavily and her face was all red. But then, Stampa always managed to look like she was interrupted from a race. "Stampa," said the Queen, "please tuck my daughters in and make sure they sleep early today." She gracefully walked towards the chamber door and turned to look one last time.

"Good night my beautiful girls. May you have good dreams!" Then she exited the room and dared a sigh of relief. As she began to walk down the half-lit stone corridor, she could hear Stampa's exciting voice, trying to tuck in the little mischiefs. She made a mental note of telling Stampa not to read those dreadful violent stories again to the children. Enaia and Analia seemed to be rather scared by them. Irulan, on the other hand, had learned reading and writing at a very early age just to sneak into the library and look up stories like that herself. "She will understand next year, I'm sure," she murmured to herself "too young is what she is................"

But Irulan never understood. Not the following year, or the year following that and not for all the years after that. For she was a rather unusual girl born in unusual times and although nobody could have guessed it yet, she would leave her imprint on many hearts and shape the destiny of many in her years yet to come.


DISCLAIMER: Obvious to say that I do not own neither Legolas, nor any other of the LOTR characters, places or objects that belong to Master J.R.R. Tolkien alone. I certainly do also not own the movie on which this story is mainly based on. This is pure fiction....... or so I hope.

I want to take this chance to thank everyone who actually sat down and wrote me a review on this story so far. It does feel very much like walking in the dark without them! And thank you for all the criticism as well - I do not mind at all! I am a work in progress and this is my first fan fiction, so I am not going to fool myself in believing that I am doing a marvelous job!

As to some of the problems brought to my attention:

I was told that the story did not sound like a LOTR story. Actually I am not so sure if it is one, myself. Irulan will join the fellowship in the upcoming chapters, true, but my intention for this ff was from the very beginning to write a story about Irulan, the girl who was different from all the other "fair" and "graceful" females running around in Middle Earth. Tolkien obviously wrote extensively about the Fellowship and Middle Earth a long time ago and I doubt that anyone will make a better job of it (though considering some stories on the net, I am inclined to believe otherwise) So I do no wish to copy his art. Irulan will remain in the center of it. Sorry about that.

Another problem -though not pointed out to me too often yet, but one that I always wanted to address- is the "changes" I made on the original material. I obviously invented a kingdom for Irulan, and made up the various "houses" that are similar to lords or counts in my imagination. Also, every now and then I will most probably have to make further changes, but that seems inevitable to me. Besides, I get to be God, damn it, I might as well be allowed to make a few minor (!) changes.

Thirdly, I know the first 13 chapters or so are mainly about Irulan and seemed completely unrelated to LOTR (see paragraph above), but even though it seems like an awfully long introduction, I could not skip these chapters in fear that it would make the heroine of the story too two-dimensional. For those who only want the Felloship-related parts, go ahead and just read on from chapter 14 onward, but I must say that I wrote the other 13 for a reason and I intend to refer to them often enough.

As to Irulan being a Mary Sue.. Yes, I think she really is! I wanted her to be an "anti" to the female gender in Tolkien's world and if that is a mary sue, so be it. But I have to point out - so are Arwen, Aragorn, Legolas, Eowyn, Gandalf and all the other characters that just simply seem to be too perfect to be true. Middle Earth, I think, pretty much consists of "mary sue"s except for Sauron, Wormtongue and Saruman. And even those are perfect villains. So, sorry really, but there's not too much I want to change in that department. The truth of the matter is that she begins more like one, but then becomes more complicated in time and certainly far more than a mere Mary-Sue.

If you have the patience do go that far.

Thanks again for all the support and criticism.