The elven warrior looked about him, apprehensive, filled with a sense of foreboding. Something had entered Lorien's borders near to him. Signalling silently to his brothers, he slipped through the tree branches soundlessly towards this presence. Closer and closer he drew. Strangely enough, he could not hear it, neither could he see it, but for the faint glimmer of something metallic. Apprehension rose swiftly in him and all his usual confidence had forsaken him. Was he chasing a ghost through fair Lorien? It certainly seemed as if it were. A glimpse of the stranger assured him to some extent that it was no ghost, but a figure cloaked in a pastel blue robe. Another glimpse through the branches of the trees told him that the shadowy face behind the hood of the cloak was female. Yet another brief glimpse told him that the woman was elfin. And that last glance he had been able to see of her told him that she knew he was there. Shock coursed through his entire body when he realised that he was not hidden at all to her but that she could see him as if she were standing in front of him. An arrow notched upon his bow, he slipped from the trees to the ground and moved towards her suddenly stationary profile cautiously. As he approached, circling around her as if he were a wary wildcat, he could feel her studying him and it almost unnerved him.

"What business have you in Lorien?" he spoke quietly but firmly. Fear of this ethereal figure would not unnerve him so much that he would forget his duty as a border guard to question anyone entering into Lorien. She lifted her eyes to his then, and images flew between them. Frozen with fear of what he had seen in her gaze, he gripped his bow tightly and a small gasp escaped his lips.

"Haldir!" Shaken, he turned slightly to see his brothers descend from the trees. This woman obviously had not affected them they way she had affected him.

"I would see the Lady of the forest, if she will receive me." The woman's voice was clear and concise, and had a silvery quality about it. Suddenly Haldir's mind was blank. Distrust clearly marked the faces of his brothers. "I have a matter of grave importance that I must discuss with the Lady." She turned to him again and looked him in the eye. "You understand, do you not?" He nodded. He knew what he had seen in her eyes. Rúmil and Orophin looked at him startled, surprised at his compliance to her wishes. Usually he was not so rash to judge strangers to Lorien. Haldir himself was confused at his judgment of her. She had frightened him severely, yet he trusted her to be true in her intentions.
"Gods I am confused…" he muttered under his breath.

"Will you take me to the Lady?" she asked him directly. Again he nodded. He would lead her to Caras Galadhon to speak with the lady.

"Rúmil," he said with a slight quaver to his voice. What he had seen in her eyes had shaken him all too completely. "Orophin, continue to scout the perimeter of Lorien. I will lead…" Stopping short, he closed his eyes and tried to focus his mind. Glancing over at the woman, he lowered his bow. "Forgive me lady, but I had not inquired of your name."

"My name is of no consequence. Lead on, brave warrior." The woman gestured in the direction of Caras Galadhon and mutely, he led the way.

* * * * * * * * * *

He led her to the very heart of Lorien, to the city of the trees. Through the entire distance to Caras Galadhon, he was aware of his own elven scouts watching him as he passed. They came to the city and there the Lady Galadriel waited to greet his charge. Silent words passed between them, no doubt as they beheld each other.

"Lady Rhyiel, I have awaited your coming to my fair city for many months. I fear your news is grave, is it not?" calmly the Elven Queen spoke.
"Galadriel, Your welcome is most warm, but I fear I bring the coldest of news. Your warrior, Haldir knows of it, partially." Galadriel turned to Haldir who stood back from her and the Lady Rhyiel.
"You know of what news the Lady brings?" he nodded gravely.
"Yes, I saw in part, terrible things in the Lady's eyes."
"Then you must come within to my chamber, and learn of the other part."
"Yes, my Queen."

* * * * * * * * * *

Haldir stood like a shadow near the door of the room.
"Come, great warrior, and seat yourself." the Lady Rhyiel beckoned to him.
"I am sorry if I displease you, Lady, but I prefer to stand." She glanced over at him with a knowing look.
"I insist that you sit with us. We may be here for a while."
"Time is only relative, my Lady."
"Very well." She turned to Galadriel. "I have told you often enough that I have a dark twin, have I not, Galadriel?"
"Yes. Often have we discussed her."
"She is a dark elf. My exact opposite. She is purely evil, I believe." A sigh escaped her, and she shook her head sadly. "I grow tired of this world, you know that. And now I know that she gains more and more vitality for this world as she goes on, and as I grow weary.

"She has emerged into this world again, Galadriel." The elven queen's face was drawn at this news and she clasped the Lady Rhyiel's hand, something that Haldir had never seen of his queen. "I fear that to bring her under control this time…" She stopped again, trailing off. Just sharing this tale seemed to drain her of her strength.

"No…" the Lady Galadriel whispered.
"Yes… I believe that both of us will have to be bound. The spell may not last a century, or a millennia, but I can only hope that her strength and character will be so drained from her, that she will be very weak when she arises again. I doubt that I will be able to rise with her."
"Surely there must be another way…"
"That is partly the reason I came to you, Galadriel. I trust your judgement, and I know that you are wise enough to help me think of another way. But then, I doubt that there is another way…"
"It is true, for all my wisdom, I cannot think for a moment of any other possibilities."

"Warrior," Haldir started as Rhyiel turned to him. "have you any thoughts?"
"My lady," he replied solemnly, "I greatly doubt that I know any more than you or the Queen know. Certainly not, when dealing with spells."
"I suspect there is nothing for it then. I will have to bind myself with my dark sister." Again she turned to him. "Warrior, I do insist that you come and sit with us. I consider your self-exclusion particularly rude. Don't you agree, Galadriel?"
"Of course, Lady Rhyiel. Haldir, come and sit with us." Pausing for a moment, he walked uneasily over and obliged the two women with his presence in their circle. Rhyiel smiled at him wearily, and he saw again the horror of the scene in her eyes. His own eyes widened with shock. Not again, he thought to himself as images filled his head. Images of the darkling one. He saw the great fury of this dark elf… The sky burned a fiery red, and the slender figure of the dark one… Lómódë… strode seemingly towards him through a raging inferno. The dark one had ice-white skin, and eyes so blue, that they rivalled the bluest skies. A great mass of black hair fell down her back. Chanting he could hear in these images. A hundred cries of elves chanted together and the dark one shrieked horrendous blasphemies and curses out to the chants and the skies. Suddenly, images from a different vantage point came to him, and he realised that he was seeing through the dark ones eyes. He could see there before him, the familiar blue cloak of the Lady Rhyiel, except that it had been thrown back from her face and he could see her finely carved features, and her gold-white hair. Her arms were thrown up skyward, and she was chanting what he could only assume was a binding spell. He could feel the hatred that the dark one felt for her sister, and he could feel all of his muscles stiffen, as if he were the one being bound. He felt as if he was turning to stone, and his inability to move was maddening. He could hear wretched shrieks echoing form the dark one's mouth, and closer and closer darkness enshrouded him, trapping him in a case of obsidian. Frightened he was, oh so frightened. Frightened beyond his own comprehension. Also he could feel the dark one's rage, and her own fear boiling inside her.
The images stopped again, and he realised painfully, that he was trembling with shock. Rhyiel was no longer smiling, but wore an aggrieved expression. Galadriel's own face was lined with great concern. He closed his eyes tightly and put his head in his hands.

"That, great warrior, was the first time we bound her." The Lady Rhyiel's voice was faint.
"Lómódë… Why did I see through her eyes..?" his voice was hoarse.
"You saw through my dark sister's eyes?"
"I saw… I felt her rage, her hatred and her fear. I felt it when she was bound, and was encased in obsidian. I felt the horror of being trapped and unable to move. It was maddening."
"She wasn't… encased in obsidian, so to speak, more rather she was reduced to an obsidian statue. Completely solid." Haldir looked up sharply with a glint of malice in his eye. It sounded as if she were mocking him. "I am sorry," she said with a tired glance, "I realise that you felt the suffering of my dark sister as she was bound. Believe me when I say that I was in no way mocking you, great warrior." Shakily he stood, and he addressed Galadriel and Rhyiel wearily.
"Please, my Ladies, I pray you excuse me from these chambers. I cannot think clearly at this moment, and I would like to walk for some time through Lorien to clear my head."
"Of course, Haldir," the elven queen intoned. "You may leave if you wish. The shock you felt must have been great indeed."
"Thankyou my Lady." He said, bowing low to both of them before swiftly making his way from the room.

* * * * * * * * * *

Darkness fell upon Lorien as he strode through the golden wood. He came to the bank of Nimrodel, and knelt there, scooping up water in his hands and splashing it over his face. Moonlight glittered on the flowing water of Nimrodel. His reflection in the water shimmered and rippled, and suddenly his was not the only reflection in the water. The slightest touch of a hand crossed his shoulder and he shuddered away from the touch. A familiar blue cloak shimmered in the reflection beside him. The Lady Rhyiel had sat beside him on the mossy bank.

"Haldir, look into my eyes." she commanded firmly, but quietly.
"Lady, although it wounds my pride to admit, I am afraid to glance. The images in your gaze terrify me, and they are so painful." She placed her hand on his shoulder and again he shuddered ever so slightly.
"I promise you, those images you will not see when you look at me. I let those images through to you so that you would understand, and the story could be told in fewer words. I never intended for you to feel any pain from these images." Despite her reassurances, he stared solidly at the glittering moon reflected in Nimrodel. Placing a finger under his chin, she turned his face towards her own, gently forcing him to look into her eyes.

Again, he saw images in her glance, but they were not the painful images he had been forced into before. Images he saw of two elfin children, one with a mass of black hair, and extraordinarily blue eyes, and a child with beautifully carved features, and golden-white hair. The two stood together, evil and good, balancing each other, compromising for each other's strength. In instants, he saw both of the children grow to become adults, and the force of the dark woman's evil over balanced the two, breaking them far apart. The fair-haired woman was weighed down with grief from the loss of her counterpart, while the dark one felt that she was free. His heart went out to the fair-haired woman for her grief. Images swirled and faded before his eyes and he was left looking into her eyes. Beautiful red-gold eyes that she had. He could see them now that the images were gone.

"Why do you show me these things?" he whispered in a low tone.
"So you can understand." She sighed. "It is important… that you understand."
"… May I see your face..?" he asked her with some uncertainty. All the while that she had seen her, she had never once drawn her hood back from her face, yet he could still see her red-gold eyes burning brightly beneath her hood. She glanced at him with equal uncertainty, and pulled her hood back from her face. She had smooth, pale features like he had seen in the images, yet her face appeared somewhat weathered, as if she had aged somehow. Beautiful white-gold hair fell around her face and a mithril circlet crossed her forehead. Always those timeless red-gold eyes flashed brightly at him.
"I am old, as you can see. Age has etched itself into my ageless face." She sighed again and glanced at him.
"Age may have weathered your delicate features, Lady, but you remain as beautiful as the child in the images that you have shown me." A rueful smile played upon her face.
"Did I just receive a complement from this proud warrior?" she whispered, musing to herself. "How strange…" Again she sighed. Haldir turned his gaze back to the shimmering moon. "Proud you may be, your youthful expression does not belie your obvious intelligence. The mark of experience can be seen behind that vicious pride in your eyes. Why are you not so arrogant around me?" He gazed at her coolly.
"Your's is a personage that commands respect, my Lady. Even from me." He laughed.
"Well, I certainly do not command respect, but I get it all the same. People either fear me, as you do, or did," Haldir shot a dark glance at her. He feared nothing, and certainly not her! Those images he had seen however, had shaken him to the core. "or they distrust me, as your brothers did."
"I see."
"No, Haldir, I do not think that you do." Moving fluidly, he arose at once, nodding to her curtly before taking leave of her, seemingly offended. "You would not leave me here!" Turning slowly, he stepped towards her. "I have little energy in these older days. Help me to my feet, warrior." In surprising closeness, Haldir gripped her gently around her waist and lifted her to her feet. A moment of uncomfortable silence passed between them before Rhyiel disentangled herself from his arms and turned to face him. "Walk with me, warrior. Act as my aid back to Caras Galadhon, for I am weary." Rhyiel took his offered arm, and they walked in silence back to the forest city.

* * * * * * * * * *