Disclaimer - The Estate of J.R.R. Tolkien owns Middle Earth and all therein. No breach of copyright is intended by the following fanfiction, and no profit will ever be made from it.
The Dream - Part 1
I slept, and in a dream of Middle Earth, I walked the aspen groves that graced the south-eastern slopes of the hidden Elven stronghold of Imladris.
I didn't know that at the time, though. I simply wandered the sun-dappled hillside, making my way between the trees in the manner of dreamers everywhere. Possessed of a faint wonder and a vague but unquenchable longing, my passage went unmarked except by the most sensitive among the inhabitants, and I for my part was utterly unaware of them. There, but not completely - I was, as far as I knew, alone. And even to those who had the ability to detect the vaguest of presences, I was but a brief intrusion upon their awareness.
Still, even the faintest of traces may capture someone's interest. Someone in desperate need of diversion, perhaps?
I discovered later that Temeril Derlanen had already become well-known for his insatiable curiosity. The prerogative of the very young, some might say. It was true that he was among the youngest in Imladris.
So perhaps it is not surprising that it was he who was not satisfied to merely note my faint presence as it passed by one day, but rather turned and followed.
Followed me down the slope, stretching his senses to their limit - and beyond. Too young to know that it had never been done, couldn't be done, wasn't worth doing. He paused behind me, straining to not lose that delicate thread of connection, his realization of my presence. I, yet unaware, halted and squatted slowly and carefully upon the moss-carpeted bank of one of that place's chuckling streams, one of my hands reaching slowly for the running water...
Excited, impetuous, he reached for me somehow, in a way difficult to explain. Not physically. Perhaps my coming to a stop allowed him to sense me more strongly, and he reacted on impulse, lest he lose me again. I learned of this later - in my dream, I knew only that I suddenly was not alone.
Even then, I might not have reacted the way I did...the simple shock of realizing I wasn't alone would perhaps not have caused me to react as I did.
Receiving the impression that something had reached out to seize me did.
In the dream, terror flooded me, and I screamed with all my being, desperate, never even turning around before I fled...
...back to my own place. I came awake in my bed, still churning with fright and shock. A bad dream it had been; a very bad dream. The worst kind...one of those amorphous, terror-inducing journeys. Worse when you could not recall what precisely had happened, just that overwhelming emotion...
What I did not know then was that back in Imladris, in a place just as real, but elsewhere...a young elf stood, stunned. Despite the unpleasant shock of my departure, he felt a growing excitement. The burst of aversion with which the 'energy' had fled...confirmed for him beyond a doubt its reality. And, possibly, its sentience.
Now he knew that he'd definitely found a mystery worth pursuing.
And pursue it he did. I have to wonder now why I kept returning to that place...when an obsessed elf kept dogging my heels. I can only think that my spirit had already decided it was a special enough place to warrant repeated visits, despite the way he hunted me.
Though I must admit, after his first few hamfisted attempts to snag me sent me gasping in horror back to my bed, and left him empty-handed, Temeril began to learn subtlety. His confidence grew as I returned and he was able to re-locate me, and he began to fear less that each time was his only chance to discover who or what I was, and why I was only barely detectable. He stopped trying to 'capture' me and contented himself with tracking and spying upon me, trying to get a sense of what I was, and my intentions.
He told me later that the longer he stalked me...the stronger his sense of me became. In time, I graduated to the faintest 'shadow'. Just a glimmer of 'somethingness', he explained.
I, in turn do have to admit that I began in turn to sense *him*. At least, I felt unnerved, though no longer 'attacked'. Sometimes when the feeling grew, I would leave...but other times, I suffered the sensation for increasing periods. I would stand, and look about me, suspicious, then travel some small ways, before waking. My dream woodland was quiet, normally peaceful, yet now haunted by a lurking presence.
It was altogether disturbing.
But even the most disturbing sensation can gain familiarity with time, become less offensive. And so it was with this. Familiarity eventually bred acceptance.
The sense of presence in my dreams had now faded to a consistent background 'hum' on my awareness. I again wandered freely, roaming the woodland, somehow (instinctively) staying away from the thickly inhabited areas of Imladris.
So it was that one day, as I sat cross-legged upon a large boulder that offered a scenic view across one side of the valley, lost as usual in that vague meditative awareness that was my normal dream-state of mind, that something 'tapped' me on the shoulder. As it were. I realized later that there was no such physical 'touch', but at the time I reacted as if there had been. Just one, quick, light 'tap'. I shrieked and promptly pitched face-first forward off the boulder--
I woke, heart thumping...and oddly angry. I'd been frightened...but I was angry in a way I hadn't before felt upon awakening. I felt..betrayed. As if the presence and I had made a 'truce', and now it had broken that.
The next time my dreaming spirit was irresistibly drawn to Middle Earth, and Imladris...I was still angry.
It also turned out that my anger made me even easier to 'sense'. It was an emotion I'd not expressed before in dreams of that place....and now I seethed with it.
It drew Temeril to me like an arrow. I began dimly to sense beyond that vague presence, becoming aware of his unique 'feel' of curiosity and cheerfulness. Irritable at his lurking, I began to lash out at him. Just instinctive bursts of anger, really. But oddly, quite...encouraging to him. Every time we interacted, his belief that I was some creature, perhaps a being in the end not too dissimilar to him, grew.
Impatient youth that he was, he eventually decided to speed up what must have been seemed the agonizingly slow process of discovering what I was. He made an unprecedented leap of elven magical logic in the way that unsupervised youth have been known to do. Much to the chagrin of their elders.
No matter - the deed was done. A certain magical-based ritual for making ones farewells to the spirits of elves departing for the Halls of Mandos was adapted and performed.
As I dreamed that night, I found myself in a clearing, overlaid with that sense of snooping presence. As my irritation rose in a manner now as familiar as that presence had become, the barest whisper of a wordless communication came to me. Had it been words, it'd have said:
Why are you so angry?
In that dream-place, my actions were quick, and natural. The lack of words did not bother me; the meaning had been clear. I replied instantly, in kind:
You won't leave me alone!!
A wave of excitement buffeted me. And back, quickly, still excited yet mixed with a combination of chagrin and longing:
I want to know you!!
I let out a wordless shout of exasperation and dropped to my knees on the sward.
A plea, dripping with entreaty: Please?
Who are you?! I demanded in kind, irritated beyond belief.
Then: WHERE are you?!
HERE! OVER HERE!!
Shocked by the strength of entreaty, I lurched to my feet, and stood swaying, on the verge of fleeing a dream turning rapidly into nightmare. He felt it.
NO! PLEASE! OVER HERE!!
Such was his desperate strength of will that I turned instinctively towards the 'cry', lurched forward. The impression of a hand flung desperately out--
My own hand flew out to meet it--
--and the sensation of heat bursting around me, fire racing over me, my spirit screaming with utter shock as something grabbed my hand and yanked -
And phased me forward fully to his level.
Despite the disturbance created by the ritual, it took them a short while to realize what that surge of magical energy had meant. A little longer, still, to find us, in that glade where Temeril had chosen to work his magic. Even if he hadn't quite intended it that way, his lure. His trap.
And when Glorfindel and several others found us both lying as if dead there on the grass - one young elf and one human female - there was nothing to be done but put us on litters and carry us to the Healers.
~End part 1~