AUTHOR'S NOTE: I have noticed that some LOTR fanfic readers are so much more finicky and brutally critical than the readers of other fanfics. (Quite understandable since *hello*, it's Tolkien's work we're messing with!) Since the last thing I want is to upset a whole horde of LOTR devotees, I guess I should just give due warning right now of what there is to expect in this fanfic: (1) yes, my OC somewhat a Mary-Sue (which, by the way, I see nothing wrong with), but don't hate her just yet-she's unique in her own ways. She's not meant to be my alter-ego-heck, I hardly consider myself elf material. I merely think that an elf as perfect as Legolas deserves an equally perfect mate; (2) the plot is nothing spectacular or extremely original; I know most are sick of flawless little heroines joining the Fellowship or love stories between OCs and Canon characters, but sorry-that's exactly what I feel like putting here. I invite you to just give it a shot anyway. Stereotypes can be interesting sometimes, in their own laid back and fluffy kind of way; (3) I will be twisting around the "Fellowship of the Ring" movie plot here, so if you think I should be condemned for such sacrilege, please don't bother with this. I'm not a huge expert on LOTR genealogy, elvish language or Middle- Earth, so please just leave to author's license any revisions or mistakes I may make. I am just a writer having fun here-I'm not out to prove myself as a great author or make any literary achievements. I'm just doing this writing job for the happiness and satisfaction of Legolas/ LOTR fans. If I want criticism, I'll get some from my English teacher. As much as possible, NO FLAMES, please. I know negative comments are meant to be helpful, but personally they just kill my appetite for writing, and I do want to finish this story. So. . . if you so far feel like this will be the sort of fic that will just make you want to wring my neck, I would very much rather you just not read it at all. On the other hand, friendly supporters and not so fussy LOTR fans are most welcome to move on and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I really appreciate reviews for every new chapter. Thanks! ;p

SUMMARY: Armir, Elrond's granddaughter and the treasured favorite of her people, is sent to accompany the Fellowship on their journey. A being of pure goodness and innocence, she is the one companion who can help Frodo fight the growing temptations of the Ring. Legolas, who was assigned to be her protector, is captivated by Armir and she by him, yet both parties are warned against falling in love. Emotional attachments involving the elf- princess are said to only result in pain. As the quest continues their feelings for one another deepen to levels they can no longer suppress. At the same time, Armir suffers greatly from the burden of her duties and the pain caused by hardships faced by the Fellowship. Soon it becomes clear that the elf-princess has an ill-starred destiny in store for her-one that even Legolas cannot stop from severely taking its toll upon her life. Will their love be able to endure even against merciless fate?


Chapter One - Meetings

Legolas gently patted the smooth neck of his beautiful white horse, Arista, and whispered soothingly to the magnificent creature.

"I am sorry I cannot take you along with us, my friend." the young prince said, his words coming out in his native Elvish tongue. "I am afraid this is a journey I must face without your company for once."

Arista neighed softy and nudged Legolas' hand, showing his concern about his master's safety.

Legolas chucked and rubbed the horse's snout affectionately. "I shall be all right." he assured him. "My companions in the Fellowship are trustworthy folk. We will watch out for each other."

The elf then turned to his attendant, Glaucus, and handed over Arista's reigns.

"Make sure he is well cared for in my absence." Legolas instructed. "I do not know when I shall see home again, but likely it will not be for a very long time." He drew a rolled up piece of parchment from his clock and gave it to the young servant. "Upon your return, deliver this letter to my father. It shall explain everything to him."

Glaucus bowed his head meekly. "It shall be done, your Highness."

Legolas smiled kindly and placed a hand on his loyal squire's shoulder. He could sense the boy's unease, his anxiety about leaving him. "It will be all right, Glaucus. The King will understand why I must go with the Fellowship. He, of all people, will realize the importance of this mission."

Glaucus shook his head. "That is not what I fear, my Lord." he replied. "I worry about your safety. Our kingdom will be at a great loss should anything happen to you."

Legolas was silent for a moment. He wished he could give his young friend further reassurance, but he himself did not feel any real security when it came to this dangerous quest he was about to embark on. All he was sure of was that he had to go-he could hear a voice in his heart calling him to duty. He knew he had a lot to contribute to the Fellowship, and somewhere along the way he was certain they will be needing his services one way or the other. For many long years Legolas had been searching for his destiny, a task that would place some meaning in his life. The moment that little Hobbit stepped forward and offered to make the journey to Mordor and destroy the ring, he knew he had found just what he had been seeking.

At last, the prince gave Glaucus' shoulder a firm squeeze. "One day, young one, you too will learn this lesson; that sometimes we have no choice but to sacrifice much for the sake of a greater good. The greater good always comes first. Remember that, if nothing else."

A few minutes later, the Prince of Mirkwood watched as a band of elves, his kinfolk, mounted their horses and galloped through the gates leading out of Rivendell. He stood in silence till they were gone from his sight, mere specks slowly vanishing into the morning horizon. With a submissive sigh, Legolas turned around and began to walk back to the small chalet Lord Elrond had provided for him to house in during his stay. It was time for him to get ready for the journey-they would be leaving soon in a few hours.

As Legolas strode down the path going through the lush green woods, he could not help but marvel once more at the beauty of Rivendell. He loved his own fatherland, Mirkwood, dearly, but nothing back home could compare to the magnificence his eyes feasted on every time he visited this place. He breathed in the sweet, honeysuckle scented air and closed his eyes briefly, enjoying the touch of the early sun's warm rays upon his face. The tranquility of the surroundings was everything a peace-loving elf could ever wish for.

Just then, the prince's sharp ears picked up on a sound that broke through the stillness. It was the motion of feet, so light and so soft a less astute elf would never have been able to perceive it. He ran his gaze all around him, knowing that whoever or whatever made the sound was somewhere close by. His eyes caught sight of a flash of white amidst the neighboring trees.

Moving swiftly, Legolas darted forward in the direction of the sighting. The creature had vanished. He overheard yet again the sound of light footsteps against the soft grass, fading as if going away from him. He broke into a run and pursued, relying only on his ears to guide him to the right way.

* * *

A pair of sapphire eyes sparked as they observed the handsome Elven stranger surveying his environment. He had chased her through the forest for a while before she had managed to scramble up a tree out of sight; now it seemed as if he no longer had any idea of where she had gone. She had succeeded in losing him.

The elf maiden smiled to herself and continued to watch her pursuer as he searched for her in vain behind the surrounding bushes and trees. She had been seeing him around her home for some days now, and she could not help but grow curious as to who he was. She had been secretly sneaking out to spy on him, hungry for the mere sight of his beautiful face and uncaring of the chastisement she would surely receive if she was ever found out. Something about this mysterious visitor simply fascinated her, and though she was normally terrified of unfamiliar people, she wanted nothing more than to be near him.

However, she also didn't want to be seen by him. It would be better to just admire him from a distance, and avoid his knowing she was there. When he had caught a glimpse of her and began the chase, she had been afraid that her cover was blown for good. Fortunately, he was not as sharp as she had previously thought and she was able to throw him off her track.

She had to wait for a few more minutes before the elf finally moved on and walked out of sight, disappearing through the trees as he continued his search elsewhere. The maiden let out noiseless sigh of relief. Then, moving as gracefully and skillfully as a cat, she climbed down the tree and back to the ground. She brushed off some dirt on the skirt of her dress and pulled a stray leaf out of her long raven hair. So much for fun and games; now she needed to get back home before her grandfather found out she was off wandering again.

She barely made a few steps forward before a strong but gentle hand grabbed her forearm, causing her to gasp and whirl around in alarm.

* * *

Legolas smiled as he stared down at the face of his captive. "You are a hard one to catch, my lady." he said with an amused tone in his voice. "Had you stayed in your hiding place but a bit longer I never would have found you."

The girl stood frozen in her spot, staring back at him through large, frightened eyes. The fear on her innocent face stuck shame into Legolas' soul. How could he even think of scaring such a lovely, delicate creature?

"Please forgive me. I did not mean to frighten you, nor do I intend any harm upon you." Legolas said quickly. "I merely wish to know who you are."

To prove himself, he released her arm. In an instant the maiden turned and began to run away from him.

"No wait, please!" Legolas called out quickly and desperately. "A name. That is all I ask."

Much to his delight, the unknown girl stopped in her tracks as soon as she heard his plea. Slowly, she turned back around to face him. Still she kept silent. She just stood there, looking at him with those entrancing eyes.

The pause gave Legolas the opportunity to finally get a good look at her, and his breath was immediately taken away at the vision. The maiden was by far the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes upon, be it from the race of man or elf. Her radiant skin was as white as snow and soft as petals, and her lips were as red and luscious as cherries. Her ebony hair cascaded like silk water down her back to her waist, a few errant locks framing her face. Her deep blue eyes, framed beneath thick lashes, gazed at him with an innocence and purity that made his heart cry out in admiration. For a long moment, the Elven prince could only stand still and wonder if this enchantress could actually be one of the Valar in earthly disguise.

Once he had recovered the use of his limbs, Legolas stepped forward slowly, approaching her as carefully as one would a timid doe.

"I am Legolas Greenleaf, from the Woodland Realm." he said softy and almost coaxingly. "I am no rogue. There is no need for you to have any fear of me."

The maiden's brow creased as she regarded him with interest. "You are a Prince of Mirkwood?" she murmured. Legolas' heart skipped a beat. Her voice was as lovely as her face.

He nodded. "Yes. You have heard of me?" He was a mere few steps away from her. He stopped his advances, not willing to take the risk of scaring her away again.

She granted him a tender smile that made his spirit sing. "Not quite, but I do know that only a prince could have manners as fine as yours." she answered, her eyes dancing with laughter. "It is an honor to meet you, your Highness."

"The pleasure is all mine." Legolas replied, smiling in return. His gaze caught and held hers as his face pleaded to her. "Will you now then tell me your name?"

The maiden lowered her eyes chastely. "I am afraid I cannot, my Lord." she answered apologetically. "I am not permitted to reveal myself to any man I have not been acquainted with."

Of course. She must come from a noble family, Legolas realized, as he recognized the strict custom.

"Then perhaps I may be so bold as to change that." the prince said courteously. "Would you consent to my walking with you?"

The girl stared at the hand he was offering her. After a brief moment of hesitation, she laid her elegant hand upon his fingers, and allowed him to lead her down the weathered path through the forest.

* * *

Gandalf stared thoughtfully at the elf seated across him, still trying to process what had just been said. That morning Lord Elrond had called a special meeting with him and Aragorn to discuss an idea the Elven king had regarding the Fellowship of the Ring, which was scheduled to depart for their journey some time that afternoon. After hearing out what Elrond had to suggest, the wizard now had to take a moment to consider if the proposal was something he was willing to agree with.

Noting the silence and the doubt on the old man's face, Elrond continued speaking. "I do realize that this may seem like an odd and almost absurd request, but you must trust me Gandalf. I believe it would be in the best interest not only of Frodo Baggins, but of the entire Fellowship."

Gandalf sighed and leaned back in his chair, rubbing his chin wearily. "And what of the girl? Do you feel it would be in her best interest too?"

"Armir will do what must be done. She is loyal to her people and to her duties." Elrond said firmly. "She shall have no objections to leaving."

"Is it really necessary though?" Gandalf mused. "Is it not enough that Frodo has the other Hobbits to keep him company? He has made it this far without much difficulty. Surely with Aragorn and the rest of the Fellowship present. . ."

Elrond shook his head. "I mean offense to none of the companions, but I strongly feel that Armir is needed as a tenth escort for Frodo's safety. She is purer than any earthly creature conceivable. We can trust that she will be able to help him withstand the Ring's temptation better than anyone will."

Aragorn frowned. "But my Lord, the road will surely be long and unkind." he pointed out. "Lady Armir is not accustomed to such peril and hardship. Even if we will be there to guide and protect her, is she truly prepared to face all of that? Are you prepared to let her?"

"Armir is much stronger than she seems, Aragorn; you know that. Though it has not yet been put to the test, you can trust that she has the strength of her father. She will be all right." Elrond sighed and closed his eyes momentarily, traces of sorrow appearing on his face. "As for myself, I cannot deny my wish for another choice, but I know I have none. I love my granddaughter, but the Ring Bearer is in greater need of her than I." He looked at the two men resolutely. "For this mission, I am ready to make even the greatest of sacrifices."

The pain Gandalf saw etched on the mighty elf-lord's face was enough to touch his heart and convince him. Offering Elrond a comforting smile, the old man rose to his feet.

"Very well then." he said slowly, turning to Aragorn who nodded his own consent. "Take us to meet her, and we can be on our way."

* * *

Meanwhile, the Prince of Mirkwood was still taking his leisurely stroll through the woods of Rivendell in the company of the mystery girl who was fascinating him more and more with each moment he spent in her presence.

"Well, my lady," Legolas said, smiling gently at the beautiful companion walking at his side. "I have disclosed much about myself to you, more than I usually would be willing to tell anyone I have just met." He stopped in his tracks and faced her. "Surely my candidness can earn me at least the privilege of knowing your name."

The elf-maiden returned his smile, her shimmering eyes mesmerizing him completely. "Legolas," she protested, tilting her graceful head to one side as she stared up at his handsome form. "Why are you so determined to discover my name? Who am I to merit the attention of a fine prince such as yourself? I am but a simple girl."

"As I am a simple elf." Legolas returned. "An elf who simply seeks the identity of the lovely maiden who has charmed him so quickly and so well."

She laughed melodiously and shook her head, her long tresses swishing smoothly across her shoulders. "You flatter me too much, dear prince. I must admit I have never met anyone so persistent in his interest in me before." she murmured. Legolas noticed a slight blush coloring her soft cheeks before she turned away from him.

The prince's eyes gleamed with warmth. He stepped forward and was at once engulfed in her radiance. From a few inches away he could already sense her goodness, her purity, the beauty of her heart in his soul. His gaze regarded her with veneration and wonder. He reached out and gently took her by the shoulders, turning her back around to face him. One warm hand went to her cheek, caressing it ever so tenderly and reverently.

"How could I not persist?" he whispered. "Never before have I come across anyone who has made my spirit sing this way."

His hand stopped beneath her delicate chin. "Mani naa essa en lle?" (What is your name?) he asked one last time.

The girl stared back at Legolas, her heart standing still as his intense gaze penetrated her soul. She felt trapped by his aura- she could not move, could not seem to breathe. All of a sudden it seemed that all she wanted was to be held by him, to be taken into his embrace never to part from it.

"My lord, I. . . I cannot. . . " she whispered helplessly, sensing herself weakening. She saw the handsome elf's stare shift from her eyes to her lips.

"Legolas? Legolas!"

Aragorn's call broke through the tense silence between the two elves. Immediately Legolas released the girl and moved away from her. At that same moment, three men stepped out from the trees into the clearing where they stood. It was Lord Elrond, Gandalf, and Aragorn.

"Armir?" Elrond said in confusion, looking directly at the elf- maiden. His eyes grew stern. "Mankoi naa lle sinome?" (Why are you here?)

"Amin hiraetha, Minyaatar." (I am sorry, grandfather.) Armir said meekly, bowing her head. "I had been walking through the woods this morning, and I came across Prince Legolas." Her eyes darted back to the Mirkwood elf briefly. "We have just been getting acquainted."

Legolas stepped forward. "It is as she says, my lord." he assured Elrond. "We have been sharing stories all morning. I have yet to be granted, however, the pleasure of knowing her name. I find she is quite unyielding when it comes to social customs."

Elrond nodded. "Very well then. Gentlemen, allow me to present to you Armir of Rivendell, daughter of my son Elladan and hence my only grandchild." he introduced with a sweep of his arm. He went on to gesture to the other men with him. "Armir, this is Gandalf the Grey, and of course you already know Aragorn and have met Legolas, son of Thranduil."

Armir granted them her beautiful smile and a graceful curtsy. "Saesa omentien lle" (It is a pleasure meeting you.)

Gandalf smiled kindly at the young elf maiden. "The joy is mine, dear princess."

Aragorn stepped forward and took Armir's hand. "Nae saian luume, Arwenamin." (It has been too long, my lady.) he told her sincerely, kissing her fingertips lightly.

"It is so good to see you again, Aragorn." Armir responded, embracing her childhood friend.

At last she came back to Legolas. For a brief moment she could only look at him in silence, not quite sure of what to say and where they stood now that he knew exactly who she was.

The elf bowed low to her his eyes twinkling. "That was not so difficult, was it?" he whispered to her as he bowed low, taking her hand and kissing it as Aragorn had done. "Now that we have been properly introduced, I am fulfilled."

Armir blushed, somewhat uncomfortable with the way his kiss, though chaste, made her feel. "You have what you want my prince, but it is just a name." she murmured shyly. "Where would it lead you?"

Legolas' charming smile grew wider. "That is only for time to reveal, Lady Armir. But it is a mere start, I assure you."

"Now that the formalities are done with, I suppose it is time to inform Legolas about the change of plans." Elrond said, abruptly cutting through the two elves' private conversation.

"What change?" Legolas inquired curiously as he moved away from Armir to stand next to Aragorn.

"Armir is going to join us on our quest." Gandalf informed him. "She is to be the tenth companion."

Legolas looked at them with a start. "You mean this?" he asked in incredulity.

Elrond nodded. "It has been decided just today." he affirmed. "She will serve as the Ring Bearer's special guardian and supporter throughout the journey to Mordor." He turned to his granddaughter and regarded her closely. "I know we have already discussed this, Armir, yet I ask you once again. Do you feel you are prepared to face this quest? Do you give yourself to the Fellowship with a free heart?"

Armir gazed back at her grandfather bravely and resolutely. "Yes my Lord. I do." she said, her voice suddenly coming out strong.

Elrond gave her a smile that looked proud and sad at the same time. "So be it. You shall leave this afternoon." he said with a nod. "Lord Aragorn will help you get ready for departure."

As Legolas listened to all these things he remained in stunned silence. Armir was joining the Fellowship! He felt torn between overflowing joy and sudden concern. He had been dreading having to leave his newly discovered heart's interest when they began the journey to Mordor. Now, he is told that she would be going with them. As much as he found delight at the thought of being in the elf princess' company, he also had great apprehension for her safety. She was everything beautiful and kind and pure-she was no warrior. How could she possibly be able to withstand the horrors and pain this voyage would surely involve? What role could she possibly have to fulfill that Lord Elrond was willing to risk her life for?

Just then, his thoughts were cut short as he realized Lord Elrond was now addressing him.

"Legolas. While Gandalf and Aragorn help Armir prepare herself, perhaps you and I can talk. It seems there is much that has to be explained to you." the elf-lord said, placing a strong hand upon the prince's shoulder.

Breaking out of his trance, Legolas nodded his head. "As you wish, my Lord."

As he began to follow Elrond, Legolas paused to glance back at Armir, who was similarly being led away by Aragorn. At that same moment Armir turned her head to look at him, and their gazes crossed paths. For a second he saw a flash of doubt and fear appear behind the strength of her eyes. Then she smiled, and it was gone. Legolas managed to return her smile before she looked away.

The smile on his face faded as he watched her retreating back. Something was amiss-- he could feel it. But whatever happened, the elf knew that he was never going to allow anything to happen to his newfound friend. Not while he was there with her.

* * *

COMING UP. . . Chapter 2 - Departure

NOTE: For those who still can't understand what Armir's significance to the Ring Bearer is, be patient-it will be fully shown in the next two chapters. Thank you for reading! Pls. take time to review. . .