Disclaimer: Legolas isn't mine *sniff*. He's J. R. R. Tolkien's. And so are many other characters in this story, save a few. I own Emmelyn... or does she own me?

Fear.

~~~~~

Chapter 4: The Chosen of Ilúvatar

Emmelyn stared at it, horror dawning upon her. 'No,' she whispered, and jumped at the sound of her own voice; she hadn't realised that she'd spoken aloud.

Yes, it said in response. You are the Ilúvatar's Chosen, are you not?

She thought back. That was what Manwë had called her, on the last day, before she left them. 'I can't be,' she insisted. 'I'm not.'

It seemed to laugh at her. I have been serving Ilúvatar for three Ages now. I think I am more knowledgeable than you, in this matter, at least.

'Why?' she asked. 'How can I be Ilúvatar's heir? I don't even know who I am.' She quietened again. 'Why does Ilúvatar even need an heir?' she mused.

Oh, Ilúvatar is not deathless. Nothing is. Everything good will come to an end eventually.

'But why me?'

You were not born, child. Ilúvatar fashioned you. Why do you think you do not remember your past? You were not meant to know until it was time for you to find out. Now is the time.

'What are you? How do you know this?'

I am many things, child. Fëanor forged me. Varda hallowed me. Manwë blessed me. Ilúvatar took me. Only a true daughter of Ilúvatar can wield me.

'A true daughter of Ilúvatar? You can't mean....'

It laughed again. No, child, the Ilúvatar does not procreate in conventional manners. But nor did he fashion every creature on this planet. He created you with his own lifeblood, as he created the Valar and the Maiar before you, and the Istari; as he created the first Eldar. But there is more to you, for he put into you something special.

'What is it?' Emmelyn asked. She pulled off her cloak.

Behold.

A miniature picture formed on the ruby surface of the Aerysil. Emmelyn leaned closer—it looked to her like Valimar, but a shadow had come over it. Everywhere, elves walked in dread. The thrones of Manwë and Varda where no longer great and glorious. As she watched, Ungoliant dropped into view, followed by a crew of armoured, monstrous spiders. Murder. Mayhem. Chaos. Valimar was destroyed.

The picture disappeared, and the jewel was speaking again. This is what will be, if you do not intervene. You alone have the power to change the future.

Emmelyn bowed her head in acquiescence. 'What must I do?'

The glow of the jewel grew blinding; Emmelyn could feel its elation. Kill Ungoliant! it said. Destroy her, before all is lost. You have seen the destruction that she is planning, witnessed the building of the weapons and armour that is to be used. That is your first task.

'Task?' she echoed.

You are Ilúvatar's heir. This is the beginning.

The jewel cleared suddenly. Hist! The spiders celebrate! Your friend is in danger. Go! Take me with you.

'Legolas!' gasped Emmelyn in fear. She picked up the Aerysil—it felt warm to her touch—and ran back out, drawing the web of magic back over her shoulders.

She emerged back into the main cavern in time to see a gathering of spiders. Legolas had been tied in the centre of it to a post. Ungoliant was interrogating him. Emmelyn could not hear what they were saying.

Suddenly, the spiders collectively began to chant, 'burn! Burn! Burn!' Emmelyn paled. This couldn't have been a good sign.

Indeed, it was not. A drone spider showed up merely a moment later, carrying a torch in its pincers. The spiders burst into guttural cheers. Anticipation was heavy in the air; the spiders were fairly clambering with it, fighting to find a good view.

In the midst of it all, Legolas sat, tied to a post amid piles of dry wood. Emmelyn watched in horror. They're going to burn him! she thought.

The drone was drawing nearer now, ever so slowly. Cheers grew louder.

Emmelyn screamed.

At once, the drone halted and the spiders froze simultaneously. Heads turned to where Emmelyn stood under her web of disguise.

The screams grew in a crescendo, rose in pitch until it was so high and shrill that the spiders cowered into each other. Magic, raw and uncensored, channelled forth into the air; the spiders clutched at their heads. Beneath Emmelyn's shriek, a low voice emerged, growing steadily—Legolas had sat up.

I am the Angel of Music!

Come to your Angel of Music!

I am here, I am here, monsieur,

The Angel of Death!

The scream cut off abruptly. In the ringing silence that followed, the spiders writhed on the ground. Emmelyn started at once, taking advantage of this temporary respite. She jumped over the spiders and skidded to Legolas. With a deftness that she did not know that she possessed, Emmelyn sliced through the ropes bonding Legolas. They scrambled for the exit.

They were halfway to the cave opening when the rumble began behind them. The spiders were recovering. A roar sounded. 'Get them! Get them both!' It was Ungoliant.

'Quick! Through the trees!' said Legolas. They emerged into the forest; spiders were climbing down from their hiding places in the trees. Without warning, a black widow fell to the ground before Legolas and Emmelyn, hissing and spitting. A scream of rage and unbridled power tore from Emmelyn's throat; the spider was dead instantly. Beside Emmelyn, Legolas laid low a tarantula. They ran on and emerged at the Syrilamin, the spiders milling just behind.

Emmelyn halted and turned to face the spiders. 'Quick! Don't look back!' said Legolas, pulling at her arm urgently.

'

No,' she said, her voice unnaturally calm. Legolas turned and look at her.

As if in a dream, Emmelyn raised the hand that held the Aerysil into a warding movement in front of her.

'Val-Ilúva varlye! Entule dáe!' she intoned.

A white fire spilt forth from the jewel's centre. It swept through the ranks of spiders before Emmelyn and left in its wake severed limbs and broken shells. The silence of the forest broke with screams of pain, rage, and frustration. When the fire had travelled its course, it dissipated into the air.

Emmelyn stood, aghast at the destruction before her. Behind her, Legolas stared. 'Whoa! Dude!' he said. 'This is just like True Lies!'

Emmelyn raised an eyebrow at him.

'Sorry,' he mumbled. 'Orlando moment there.'

'Don't let it happen again. We can't afford a moment of stupidity.'

'It won't.'

They turned and splashed down the Syrilamin. For six hours they ran, until the Sun was but a sliver over the horizon, and Emmelyn fairly collapsed in exhaustion—the magic of the Aerysil draws energy from the wielder.

'We cannot go any further,' said Legolas.

'But we can't stop!' said Emmelyn weakly. 'They'll catch up to us!'

'Hist!' said Legolas suddenly. 'Look!' He pointed ahead. Shining through the trees was a pure light that brought with it memories of days from long past.

'Horses!'

They jumped on to the white steeds and broke into a gallop. For two nights and two days they rode through the forest, following the river.

When at last they broke through the tree line, Emmelyn almost fell off of her horse in relief. They would be safe now—the spiders wouldn't leave the valley. She jumped from her horse; Legolas did the same a moment later. They watched the white horses gallop away.

'How do you suppose those horses were there just when we needed them?' Legolas asked.

'Plot device,' Emmelyn said. 'The author was too lazy to contrive a more realistic method for us to escape. But don't ask any more questions.'

'Ah. I see.'

~*~

They were received quite warmly back into the city. Manwë and Varda met them at the gates.

'I see that you have retrieved the Aerysil,' Manwë said gruffly. 'But you did not do it alone.' He looked at Emmelyn. 'Thus, the quest is only half completed.'

'No!' said Emmelyn. 'You can't—he fought! He—'

But Manwë only smiled and said, 'Peace, child, I was not yet done. You must allow me to speak.'

He stood and came nearer to lay his hands upon their shoulders. 'You disobeyed me. I gave the quest to you in hopes of helping you and proving the worthiness of this match to Ilúvatar. It was a sound plan, except for one little problem.

'The greatest thing in this world is to love and be loved in return—before you say anything, I said this long before Baz Luhrman did. Love is a representation of all that is great and eternal in this world. To deny love in the name of Ilúvatar is sacrilege, for Ilúvatar is love. Therefore, if neither of you have objections now, you must come with me to be cleaned up; you both have a wedding to prepare for.' He turned and swept back into the palace.

Emmelyn and Legolas looked at each other, hardly daring to believe their ears. Then, as one, they laughed and ran after Manwë into the palace to be wed.

All of Valimar celebrated that day, as the chosen one and her prince were wedded in the great courtyard. Food, wine, and song were abound; at one point, a minstrel came to them to sing of their journey to find the Aerysil. Beautiful elf maidens danced and twirled, and Emmelyn, the fairest of them all, sat at the centre with her Legolas.

The festivities continued long into the night, until the sky was a patch of black, littered with stars. Eärendil looked down again at the elven maiden, and smiled.

~~~~~

A/N: Squee! The Aerysil is finished! Feedback and con crit are very, very welcome.

Tune in again in six months as Legolas and Emmelyn (and Ungoliant) return in The Syrilamin, the second novella in the Time of Burning trilogy. Six months—no joke, I'll be uploading it around December.

In the mean time, I'll be putting up an ickle snippet.

Reference:

A Dream Within A Dream was the title of a Poe poem.

'An elven maid there was of old...' from Lothlórien, The Fellowship of the Ring.

'Wishing you were somehow here again...' from a song of the title, on the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Richard Stilgoe.

'No more talk of darkness...' from All I Ask of You, on the Phantom of the Opera soundtrack.

'The greatest thing is to love and be loved in return' from Moulin Rouge (2001).

Baz Luhrman is a director, and True Lies is a another film. Any more questions?