Mysterious Fate

Written by Cormak

Disclaimer: The original characters from Lord of the Rings belong to their respective owners. New characters belong to me, especially Kaitlyn. This story was written for fan enjoyment and not profit.

Author's Note: (Please bear with me, it's a little long!)

This is my first LOTR story. It is a 10th walker story, which means that an extra character has joined the Fellowship on their journey. It also contains an OC (original character) as a main character and one whom does fall in love with one of the characters from canon. I have tried my best to write this OC as a well balanced character who is not a Mary Sue or a cardboard cutout. However, everyone's opinion of what a Mary Sue is, differs.

This story is based on the movies more than the books due to the fact that I've not read the books in a long time. I am re-reading them and I apologize if anything seems wrong or missing. I have done research, but I am not perfect and may have written some things incorrectly.

I have decided to avoid confusion by having my OC able to communicate with the peoples of Middle Earth through a common language. I am very well aware that English and Westron are not the same thing. Westron is dubbed a common language in Middle Earth and English often can be dubbed this as well and that is the only similarity between the two. My OC cannot speak anything but English, though she does learn some of a language in this story.

You will not read much about Frodo or Sam or a great deal of the Ring in this story. While you will see and read familiar scenes and dialog, I did not want to overload my story with what most who have read the books or have seen the movies already know. This story is an Action/Romance and revolves around certain characters and not the fate of the ring.

This story was a challenge to myself. I enjoy well written 10th walker stories and I also enjoy tastefully written LOTR romances. It was my challenge to write one of these, while trying to keep my OC balanced and not a Mary Sue. I also wanted my OC to be from a modern time as I often enjoy stories that include a character from our time that is struggling to survive in a world so different from our own.

If any of the above offends you, I bid you not to read this story. I am aware that there are Tolkien purists out there and that they frown upon stories of this nature. Please do not read this if you cannot accept anything but true canon. I gratefully accept comments and constructive criticism. I do not accept insults with no good reason, often labeled as flames. They will be ignored.

And with that said and done, please enjoy the story…

Special thanks to my beta Scattered Logic for listening to ideas and helping me to figure out where this story was going. Also special thanks to The Hooded Crow, Illowy, Lorelei and Addie for their comments regarding this story.

Chapter 1: Stranger from another Realm…

The light that shone from Gandalf's staff lit the dark dusty caves of Moria. The debris from the entrance to the mines still clung to everyone's throats, making it difficult to breathe.

The Grey wizard gave a sigh. He wore long grey robes and had a long light grey beard and moustache. "We now have but one choice. We must face the long dark of Moria." He brought light to the pitch-blackness of Moria as he began to walk deeper into the caverns. "Be on your guard. There are older and fouler things than orcs in the deep places of the world."

The hobbits, short in nature, with large feet and large hearts, walked close together. Legolas, the tall fair Elf from the distant Forest of Mirkwood, walked in front of them, his keen eyes and ears ready to detect the slightest movement or sound. Aragorn and Boromir, both mortal men, brought up the rear of the group, dripping wet and breathing heavily from their fight with the monster that had sought to kill Frodo.

They began to climb the stairs, with Gandalf in the lead. "Quietly now." He ordered. "It's a four day journey to the other side. Let us hope that our presence goes unnoticed."

The fellowship traveled for the length of a day, until Gandalf realizing that all needed a rest, stopped the group along a wide passage that lead deeper into the mines. Everyone had been quiet; especially Gimli who was still trying to cope with the fact that many of his people had been slain by orcs. They had seen none alive as they had traveled.

While the hobbits huddled together attempting to get whatever sleep they could, Legolas stood at the outskirts of the group, his eyes searching the surrounding area.

Aragorn stepped up beside him. "What is it?" he asked his voice low.

The Elf continued to concentrate, his eyes and ears discovering clues as to what was happening. "Something approaches, though I do not believe it to be orcs," The Elf said. He gazed at dark haired mortal man for a moment before casting his eyes back to the cave. "The footsteps are too light. It may be one creature, maybe two."

Legolas tensed suddenly, his body becoming rigid and the muscles in his jaw tensed. He quickly readied his bow, fitting it with an arrow.

Aragorn nodded and drew his sword. He could hear the footsteps now. They were light, slow and timid. "Whatever it is must be drawn to the light." Aragorn suggested glancing at Gandalf's staff.

The wizard was watching the two warriors from where he sat smoking his pipe. He was frowning.

The hobbits were awake now and they sat in front of Gandalf and Boromir, their eyes wide.

Something was emerging from the shadows.

"Perhaps we should scare it off." Aragorn whispered to Legolas.

The Elf fired his arrow and it sped past the shadowy figure, hitting the wall and bouncing off the stone.

There was a startled cry and the sound of footfall rushing in the opposite direction.

"That didn't sound like an orc." Pippin stated.

Merry stood. The light haired hobbit's warm dark eyes were wide with disbelief. "It sounded like a woman."

Legolas and Aragorn had already figured that out and they were sprinting after the intruder. They did not have to travel far. The figure had run into a dead end.

Gandalf was with them now and he had his staff, the light illuminating the cavern but not reaching the figure that was breathing heavily at the end.

"Step from the shadows so that we may see you," Gandalf commanded.

The figure did not move, except to hover against the cavern walls.

"We will not harm you," he said a bit more gently.

Legolas, with his keen eyes could see the figure hesitantly rising from where they were.

Light footsteps hesitantly grew near and Aragorn readied his weapon. The Elf did not draw his. He stood completely still, watching and waiting.

The figure drew back seeing Aragorn holding his sword up.

"Lower your weapon, Aragorn," Gandalf commanded.

The Ranger frowned at the request but did as he was instructed.

"You have nothing to fear from us. Forgive us for our precautions." The Wizard rested against his staff, which still was the main source of illumination in the caves. "Step forth so that we may see you."

There was a few moments of silence and hesitation. After what felt like hours and was only a few minutes, the sound of rock and dirt beneath shoes was heard. A woman entered the light and stood clutching a bag to her chest. Her eyes were wide with fear.

The hobbits, Boromir and Gimli approached as she came slowly came forth into the light.

She eyed them warily, her dark eyebrows drawn defensively over bright green eyes that flashed with fear and then strength. She squinted, trying to make out whom or what they were in the darkness.

"It's a woman." Pippin stated the obvious, his eyes wide. Merry only nodded as his eyes drifted over her form.

She was dressed in strange clothing. Loose fitting black pants with 2 white strips down the legs, she wore a hooded cloak but it was unlike one he had ever seen before. It had cords at the hood and a pouch in the front. She clutched a green pack to her chest. She had long dark hair that was pulled back from her face and bright green eyes. She was young in appearance and could not have been more than 30 years old. She was pretty in nature, but she was not outstanding in beauty. Dirt marred her features and clothing.

"Aye lad, and what would a woman be doing hiding in the shadows? She must be one of Saruman's spies," Gimli accused.

"I'm not a spy. " The woman said, her voice firm. Her posture had straightened when she had spoken and she tried to appear brave, but Legolas knew better. He could sense her fear.

"Then what are you doing here? This is a dangerous place," Gimli told her. The Dwarf did not like the idea of some unknown being traveling in Moria. His dead kin rested here and deserved to be left in peace after their misfortune.

She eyed him warily. Despite how short he was, he appeared to be a force to be reckoned with. He had a long bushy beard and equally as bushy eyebrows that were drawn over brown eyes. He was dressed in armor made of metal and leather that covered his entire body and wore a helmet that covered his head and ears. He carried an ax in his hand, and wore one on his back and a smaller one on his belt.

"Quite dangerous." Gandalf said rubbing his chin and looking at the woman.

The woman jumped slightly and turned away from the short man with the bushy beard to gaze at the wizard who had just spoken.

Legolas glanced at Gandalf. The wizard seemed calm. He stood leaning against his staff stroking his beard.

The woman began to gaze upon the men. Their was a tall blond man closest to her and she stared at him intently. He was pleasant to look at, with his fair face, hair and eyes. He was dressed in muted shades of green and wore a quiver with arrows on his back. In his hand he held a bow stained a dark brown with strange gold inscriptions on it. Her eyes widened as she noticed something strange about him.

Legolas tilted his head, wondering what she was gazing at.

"Your ears…," she frowned and her brows became knit with confusion.

"I am an Elf," he told her softly.

She stepped back, suddenly uneasy, which caused the Elf to frown.

Her stomach lurched and she felt ill. "This can't be happening," she whispered in disbelief.

"What is she?" Sam asked, his brows low over his eyes. "She dresses really strange."

The woman gazed at him, taking in his appearance. This man was shorter than the one with the bushy beard. He was plump, had light curly hair and hazel eyes. She noticed that he was barefoot, as were three others in the group, and his feet were large and hairy.

"She is mortal, human like Aragorn and Boromir." Gandalf told Sam. The wizard watched as the woman looked over each of his companions. "She wears strange garb because she is not of this realm or time."

The woman looked up at the wizard, her eyes wide and her inspection of Sam was finished. "Oh, this isn't happening…This is just too weird..." She stepped back further shaking her head from side to side in denial. Her heart was pounding in her chest.

"How long have you been following us?" Aragorn questioned, ignoring her words. The Ranger seemed as uneasy as the woman did.

She looked at the man who spoke. He had dark wavy hair, looked as if he had not shaved in weeks and wore dark clothing. There was a sword on his belt and he wore a small bow and quiver on his back.

Perhaps this was just a realistic dream. Maybe if she went along with them, the dream would come to a conclusion faster, she reasoned.

"I haven't been following you. I thought I was the only one here. The only living one here," she added casting a look around the cavern.

Gimli lowered his head in sorrow at the reminder.

Aragorn looked at her intensely, his blue eyes bright with curiosity, but his voice was harsh. "How did you get into the mines?"

"I don't know how I got here. I don't even know where here is." The woman hated that her voice shook.

"You are in Moria, once home to the Dwarf lords." Gandalf told her.

"Did you just say Dwarf lords?" She gave an uneasy laugh. "Right and this guy over here is Mr. Spock's cousin." She threw a glance at Legolas who frowned at her.

"Tell us how you entered. The doorway was closed." Gandalf commanded calmly.

"I didn't come in through the door…" the woman said, her voice beginning to sound irritated.

"Then how?" Boromir asked, suspicion in his tone. "Women to do not just appear in the middle of the Mines of Moria. Unless you are some sort of witch and used magic."

The woman glanced at the man who had spoken. He had light hair that fell to just past his chin and he also wore armor. "Me a witch?" The woman looked to be in disbelief. Then she laughed heartily. " A witch…That's a good one."

Boromir grimaced in anger.

"This is not a laughing matter." Aragorn told her. "These mines are a dangerous place. Tell us how you came here. Are you a sorceress?"

The woman felt uneasy again. This "dream" was beginning to feel real. She sighed. "I'm not a sorceress or a witch. I don't have any magic. All I know is that I went walking in the woods by my home and rested by the waterfall like I always do. I dozed off and had a strange dream where someone spoke to me."

Gandalf looked at her thoughtfully. "Someone spoke to you?"

She turned to look at the older man. "Yes, a woman, though I don't remember what she said. Then I woke up I was in this cave. It's freezing, it's very quiet and there are dead things everywhere." She shuddered remembering the skeletons she had seen.

"I tried to find my way out but I had no idea where I was going," she continued. "Then I saw light and went toward it, hoping it was a way out only to have arrows shot at me." She glared at the Elf.

"We did not know what approached." Legolas told her.

"You didn't have to shoot at me. I'm unarmed. I have no weapons." She shot back at him.

"How were we to know that?" Aragorn asked, coming to Legolas' defense.

"How long have you been here?" Gandalf asked, his tone quiet and calm.

"I have no idea," the woman said, sounding annoyed. She pulled her pack onto her shoulder and crossed her arms over her chest.

"How long do you think?" Boromir questioned sarcastically.

"2 days, maybe 3," she answered, her tone just as biting.

The hobbits began to whisper amongst themselves.

"I've had enough now. Can't I please wake up?" she asked in bitter frustration.

Gandalf frowned. "You are awake."

"No," she shook her head. "I have to be dreaming. I must be dreaming."

"Why do you say that?" Frodo asked. He had been very quiet until now. This woman intrigued him and also frightened him.

"Because this sort of thing is impossible. I saw dead dwarves as I traveled. Dwarves are not real and neither are Elves," she said and she shot a troubled look at Legolas.

The Elf made no action and continued to stand as he had been all along, with his hands by his sides.

"They belong in fantasy books and movies," the woman explained fervently. "Yet here I am speaking to them as if they were real."

"Ye may not believe that Dwarves and Elves are real, but what about hobbits?" Pippin asked with hope in his voice. His brows were raised and he was smiling.

The woman looked at the little man who had spoken. His light blue eyes were full of hope. "I'm sorry, but I've never heard of a hobbit before," she told him. She felt regret when her answer caused him to frown.

"Child folk or halflings they sometimes call us. Are you certain you haven't heard of us?" Merry inquired.

The woman gazed at this man as well. He was another short man with large hairy feet. She shook her head, her dark hair ponytail swishing around her. "I'm sorry. I haven't. I…I'm having a little trouble believing that you're real," she hesitated.

"We are indeed real, as is this place." Gandalf told her gently. "It will be hard for you to grasp, but you are very far from your home, from your own time."

Everyone looked to Gandalf. He always seemed to know a great deal.

"My own time? What is this? A science fiction novel?" Her anger and frustration were mounting. Her brows were drawn low over her green eyes and her face was becoming red. "How do I get back to my world? I want to go home," she demanded and she stomped her foot for emphasis, not caring is she was acting like a child. She was tired of this dream that would not seem to end.

"You cannot," Gandalf told her softly, but firmly.

"What do you mean I can't?!" she shouted angrily. Her enraged voice echoed off the jagged, cold stone walls.

"Keep your voice down. You'll alert every orc in Moria to our whereabouts." Boromir told her irately.

"My family is there, my friends, my job. My life is there," she explained, ignoring the man who had just spoken. "You can't make me stay here." There was desperation and pain in her tone now, the anger was slowly fading.

"You are right. We cannot make you stay here." Gandalf told her. The Grey Wizard watched the hope flair in her eyes and watched it dim and disappear with his next words. " You can wander about in the dark until some creature finds you and ultimately you are sent to an untimely death."

The woman balked at the idea. Her eyes grew wide and she gasped at such a notion.

"We do not have the ability to send you home and neither does anyone that I am acquainted with." Gandalf leaned against his staff and gazed at her thoughtfully. "Fate has brought you here for a reason, though I do not yet know that reason. However, you will live and die in this world. Of that I am certain." Gandalf said with sympathy.

The woman gasped and brought her hand to her mouth, covering it. Her eyes were wide with shock and brimming with tears. She felt ill to her stomach, her heart was pounding and her head was throbbing. She shook her head from side to side in bitter denial. She kept hoping that this was a dream, but the longer it was silent and everyone looked at her, the more her stomach growled reminding her of her hunger, the more she realized this was real and not a dream. It frightened her beyond belief.

"We cannot linger here. You will come with us," Gandalf commanded.

Everyone in the Fellowship looked at each other.

"This is folly. Bringing a woman with us is not a wise plan," Boromir said.

"What would you do, Boromir? Leave her here to fend for herself?" Gandalf asked. "She is lucky to have survived for as long as she has. 3 days with no food, more than likely no rest, no weapons and in the presence of orcs and other foul creatures. She will travel with us and fate will help us decide what to do with her when we have left Moria."

"Can she fight?" Aragorn asked immediately.

"Can you wield a sword, child?" Gandalf asked her.

It took her several moments to speak. Her throat was dry and her voice was soft and frail. She shook her head. "I've never held a sword in my life. I detest knives."

Aragorn frowned. This did not bode well for them. A woman who could not defend herself in the darkness of Moria would be a burden.

"She will have to be taught. The time will come when she will need to defend herself and others," Gandalf said and he looked directly at Aragorn.

"Defend myself from what?" She bit her lower lip to keep it from trembling.

"Creatures that would have you dead for no other reason than the pleasure of watching your blood spill," Aragorn told her, raising his brows.

The young woman looked frightened.

Aragorn looked her in the eyes. "You should be frightened," the Ranger pushed her. "You have no idea what dangers await us."

"I'll face whatever comes my way." She said bravely. "I always have."

Aragorn was pleased with her words, but he knew she would most likely abandon them when she was faced with any real danger. She was no warrior.

"We must go," Gandalf said.

"Go where?" The woman asked, but the wizard did not answer her. He was already walking away.

To be continued….