The Mystery of Love

Disclaimer: I do not own LOTR; the poems and verse throughout the story are copyrighted however.

A/N: Lorei is pronounced (Lore-ee-eye) and is a male name. Ariane is also male and is pronounced (Air-ee-aine). Lerama is pronounced (lay-rauma.) Ari is pronounced (Air-ree.) The elvish language may also be a bit garbled for it is difficult to find an accurate elvish word-list.

Prologue

Point Of View – Unknown Elf

I heard the soft sound of light footsteps crunching over dead leaves...maybe three leagues from here. It was too noisy to be an elf, but those steps did not belong to that of a human either. I whistled lightly and mounted my horse, riding to greet our unexpected visitor. Many moons had waxed and waned since the second battle for middle earth was waged and my life returned to normal, many years of peace had passed. Through those years my suspicions had not waned at all, I could not fully trust this intruder to be a friend. Many foul Orcs have journeyed boldly into elven territory even as recently as the last full moon. I crept up silently towards a break in the foliage to see a small figure lying in a heap of dry leaves on the forest floor. I approached the form wearily, "Hello?" It had dark hair, that wasn't quite black. I crept closer to inspect it further.

The tanned figure stirred lightly. As it began to stand I nocked my arrow and drew my bowstring, "Aaye?" Hello? The deepest sienna eyes stared back at me from the figure before it fell to the ground again, exhausted. I approached it swiftly and threw its weighted figure over my shoulder. With that, I motioned for my horse to be on his way, nine miles was a nice brisk walk in Mirkwood forest. The day held a cool ethereal fog that concealed the trees and most things beyond four feet in front of me. This mattered not, for my keen eyes and ears were the perfect guides. I sprinted through the trees, silent and unscathed. The last thing I needed was to be caught in the misty woods by an orc pack with a hundred twenty or so pound piece of dead weight over my shoulder. I sighed as I heard thundering footsteps about twelve leagues to the south. As my luck would have it, those were the footsteps of about twelve orcs. I picked up speed and continued west to Mirkwood. The orcs quickened their pace and I quickly made for the safety of the grounds. I could not guard this young body and fight off so many vermin without risking my life.

Three of my brother's friends ran out to protect me as I lay the burden down on the leaf-covered staircase. I drew back my nocked bow and fired, several orc bodies already littered the ground. A few more elves ran out and the real fight began. One elf received a rather ugly gash in his thigh but otherwise the slaughter was well underway. I turned to my young captive to see an orc pulling crudely at its clothing. I shot one arrow clean through his temple and pulled his body off my unconscious burden. It was terribly vulgar what orcs did to the incapacitated. I would not let it be done to such a tempting capture.

Ariane turned, "That is all of them." He ran up and gave me a welcoming bow. I embraced the member of the Royal Guard and smiled as Kaire and Telirie came to greet me as well.

I embraced the other companions as my father descended the steps wearily. "Welcome home Lorei." He nodded to my brother's guardians softly.

I bowed respectively and embraced him. "Thank you father, it is good to see you in better health again."

My brother's three friends grimaced and King Thranduil reluctantly nodded. His glance passed me, "Must you always bring the maidens here in such poor condition? What is it you do to them in the woods? You can't bring them home in a civilized manner?" Mirth sparked in his eyes, the first I'd seen since my mother had passed on.

An airy laugh escaped the confines of my throat, "This one I found passed out in a clearing."

Ariane smiled, "I am certain you did, my friend." He and the other guards laughed and went to find my brother.

I picked the maiden up and carried her to one of the spare bedrooms in the royal halls. I called to one of the young handmaids and requested many garments be made for the young woman; if all went accordingly she would be here for some time. I had already made plans for our chance visitor.

End Prologue