I own everything … JRR Tolkien only owns the character of Ëariel Mirëlómë (and a few others)

Ahem … before I get sued (and get attacked by the spirit of JRR Tolkien) let me set things right; I own nothing except the character of Ëariel Mirëlómë (and a few others) … JRR Tolkien owns everything else.

Author's Note:

Daughter-of-sunlight: I was thinking that when I included the Hobbits. I wasn't going to include them at all … but thought I should. Yes, I know. Mandos sounds much better than Námo – especially for his role amongst the Valar. I know there was no Elrond and Arwen … and I'm sorry … they're not in this chapter either, but they'll definitely be in the next few! One of the best chapters in the story? Gosh … thanks … I only hope this one isn't bad! Thanks a lot for your review, and I hope you enjoy this!

Thanks for your reviews! Let's see if this chapter will be interesting as well!

Chapter Six: Stranger

Erestor strode purposefully down the corridors of Imladris, wondering who on earth could have arrived that people were making such a fuss about. As he reached the entrance to Imladris, his worries were immediately vanquished as he saw who the people were.

"Legolas," he said, simply, smiling at the blond haired elf. Legolas smiled warmly at him, as they clasped each others arms in the typical elvish form of greeting.

"It has been a long time, has it not, Erestor?" he asked, referring to the time he had not visited Imladris. Erestor nodded.

"Indeed," he said. "Although it would have been best if you had not visited when you were younger … you were a handful then." Legolas grinned. He turned to the rest of his host.

"Will it be possible to accommodate thirteen elves and six dwarves here?" he asked. Erestor nodded.

"Why … yes," he said. "Although … if I had been told of your journey, I would have already made preparations …" Legolas grinned.

"Did Estel not tell you of our plans?" he asked. Erestor shook his head. "I see … where is he anyway?"

"That, my friend is a long story …" said Erestor. Legolas frowned slightly. Something was wrong. He could see it in the older elf's eyes.

"What –"

"Hello?? I would like to mention that I, Gimli am here as well …" said Gimli, interrupting him. "Just in case you had forgotten …" he added, as he saw the two elves glance at him. Erestor smiled.

"Indeed, Gimli, son of Gloin, welcome to Imladris …" he said. He turned to the rest of the host. "Come, let us go inside. We will get your things unloaded after you have had a meal for I am sure you are weary from your journey …"

"And from battle …" muttered Dínlos. Erestor raised an eyebrow.

"Battle?" he questioned. The elf nodded.

"Aye, battle against Orcs …" he said. Erestor glanced at the whole host again. They had … battled Orcs?

"We can talk about it later, can't we?" asked Legolas, watching Erestor's face and knowing that he was going to ask them to tell him what happened. "After, as you suggested, a good meal?"

The truth was, he wanted to discuss with Erestor, without alarming the others, about what the Orc had said about their real master … He had not forgotten that …

"Very well …" said Erestor, nodding and leading the way inside the refuge.

Meanwhile, in Bag End:

"What are we going to do with her, Sam?" asked Rosie, as she washed the dishes. Sam stared at the tea in his mug.

"We can't ask her to leave Rosie …" he said. "I mean, it's quite clear that she's suffering from some form of … memory loss."

"How do we know whether she did something wrong, and was kicked out of her home? I don't want any wrong-doers living with us," said Rosie. "And I don't want the neighbours saying strange things about us either." Sam sighed.

"I understand what you're saying Rosie," he said. "But … how can we just ask her to leave?" Rosie scrubbed furiously at a non-existent stain on a plate.

"You just want to keep her here because you're fascinated by elves …" she said, correctly.

"Aye, I am fascinated by elves," agreed Sam. "But … there's something … odd about this one." Rosie turned around, triumphantly.

"See? See? I was right! If you can sense something odd about her, then why are you still keeping her here?" she asked.

"When I said odd, I didn't mean it in a bad way," said Sam. "It's as though … she's got some … some hidden strength or something that even she doesn't know about …"

"Which is all the more reason for us to have nothing to do with her," said Rosie, turning back to the dishes.

"Rosie, just hear me out, please," said Sam, pleadingly. "The Elves helped us a lot on our Quest … the Quest of the Ring … When one of them appears in the Shire, injured and exhausted, how can you expect me to kick her out of my home?" He paused. "Well … out of Frodo's home …"

"Sam, the Quest is over. It's been done, and, if you ask me, is history," said Rosie. "Besides, the Elves had to help you. They were the ones that sent you on the Quest in the first place!"

Sam said nothing. Why couldn't Rosie understand what he was trying to say? It wasn't that she didn't understand … it was more that she didn't want to understand. When in that state of mind, nothing he said would make her change her opinion.

She gazed through the small round window she was seated in front of. It was big enough for her to see the healthy green grass swaying in the wind, together with the small roses and bluebells and other flowers of all sorts. She smiled. It was … pretty.

It was much prettier than the Halls of Mandos …

Her smile disappeared slightly as she remembered the question that had been asked of her by the one called Sam. He had asked her where she was from. That was a very good question. Where was she from? It seemed that they did not even know what the Halls of Mandos were … and that didn't help the slightest bit.

Yes, she knew that she was re-incarnated, which had to mean that she had died at some point in her first life … but how could she tell that to them? And she didn't even know where she lived in her first life … so that was no help either.

Her sharp ears caught the sound of raised voices, causing her to tilt her head to the side, wondering what was going on. She recognized the voices as those belonging to Sam and his wife Rosie. Her eyes widened slightly as she heard what they were saying.

Her eyes lowered, she turned her head back to the window. Rosie didn't want her here … To be honest, she had guessed that she didn't want her here from before, when she had woken up in Bag End. The things Rosie said and did … told her that. She couldn't be blamed. Who would want a complete stranger living in their house?

She sighed. This was getting her nowhere. Mandos could at least have told her what was going on … She turned around as she heard the patter of feet stop by her 'room.' She looked curiously at the door, wondering who it was. She waited. The door was pushed open slowly, and a golden head peeked into the room.

Ëariel smiled as she saw the little girl. She was … cute. The girl caught sight of her and blushed.

"I'm … sorry …" she said, meekly. She shook her head.

"You did nothing wrong to apologize …" she said. The girl smiled shyly at her. Ëariel waited patiently, sensing that she wanted to tell her something, but was wondering whether or not she should.

"I'm Elanor," she said, at last. Ëariel smiled.

"That's a very pretty name, Elanor," she said. "Named after a flower … I'm sure you'll be just as pretty …" Elanor smiled at her again.

"What's your name?" she asked, courageously.

"Ëariel," she said, not bothering about her 'other' name.

"Ëariel …" repeated Elanor. "Is that a flower too?" Ëariel shook her head, sending her silvery-golden hair flying gracefully around her head.

"No," she said. "It is Elvish … for Sea Star." Elanor's eyes widened.

"Do you like the sea then?" she asked, curiously.

"Hmm … I certainly don't hate it …" said Ëariel. "And I'm not exactly in love with it … if you know what I mean …" She knew, as she said that, that one day the longing for the sea would awaken in her.

"Oh …" said Elanor. She looked at her and then down at her feet. "Can … can you … tell me a story?"

"A story?" asked Ëariel, surprised. Elanor flushed.

"If you like to, of course," she said hurriedly. Ëariel shook her head.

"Oh no, I'd love to," she said. "But … what do you want to hear about?"

"Anything," she said. "Something with big trees, bright flowers and birds chirping everywhere …" Ëariel smiled.

"Of course," she said. "Though … wouldn't you like to sit down? I'm sure that standing must be rather tiring …" Elanor nodded, looking grateful that she had told her that. She moved towards her, slowly, almost as though she thought that she would hit her if she got too close, and sat down a few steps from where she was sitting. Waiting until she had settled down, Ëariel started her story, making it up as she went on. "Once, many years ago, there was a … … …"

Later in the evening:

Rosie barged out in to the garden, a worried expression on her face as she looked all around for her children. She had searched for them nearly everywhere, but couldn't find anyone of them. She saw Sam kneeling in front of some plant or the other and walked over to him.

"Sam! Our children are missing!" she said, fighting to keep the anxiety from rising inside her. Sam turned around hurriedly.

"What?" he asked.

"Our children are missing!" repeated Rosie. Sam stood up.

"Rosie, how can they be missing? I was here for the past couple of hours and I didn't see anyone walk past me," he said. "And Frodo Gardener was in Rose and Merry's room, looking after them."

"Well they're not there now!" said Rosie. "I checked there! I checked everywhere!" Sam frowned slightly.

"I'll take another look inside before we go out and sound the alarm," he said, his mind reeling. His children wouldn't suddenly disappear like that … then where were they?

With Rosie by his side, he searched the whole of Bag End, which was saying something as the place was massive. They stood outside the kitchen, now looking very worried.

"I told you they were missing," said Rosie, trying to stay calm. "I told you!"

"Rosie, we don't know for sure yet," said Sam, trying to reassure her. "They could have gone for – "

"They're not at home, Sam! How can I think they're not missing?" asked Rosie. Sam opened his mouth to say something, when the sound of a door being pushed open interrupted him. He and Rosie both turned around to see the door to their far left being opened.

"Hey, isn't that Ëariel's room?" asked Sam, surprised. Rosie glared at him.

"I don't care if it's her room or n – " Her voice trailed off as she saw four little figures walking out of the room, huge smiles on their faces.

"Thanks again, Ëariel," said Elanor, turning to face the silvery-golden haired elf.

"Oh, it was nothing," said Ëariel, smiling warmly at her. "But I suggest that you take Rose and Merry to your mother … I think they need a bit of nursing …" Elanor nodded.

"Can we do this again?" asked Frodo Gardener, looking hopefully at her. She smiled.

"Of course," she said. "But not today … I think you've heard enough stories for one day, don't y – " Ëariel stopped as she saw Rosie stride over to them, an unreadable expression on her face.

"Where were you?" she asked, staring hard at her children.

"Ëariel was telling us stories, Mother," said Elanor, smiling widely. "Do you want to hear – "

"No I don't want to hear them," snapped Rosie, unable to stop herself. Ëariel watched her carefully. "The next time you four wander around without telling me, you will be punished! I thought you were lost!"

"But mother, you probably didn't search the hou – "

"I did. Your father and I both searched the house!" said Rosie, interrupting Frodo Gardener, her second child.

"Then why didn't you come to Ëariel's room?" asked Frodo Gardener. Rosie glared at him.

"Because – because … I never thought you would go and spend time talking to her," she said at last. Ëariel raised an eyebrow, before smiling weakly. Elanor took a step forward.

"Why wouldn't we want to spend time talking to her?" she asked, curiously.

"Never mind," said Rosie. "You four are going straight to bed once you have your dinner."

"But Mother – "

"No complaints!" she said, shaking her head. Ëariel watched the children trudge towards the kitchen, their heads drooping. Rosie turned to her. "Please, Miss, the next time you ask them to talk to you, kindly tell me so I won't think that they're lost …"

"Mother, we talked to her. I went and talked to her first and then got Frodo, Merry and Rose to come with me," said Elanor, hearing her.

"I thought I told you to go to the kitchen," said Rosie. Sam stepped up.

"Rosie, let them be," he said, warily.

"Sam – "

"Ëariel was just telling them stories," he said. "There's nothing wrong with that. She wasn't poisoning them or anything …" Ëariel smiled warmly at him. Rosie sighed in defeat.

"Fine, fine, it's clearly five against one," she said. "I'm just trying to say that I don't like my children talking to strangers." With that, she walked into the kitchen. Sam sighed.

" … Don't … worry about what she said …" he said at last, looking at Ëariel. "She … she's like that at the beginning … but once she gets to know you better, I'm sure she'll be fine …"

"I hope she will …" said Ëariel, feeling slightly hurt, but knowing that she was right. She was, in all aspects, a stranger.

In Imladris:

Legolas leaned against the thick trunk of the tree and stared up at the stars. Ëarendil was gleaming brightly in the sky. Even with Ëarendil's reassuring presence in the sky, he was still troubled. He was unable to forget the Orc's last words … before he killed him.

Our real master is returning …

He had thought about that single statement all throughout the rest of their journey, and had come to a conclusion. He had realized … or rather remembered that the Orcs had not been created by Sauron. Sauron was merely … the only truly evil being that they could turn to in those times and call their master.

The person that did make the Orcs … he shivered slightly … was none other than Melkor …

It was he that had captured many elves after they had awakened, and taken them into his pits of Utumno and tortured beyond recognition … into Orcs.

Was that who the Orc was referring to as the real master? He paled slightly. If he was indeed referring to Melkor, then what about the part where he said that he was returning? Was Melkor returning to the world then?

He shuddered. He hoped not. If he was … he doubted whether they would be able to stop him …

"Legolas?" He turned around hurriedly, being so caught up in his thoughts that he hadn't noticed the approaching figure. It was Erestor.

"Erestor …" he said. "What is it?"

"Nothing is wrong with me," said Erestor. "Though … you look troubled …" Legolas sighed.

"Remember you wanted to know about us being attacked by Orcs?" he asked. Erestor nodded. "Well, to make a meaningless long story short, I asked one of them why they were coming out of hiding … after their 'master' – Sauron – was destroyed … and it said that Sauron wasn't their real master …"

"Of course he was not their real master," said Erestor. "My dear boy, have you not paid attention to your History tutor, whoever he may have been? The Orcs were created by … Melkor, and he is their real master. Sauron … was probably just a 'second' master."

"It also said that their real master … was returning …" said Legolas, slowly. He heard Erestor quick intake of breath.

" … Returning?" He nodded.

"Yes," he said. "Now I know that Melkor was cast into the Void, after he was defeated by Ëonwë, the Herald of Manwë … so how can he … return?" Erestor said nothing for a while. "Erestor?"

"I am afraid … that it is possible …" he said, quietly. "You may not have heard of this before, but the doomsman of the Valar decreed that he would escape the void one day and that the Sun and the Moon shall disappear … and the whole world will be trapped in Darkness. Then, Túrin Turambar will kill him, standing beside Tulkas and Fionwë …" He paused, thinking it ironic that he had repeated that very prophecy to Elladan and Elrohir a few days ago.

"So … does this mean that he … has escaped?" asked Legolas. Erestor shook his head.

"I do not know for sure," he said. "But … if he had escaped … don't you think that Orcs and other creatures created by him would have appeared everywhere by now?" Legolas nodded.

"Yes … you are right …" he said. "But what can we do if he does indeed escape?" Erestor stared at him.

"The question we have to ask now is how we know that all this is happening because Melkor either has escaped, or is planning to escape?" he asked. "How do we know that Morgoth has anything to do with this?"

"But … who else could be the Orcs' real master?" asked Legolas.

"Aye, that is quite true …" agreed Erestor. Legolas' frown deepened.

"And how do we know whether trouble has befallen Estel and the others on their way to East Lórien?" he asked.

"I do not know that …" said Erestor. "But with people as skilled as Elladan, Elrohir, Lord Celeborn and Faramir helping the already brilliantly skilled Estel, I do not think that things will go wrong for them …"

"You are right …" he said.

"And Master Gimli and his dear friend Morras are going to find themselves kicked out of Imladris if they discuss anymore methods of how to chop down a few trees to start a huge fire and re-forge their axes, which do not need re-forging anyway." Legolas laughed lightly. "Kindly tell them that there are still two elves that worked the smithy here and that they would be more than willing to help them – in the smithy."

"Erestor …" he said suddenly, his smile disappearing. "Have you noticed … anything different about Arwen?" Erestor was surprised by his question.

"Why do you ask?" he asked. Legolas smiled.

"Not for the reason of going to Estel and blurting everything out to him," he said, knowing that that was what Erestor wanted to find out. "I noticed when I went to see her and Eldarion in Minas Tirith, that she seemed different … she seemed rather sad." He paused. "At first, I thought it was because her father wouldn't get to see her son … but she was saddened whenever she mentioned her father's name …"

"It is not unusual for someone to miss their father, is it?" asked Erestor, lightly. Legolas shook his head, remembering his own father still residing in Greenwood … or the Wood of Greenleaves as it had been called … Eryn Lasgalen in Elvish.

"No," he said. "But … I have a feeling that … other people … think it is because she is regretting her choice to become mortal …" Erestor glanced sharply at him.

"That is what Estel thinks?" he asked.

"I did not say 'Estel thinks it is because she is regretting her choice to become mortal' did I?" asked Legolas.

"She needs some time, Legolas," said Erestor. "She cannot be expected to forget her father … and her kind."

"No one is asking her to forget her father or her kind," said Legolas. "It is just that … I am afraid that … that Estel will become lost one day – not because of Arwen, of course not – but because she does not tell him about her grief …"

Erestor said nothing for a while. He understood what Legolas was saying. If Arwen was merely grieving for her father's passing, she could have confided into Estel … Her holding back her emotions simply made Estel think that it was because of him and the choice that she made to be with him that was making her upset.

"That matter … is between Estel and Arwen …" he said at last. "We should let them handle it."

"I know that," muttered Legolas. "But I don't want to see two of my friend's get hurt …"

"It is getting late …" said Erestor, passing a subtle hint. Legolas smiled.

"Indeed," he said. "Perhaps I should go and sleep whilst you head to the library and read a thick book without noticing anything else around you – even if Melkor were to show up beside you." Erestor glared at him.

"What I do with my time is my business," he said. "And, since I am in any case much older than you, my friend, I have every right to order you around …" Legolas grinned.

"Yes, you are starting to look quite old …" he said, before sprinting away before he was harmed by Erestor.


Estel rubbed his eyes wearily as he urged his horse to go on. This was not his good day … and neither was it Elrohir's, he thought, as he looked at the weary looking elf. After 'cleansing' the forest for Celeborn, they had rested very little, as one of the elves of Eryn Lasgalen had said that a mound of dead orcs was found by the Misty Mountains, close to where the dwelling of Hollin had been.

That had worried them as the area mentioned above, was quite close to Imladris. Fearing that Imladris would be attacked, they had made haste to return, fearing for their friends and family.

They were still two days from Imladris, and were starting to get weary without any rest or food. Celeborn, traveling at the back of the group, noticed this and frowned slightly.

True, he did want to get to Imladris as fast as he could, but he wanted everyone to be able to fight, if it was necessary. At the rate they were going, he doubted whether they would even be able to lift a sword in battle. The Men were looking especially weary. He sighed as he turned to look at Elladan who was riding beside him.

His eldest grandson was looking quite weary too … after spending his energy healing the injured elves. Looking once more at the rest of the group, he made his decision, and directed his horse to the head of the group. Once getting there, he turned his horse around to face them.

"We will stop riding when we reach the Gladden River," he announced, firmly. "We will set up camp there and set out tomorrow morning."

"We cannot afford to waste time," said Elrohir, wearily.

"Exactly, every moment we delay, Imladris can be moments away from being attacked," added Elladan.

"Did you not say yourself that we need to make haste?" asked Estel, surprised. Celeborn nodded.

"Aye, I did," he said. "But we will not be able to help anyone if we are unable to stand straight, gripping our weapons in our hands." He looked around at everyone. "I can see clearly that you are all wary. We need to stop. If, and I mean if Imladris is attacked, forget not that we have a certain Elf that has fought a number of wars, although he may not be excellent, when the time calls for it, he can be quite outstanding …" Everyone stared blankly at him, causing him to sigh. "I am talking about Erestor."

"Erestor?" asked Elrohir.

"Indeed, your History teacher," said Celeborn.

"E – Erestor?" stammered Elladan, imagining the stern faced chief advisor holding a sword.

"I do believe his name is Erestor, yes," said Celeborn, amused as he saw their amazement.

" … Erestor?" finished Estel, making Celeborn frown slightly.

"Yes, Erestor," he said at last, turning to Faramir.

"W – What?"

"Aren't you going to say 'Erestor?' as well?" he asked. Faramir shook his head meekly. He had been about to say that. "Good. Now let us make haste to the Gladden River and then prepare to set up camp."

"Er … grandfather …" said Elladan. "Set up camp … with what?"


"Yeah, we didn't bring anything with us from Imladris to set up camp, remember?" asked Elrohir. "We sped to East Lórien without stopping for rest."

"Who said you need tents to set up camp?" asked Celeborn.

"Er … perhaps it is because you need a tent to set up?" asked Estel. Celeborn glared at him.

"It is quite simple, actually," he said. "We find grass, we get off our horses, we lie down on the grass and we rest."

The rest of the company gaped at him. As if riding without stopping for four days, fighting Orcs and Goblins, and clearing up the mess and tending to the injured weren't enough … they had to sleep on … uneven bits of ground where grass grew?

"But – " Elrohir closed his mouth as Celeborn sent a deadly glared in his direction.

"Enough dawdling! We don't have time to waste!" he said. "Quickly now, if you want to reach Imladris in this age." Elladan, Elrohir, Estel and Faramir exchanged somewhat amused and relieved glances. Amused at Celeborn's orders, and relieved to finally be able to rest – even if it was on the ground. "Quickly now!"

"Yes, grandfather," said Elrohir, urging his horse to move faster.

"Oh boy …" muttered Estel, doing the same.

"I'm sure his people in East Lórien must be having a fun time," said Elladan smiling weakly. "With him gone …"

"He is your grandfather, is he not?" queried Faramir. The twins grinned, nodding. They all urged their horses to move faster; hoping that this bit of rest wouldn't prove fatal to those in Imladris … if they were in danger ...

Author's Note:

I know it wasn't brilliant, but I realized that I had forgotten about Legolas who was supposed to arrive in Imladris. Ooops!

I made Rosie a little nasty (and I'm sorry if you don't like it) to prove the point that, technically, Ëariel is a stranger. If someone suddenly appeared near your house, not knowing where she was from, or anything of the sort, except for her name, wouldn't you be wary? And it also goes to show that Ëariel needs to get acquainted with some elves … soon!

Reviews are most welcome!

Until Chapter Seven! (Whoa … I got this far?)