Disclaimer: I do not, in any way, own any of the places, things, characters, races, or creatures that Tolkien has created. Hail the mighty Tolkien. bows I do however own Adriane, Shane, Nick, Justin, and both songs in this chapter. Yes, you heard right, I wrote both these songs. If you like one of them and want to use it somewhere, please ask me first. I want to know how and where you will use it so I know it isn't being abused. Not that I think you guys would do that, but just a precaution, so bear with me. Story time!

Chapter 1: A World in Shambles

Adriane Charday sat tuning her guitar, getting ready to perform for one of the many gigs her band, Essence of Truth, had gotten. She was the lead singer and guitarist, while her three guy friends, Shane, Nick, and Justin, played bass, drums and second guitar.

She finished her tuning and went to check the mirror to make sure her eyeliner hadn't smudged. She sighed as she ran a brush through her waist-length bronze hair. She examined herself in the mirror. Her chocolate brown eyes stared back at her. With a last swipe of eyeliner she deemed herself ready.

She motioned to her band, who was all set up, to turn up the mic. Nick, the drummer, was also in charge of sound and volume and such. He nodded at her and she walked on stage.

"This song is one I wrote to get people to realize that just being different isn't a bad thing and that we shouldn't have to follow some type of unwritten laws governing our personalities. One, two, and three..." She nodded at her band and a catchy, guitar-heavy beat sprang to life and she sang:

"There's a voice inside me

That's shouting to be heard

Why won't you hear me (hear me)

Hear what I have to say

About this world full of lies and hate

How can we live

With all this coldness?

But I won't give in (won't give in)

To what everyone wants from me

I'll still be me, no matter what.

There seems to be this model

That everyone should follow

But not me

I'm not afraid to yell

At the top of my lungs

If you want to bring me down

Go ahead and try

I'm strong enough to handle

That not everyone will love me

For what I am

I can't please everyone.

But I sure as hell

Can please myself

If you can't be happy with me

As I am

That's your problem

There seems to be this model

That everyone should follow

But not me

I won't wait around

For people to make

My decisions for me.

There used to be a time

When I would do

Anything and everything

Anyone asked me to.

But I got tired

Of being the one to get hurt.

There seems to be this model

That everyone should follow

But not me

Can't everyone see

What's wrong with

That model?

That model is too perfect

And underneath it all

There is hate

Jealousy

Coldness

Cruelty

Indifference

I'm not like that

I may be hard

To get over

I may have a hard exterior

But sometimes all I want

Is to lie down and cry.

But I know that all the cruelness of this world

Will devour me

If I dared

To let my walls down.

Before I go

One last word

Of advice

Never change."

Gasping, Adriane finished the song and then heard applause from the room full of viewers. They had managed to get a gig at the most popular hang-out in the mall, a bar/restaurant with a stage. Tonight the whole place was filled.

As Adriane geared up for the next song, she thought about her choice to drop out of college and perform full-time. She had finally decided that she was happiest when performing and hoped to make a living out of it. Right now she and her band were traveling, looking for work opportunities. They had managed to get enough money from local performances to buy a tour bus with room for their equipment and room to live, as well. She missed her family, but they had been furious when she had made her choice. Her dad was a perfectionist and had a degree in physics and had always expected the most from his kids, no matter what it took. As far as she knew, they didn't miss her one bit.

She pushed these thoughts away and performed 3 more songs before thanking everyone for listening and packing up to leave.

A man in the corner, about the age of Adriane, who was 21, watched her as she helped her band pack up. She was no doubt the prettiest girl he had ever seen. His eyes glinted with lust as he looked her over. She was about 5'7 and had and almost flawless figure, graceful in every aspect.

Adriane noticed uneasily that there was a guy in the corner who was eyeing her more than was necessary. She quickened her pace at storing guitars in their cases and unhooking wires. She had had guys hit on her before, and she did not intend to repeat the process. She started to think over what had happened last spring...No! she thought fiercely, I will not spare that jerk one more thought after what he did to me! Not one more! I promised myself I would get over him. So deep in thought had she been that she didn't notice the young man who had been watching her come up and stand there as she worked.

She glared up at him hotly, knowing what was coming. "What?"

The guy cleared his throat and said, "Did it hurt?"

Adriane rolled her eyes, this is the lamest pick-up line, but went along with it anyway. "Did what hurt?"

He was grinning madly by now. "When you fell from Heaven?"

Adriane rolled her eyes and stood up. "Look, I don't want any trouble. But I'm not interested in whatever you're offering, so forget it!"

The man's eyes flashed angrily at her words. "Not looking for trouble, huh? Well, trouble is what you just might get."

Shane had noticed that Adriane was looking real pissed at the guy who was now stepping closer to her. He had seen men hit on her and he didn't like to see his best friend abused like that. He walked up to the pair and pushed the guy away with one finger. "She said she wasn't interested, now back off!"

With one last venomous look at Adriane, the young man stalked off. Adriane looked at Shane thankfully. "Thanks." She gave her friend a hug.

That was one of the things Shane liked most about Adriane. She could be so strong one moment and then so kind and sweet the next. But that was only if you got to know her. He held her without refusal. He knew she had been through a lot. But he also knew that he was not the right one for her. He longed to see her find someone who understood her as he did who she could have romantic interests in, but she seemed to be pulling away from most other people she didn't already know.

Before he could ponder any further, Nick came up and told them they were all packed up and ready to leave.

Once on the bus they drove to the nearest campsite and parked the bus for the night. Adriane enjoyed it when they had a proper campsite like this, with trees all around and a place to build a fire. She remembered back home where there had been a forest as her backyard. As a child she would climb the trees and sit in them to revel in the beauty of it.

Adriane fiddled with a ring on her right pinky finger as she sat by the fire next to the bus. She smiled as she remembered the day she had found it in a bird's nest. It was silver, she guessed, but it never tarnished and never gave her finger a black ring from residue. It was a plain band with a flat circle of metal set into it. On the flat circle had been carved a curious symbol, looking a bit like a bird or a dragon. She had no idea what it meant, but she loved it dearly, as it was the only thing she had to remind her of nature while she was on the road.

Adriane walked up to Shane. "I'm going to spend the night in the forest," she said.

Shane didn't question her as he knew she was very experienced in the ways of nature. She had taken archery and fencing lessons when she was in high school, and won a few tournaments.

Adriane went in the bus to get her backpack only to find Nick and Justin eating like pigs. Men, thought Adriane. Nothing comes between them and their food. She took her back pack and packed a few necessities: a few packs of broth to make soup with, a jug of water to boil over her fire to put the broth in, a pack of dried vegetables and chicken to put in the broth, a few rolls and some butter; that would be her dinner; a few granola bars and some dried fruit; that would be her breakfast. At the last second she decided to put in a bar of chocolate for some late snacking. She then placed her CD player and her favorite CDs in the pack, along with some extra batteries. She also packed her Lord of the Rings book, which had all three books in 1, not to read necessarily, she had already read it and seen the movies, but she just liked to go over it and its appendices to refresh her memory. She put a brush, some makeup, some soap, her toothbrush, and her toothpaste in the smaller compartment. I may not be a girly-girl, but I like to keep myself clean, she thought to herself to justify her need of toiletries. She also packed a small first aid kit, just in case. Better safe than sorry.

On a last thought, she went in her closet and took out her beautiful sword she had gotten for her 17th birthday. Its scabbard had flowing wolves with and intricate pattern embossed into the leather over the metal of it. The hilt was encrusted with black opals around the base, something she wished her great-grandma hadn't paid to have put on. They were very expensive. There was a leather grip on the hilt, too, and the grooves meant for the fingers fit hers perfectly. The blade itself had runes in her native language, Cherokee, engraved on it. Now, she looked nothing like a Native American, she looked like a normal white teenager, but her family had strong roots from the Cherokee. She had asked her great-grandma what the runes said, and she had told her it said: "Wolf-Child, the Warrior, do not fear love. Fear instead to live a life of loneliness." She had often wondered at their meaning when she was younger, but after what had happened recently, she knew what they meant. They meant she could not be afraid to love again. She had to love as if she'd never been hurt. And she honestly didn't know if she could do that.

She pushed away these thoughts and buckled the sword around her waist. She wanted to practice. She barely ever had time to practice anymore. She brought her acoustic guitar with her, in its case it was easy to sling over her shoulder. She decided against bringing her bow, as she already had enough to carry with her backpack, guitar, and her bedroll. She walked out of the bus with her backpack on one shoulder, her guitar on the other, and her bedroll in her arms.

"Hey, Adriane, are you moving out or something?" Justin joked

"No, I'm just camping out tonight so I can get away form you pigs eating out the whole bus!" she laughed, punching him playfully.

Once outside, she said goodbye to Shane who was still sitting at the fire, and grabbed some matches for the fire she would build once she found a good spot where she could see the stars. She waved as she walked off into the forest.

After walking for about a half-hour, she came upon a clearing where there were only a few rocks forming a rough circle with no trees to block her view of the stars. She could no longer see the glow of Shane's fire, or smell the smoke. All around her were trees and the smell of damp earth

She put her things down and cleared and area to start a fire. She found some tinder in her backpack, set it on the ground, and then went looking for some wood. After finding some fair sized pieces, she went back to her campsite. She lit the tinder, which burned readily, and then added the bigger pieces of wood, until she had a good sized fire.

She shivered and found herself wishing she had brought a jacket. It was in the middle of fall in Wyoming, but she hadn't expected it to be this cold. She was wearing her favorite jeans that were almost black and an Evanescence shirt under a black hoodie with a red A in calligraphy script on the front.

She built up the fire a bit more to keep herself warm and then set took some strong sticks to make a spit over the fire and hang the pot she had brought on. After it was boiling, she put in the a few cubes of chicken broth in and dissolved them. Then she put in the pack of dried veggies and chicken and noodles. She let it boil for five minutes before taking it off the fire. She smiled. It was just enough for her. Letting it cool, she ate right out of the pan because she had forgotten a bowl. After it was gone, she took out the rolls and butter and ate them as well.

Feeling full, she washed out the pot with some of her water and re-packed it. A good melody for a song popped into her head and began forming. Now all she needed was words. She picked up her guitar and strummed a haunting melody and sang from her heart:

"In this world of pain and doubt

I don't feel at home.

I don't belong here

So where do I go?

How do I live

In a place so cold?

I'm falling forever

My emotions confusing me

More than ever.

I'm drowning

In a sea of pain.

I don't know who to turn to.

Please help me

Find where I belong.

My world is dark and grey.

Help me find the light.

Lead me

To my destiny.

I lie inside myself

Afraid to come out.

Help me find a place

Where I can be accepted.

My soul cries out

To all the powers

In all corners of the world

And beyond.

Lift me up

In your arms

And keep me safe.

Help me

Find my own world."

Tears streamed down her face as she sang what she had been longing to admit for a long time. She didn't belong here. Even though she had friends and family, she still didn't feel at home in this rapid chaos called reality. People could be so cruel. People had forgotten that there can be a different way to live that doesn't involve drinking away your pain. Her heart longed for the simple things, things she had tried for so long to get out of her life, but just couldn't seem to find.

She pushed away all the negative thoughts and forced herself to stop crying. She never liked crying, and hated being seen as weak, but she just couldn't help it sometimes. She put her guitar away and took out her journal and wrote down the lyrics to remember them.

She then unrolled her sleeping bag and laid down as close to the fire as she could get without being too close for comfort. She decided to practice her swordplay in the morning. She fell asleep to the sound of soft singing from afar in a language she recognized as Cherokee. But so tired was she that she didn't think about why she heard the singing. It was so soothing that she could not think. She just fell into a deep sleep.


Adriane awoke to a bright sun. She sat up and saw the rocks around her, same as before, and recognized her backpack and guitar and sword, and her fire was in the same place. But she could not deny the fact that she was not in the same forest she had been in before. She was in a field of dry grasses; very different from the lush green grass she had fallen asleep on last night. Being the practical person she was, she reached the conclusion to not panic. She tried to remember what had happened while she was in her bedroll. The only thing she could bring to mind was a beautiful, haunting song in Cherokee, and she vaguely remembered seeing a flash of white light before falling asleep.

It was beyond her what could have happened, but from what she could gather, the song she had sung last night had stirred her ancestors to help her. Although she had no idea where she was, she trusted her ancestors to keep her safe. Adriane wholly believed that there could be other worlds out there, other dimensions. She had asked for help, and now that she had gotten it, she couldn't really ask them to take it back.

She decided to go on with her day and try to find some sort of civilization, because from what she could see, she was in the middle of a hilly, grassy, plain with some rocks and she could see mountains very close. Luckily she had packed extra just in case she decided to stay later in the forest. She ate a granola bar and some dried fruit, saving the rest for later if she needed it.

She took out her sword and started her drills she had memorized. Her body went into auto-drive, lunging and blocking and parrying with an invisible partner. She swung it around in practiced gestures of half circles and twists.

So absorbed was she in her practice that she didn't notice the group of people approaching her.