She was in a foreign land. I was a nice land, the air was unpolluted, which only meant technology had yet to take over, or even appear for that matter. It was a green land, fruitful, nothing overly strange had happened to her. The food at the strange hospital had been drugged, but that was no matter. The young king, alright, he had a few gray hairs, but he was still young, everyone was young compared to her, he was gentle and courteous to her, although he had looked startled a little when he first saw her. In the short time he had spent with her, she noticed that he was aloof to her, but listened to what she had to say.
He had to rush off on some business, an excuse that Serenity had used herself in the past from time to time. But he had issued a guard to escort her to some very fine rooms that came with a pair of rather addle brained pairs. They talked too much. And one of them actually cried when she had told them that she had been found at the gate with no shoes. Yes, it was a nice planet indeed. And she had arrived barefooted. Stupid Fate, it just had to pick her up when she was walking in a fountain. It enjoyed tormenting her to much.
Serenity sighed and looked over at her pearly white dress that she had worn since she first became the queen of the universe. It was beautiful and shouldn't be left hanging up, but transferred back into the Silver Crystal. And the shoes were missing, she had liked those shoes. Serenity hum'd and haw'd, lamenting over her lost shoes. Did I set them on the fountain edge? Or did I leave them in my room, not even putting them on? But seeing how that people here, mainly her maids who had about died from awe over it, would notice the disappearance of a beautiful and costly dress, she could not put it into safe keeping for the whole of her stay.
Which was one thing she was not sure of either, seemingly so far, no one here, where ever "here" was, knew of her ruler ship of all and all and everything in between. Not that she minded over much. It was good to not have people bowing and scraping all of the time. But it would have been nice if she didn't have to travel across space and time to achieve peace and quite. And she did miss her husband, and her rather growth stunted daughter.
Serenity sighed again. It had been a few hundred years since she had been separated from her family and friends. The last time had been voluntary, the whole world had evacuated to other planets and her whole castle and court had gone on leave so that the Earth's air could be filtered. Endymion, not one to just take a vacation, had this wonderful idea to go galaxy censuring, bored; Serenity had taken a little side trip of her own to a barren planet to test a new technique with the Silver Crystal. Well, while she was there, she had found a Lord of something or other with who she found out was a lord of the undead, he did not enjoy her company very much, but the trip had been fun. Serenity had known where she was, and she had been in control of her situations, instead of just being jerked from her own personal garden into the middle of nowhere.
She knew that there were few beings left in the universe that held more power than her, God, Fate, Time, and her future self were the only ones who could be using her like this. Serenity was sure it was not God, He left her alone most of the time. It could be a mixture of Fate and Time. Her dream told her that Time was involved at lest a little. She had seen the king, Aragorn protecting her in her dream or vision from a mob of people. And there was a giant bird or something that lay near her. The dream had been soundless, but Serenity had gotten the point: it was something that was going to happen, more or less the way the dream showed her. She rubbed the bridge of her nose. It had been awhile since she had been tested with dreams, she could not remember if trying to change their outcome was successful or not. She drew a blank. Or it could just be her future self, which was highly possible. Serenity felt frustrated.
Pulling her hands from her eyes she sat up slowly in the large bed. Her rooms kept the heat from the fire places very nicely, the soft rabbit skin rug warm and fuzzy to her bare feet. She stretched her feet out and felt around with her toes for the children slippers she had been given until shoes were made to fit her feet.
"Cursed tiny feet, where are those slippers?" Serenity finally found them where she had placed them the night before, under the rug itself. They were made out of wool, although it was well made and woven, it rubbed against her feet, scratching the tips of her toes and the out sides and tops of her feet.
The maids had acquired the slippers for her from someplace called Lady Eowyn's Nursery for Orphaned Children, the only place that had shoes her sized, sort of. Serenity looked at the flowers that had been stitched into the tops of the slippers by a loving hand. She would like to meet this Lady Eowyn, if she was a real person. Serenity liked babies and small children, and it had been a long time since she had been around them, it was another thing she missed from her early years. Maybe she could help there some. She finished warming her slippers with her hands and slipped them onto her feet. They were warm, but they sure did itch.
Serenity ran her fingers over her braided hair, it was warm from where she had been sleeping on it, she tugged at the cords that held it together at the end and shook her head letting the silky hair unbraid on its own. Her shoulders and back supporting the weight of her hair she tiptoed from her room to the outer hallway.
It was midnight; Serenity felt the alignment of the galaxy's star and the rotation of the planet, she went east ward down the hallway. A soft glow came from the night sky, Serenity edged from the door way into the walk way. She gasped, there right in the sky, she took the few steps toward the half wall that separated her from the air and levels below her.
"T-the moon." She whispered in awe, wonder filled at the discovery. She had a chance at finding out, at knowing where, at… she reached for the Silver Crystal at her neck, her hands, cold from the air, caused her to fumble, saving her from discovery.
"Yes, it can been seen this time of the month." The male voice startled her; she showed it by dropping her hands to the wall and turning her head quickly toward the shadows where the speaker stood. He moved from them, he was covered in a cloak of a strange shade of green from head to feet. He had seemed black and without depth like the shadow he had moved from, Serenity had not seen him in the split second before he moved, the cloak changed as he moved. She was sure of it.
"Ah.. good evening, I did not think others would be outside at this time. I did not disturb you in any way, did I?" Serenity asked as the man came toward the wall next to her; it was not Aragorn she was sure of, nor any of the guards, for he was taller and leaner than anyone she had seen here, and he walked differently, like his feet never touched the ground. She faced out again toward the moon as he came to stand beside her. He leaned forward and rested his fore arms on the wall, for any other man that tall it would have been a cumbersome position to take, but he was graceful. His smirk was warm and Serenity could feel it more than see it, the hood covered his face and shoulders well.
"No, I am not disturbed. But why does the sight of the moon cause you young maiden such surprise?" He presumed her to be something she was not, Serenity could hear it in his voice. She wondered, what did he think her to be? She was standing outside in her night gown, slippers and her hair unbound, and heaven forbid, uncovered. She looked at her hands, and it was cold outside. He must think I am a crazy. What to answer him?
"Well, I was not expecting to see it, I am… visiting from a far off land and I knew that the sky could look different in other countries I well just did not think that I would see something so familiar." A wind came threw the walk way from the north and it brought a burst of cold air, Serenity shivered.
"The sky is different in other lands, the stars change, or so I am told." The man answered out into the sky, "I do not travel much," he was saying, "but the King Aragorn did when he was younger and he has always been a good story teller."
Serenity opened her mouth to answer, and her teeth chattered a little. "He does not travel much now I bet; being a monarch can eat your free time faster than a baby with candy." The night was cold; she should have searched for a coat before leaving her warm room, or grabbed a blanket from the bed. She moved her feet, and pins of pain went up her legs, she blew out her lungs, the air before her briefly turning to steam before dispersing. Her next breath in caused the fine hairs on her arms to raise in protest. The man next to her looked over. She noticed that the breath he exhaled was warm as it travled its short distance to her.
"Are you cold? Would you like my cloak?" His questions were frank; he had asked these questions before. But Serenity could not take his cloak, it was her fault for relying on the Crystal to keep her warm, it was a bad habit. No need for him to be cold and her warm because she was use to being served to remember something warm.
"No, I can't take it. You will be cold then." Her sentences were short and to the point as well, but not because she wanted them to be, the cold bite into her. She had to go back inside. But she still wanted to test the Silver Crystal on this moon. She glanced up at the moon, it was perfectly round. Tomorrow it would not be whole and she could not use it, the fact that it was not reaching to her now and warming her in the cold told her without using the Crystal that any test would be hard. Thinking about seemed to make her warmer, wait… she was warmer. The cloak was soft and warm from his body heat as it was set onto her. It weight was not even as heavy as her hair. The cloak cut the wind and the cold instantly, it fell to the ground. She turned to protest to him even as she settled the cloak around her tighter.
"Now what about you…" Serenity trailed off, he was gorgeous to behold. Sudden warmth spread from her belly up her neck and into her cheeks as her body's natural reactions took over. In short, she blushed. His hair was half pulled back and long, resting some on his shoulders, but most fell to mid back, it was of a light color. The skin of his face was clear without blemishes, something not seen in most men. He was clean shaven, in the moon light it looked as if he had never even grown a beard, much less shaved it off. He was youthful in his total appearance. But for his eyes, his eyes were a piercing brown that were older than his face. The color in her face faded.
"I can let you borrow only my cloak; I can not give you what you seek." He was solemn, sad sounding. Serenity let her eyes take in the rich weave of his clothing that had been hidden by the cloak, the silver and gold threading in his vest, she also noticed the archers guard on his wrist and the shapely leather boots that hugged his calves. It was not a winter outfit, but something more suited for spring or early autumn. Serenity looked at his eyes, "You will get cold with out your cloak."
"No, I do not feel cold. I only wear the cloak because it has gone through much with me."
"And to give to cold maidens."
"Yes. I suppose."
Serenity giggled, and then laughed out right. "I am not seeking your bed, sir. I would like to have that cleared up. I came out here because of a dream."
He glanced at her, "That is what most other women tell me."
"I suppose you do not admire women over men than." Serenity kept watching him.
The man looked shocked, "I do not, I mean… I do. What is it that you are implying?" He sounded befuddled.
"Are you indifferent to women?" She questioned, "I myself am a beauty even in strange lands." Serenity could not help asking the question, she felt that the man would answer. And the comment about was a little bit overboard, but she was beautiful, and ignoring the fact did not make it worse.
The man coughed before answering, "I have no need for the presence of women or men. I prefer solitude."
Serenity nodded, not believing it for a moment, "Hum, Yes, if you are a loner, then why did you initiate contact with me? You could have stayed in the shadows, or slipped away to a less trafficked area, I've heard that they can be found this time of the night."
He smiled out toward the moon, "You look familiar to me, but I now know you are not who I thought you might be."
Serenity felt an emotion change in the man she had not felt before. He was not talking of a lover, but someone who he held in high regard. She apologized, "I am sorry, it was wrong of me to question your affections. I would blame it on the night air, but it is something I am at fault with. Forgive me."
The man looked over and grinned at her. "No matter, you would not be the first to ah, question me. I suppose it was rude of me to refuse you so quickly, causing you to fall into fault."
"No, it was not your refusal that spurned me into action," Serenity teased, glad that he accepted her apology, "I sensed your indifference and was going to ask you anyways!" She pulled the cloak closer around her, warmer now than she had been at any other times. "I must have a cloak like this, sir. It is marvelous! And it certantly does not feel like wool!"
The man accepted her change of subject, "Nay, it is not wool from sheep, but it is a cloth that was woven by the Lady Galadriel herself. It and eight others like it were made for the Nine Walkers in the War of the Ring, I do not know what it is made of, it is a secret that has been kept for many life times."
Serenity felt a shiver run through her at the mention of a war. "The War of the Ring?" She asked, completely forgetting her quest for the cloak.
"Yes." He replied.
"I'm sorry," she contenuied, no longer interested in the moon, the cold, or how handsome he was, "I do not keep up very well with other contry's business, would you mind telling me about this, War of a Ring."
He was silent and the breeze stopped, "It was the Ring, not a ring the war was about, you will think it quite impossible and silly, a war over such a small thing."
Serenity fingered the silver crystal and believed that it was not impossible. She listened without interruption as he softly spoke, telling briefly the tale of the Rings of Power, and of a fight for freedom from an evil she had never heard of before. He sounded as if had happened in his time, but the events he spoke of were twenty, fifty, a hundred years apart.
After he spoke of the crowning of the King Elassar he became silent, Serenity felt the information crowd its way around in her mind, maybe this was why she was here. She ventured a guess, "Did this happen while you were a child?"
He startled at her voice, clearly he had been lost in thought, after he calmed himself, rather quickly Serenity thought, "Oh, no. I have been very rude tonight, forgive me, my father would be very disappointed with me." He inclined his shoulders to her, "I am Legolas, and I am one of the Nine Walkers and the only son of Thranduil King of Mirkwood. I am an elf."
"Oh," Surprised, Serenity curtsied out of habit, "An elf, I did not know that they looked so much like humans. Forgive me for not introduction myself earlier either, we are both at fault I'm afraid. I am Serenity, current guest of Minas Tirith, I am known here for arriving with out my shoes."
"With out your shoes." The elf finished with her smiling, "It is a pleasure to meet you, I had not been an hour in the lower level before I had heard about the Lady Without Shoes, Aragorn had asked me to meet you. I am glad that we have."
"Have you been here long? Are you a friend of King Aragorn? Or are you here on state business with him? Did you come alone?" Serenity asked, not knowing, or even caring if in this world elves and men mixed or not. Luckily she had asked one of the few elves who believed in befriending the other race.
Legolas answered her rapid fire questions, "My party arrived around noon. Yes, I am a friend of Aragorn, he was one of the Walkers, he was also raised by elves, and his brothers are with me. I am here for a holiday. Anymore questions, Lady Serenity, before the sun rises?"
Serenity gasped remembering her mission with the moon. "The sun?" She twirled and looked above her, the moon was no longer visible in the sky, having disappeared behind the White Tower into the west. In the east the sky was not as dark as right above her. "Ai, it is almost dawn," Legolas answered her, "Would you like to join myself in finding some breakfast?"
Serenity stamped her foot, she had missed her chance! But she had learned some good information, and had acquired an invitation to breakfast. Something she had never turned down. "Yes, thank you. Please escort me to my rooms so I can change into something slightly less rumor starting, and then lead the way toward a warm breakfast!"
He offered her his arm and they made their way down the hall back from where she had come, "By the way," Her voice echoing some, "How old are you?"