AUTHOR'S NOTE This is the third and final installment of my Raélowen/Legolas trilogy, which begun with "Immortal Night" and "Beyond Morning." I hope you enjoy it! This first prologue chapter pretty much just recaps the first two stories. Enjoy!

DISCLAIMER I don't own Tolkien's characters. My characters include Raélowen, Calíme, Emeriel, Colindor, Guana, Marek, Daelin, and Shamiel, as well as a couple other smaller characters.

Middle Earth is changing. In just a few short years of the world, events have taken place to alter the future forever.

The grandest and most important tale of my time is the discovery of the One Ring and the efforts of the Free Peoples to destroy it. The Ring has already changed the world.

But my story comes in later than the beginning of the Fellowship's great quest. At a point, the two journeys converge, but I must start at the beginning.

I was born in Rohan many years ago. My parents had no other children that I am aware of, but all of my history was destroyed long ago. Before I had reached a year old, a hoard of goblins came down from the Misty Mountains and destroyed my village. I was kidnapped, as were several other children.

Eventually leaving Rohan, the goblins wandered north too close to the forest of Lothlórien. They were slain, I was rescued, and in the year 3000 of the Third Age, I was adopted as a citizen of Caras Galadhon. I was a year old.

There I lived peacefully for many years while dark events swirled in the air outside the protected realm of Lórien. I grew up faster than any Elf would have and as a child, I was always a little lonely. I became close friend with Emeriel Niere and Calíme Serewen, two maidens of the city when I was older.

Something happened of great importance when I was barely into womanhood. Lady Galadriel brought me before her mirror one night when I was a teenager. When I looked into the water, she told me that I saw my destiny. I didn't understand.

The darkness that I didn't know existed finally reached Lórien in February of 3019. I was 20 years old. The Fellowship of the Ring, having just lost Gandalf the Gray in Moria, sought refuge in our city.

While they spent the night within our protected borders, I sought out the only Elf among them: Legolas Greenleaf of Mirkwood. He was what I had seen in the Mirror. We spent the night together.

He and the Fellowship left the next morning. But during the night, Legolas had given me something. Galadriel brought me back to her Mirror. Her ancient magic awakened a new life for me – one that had been given to me by my lover. My human self fell aside and I emerged as one of the Elfkind.

Legolas managed to return once to me, called back by Galadriel. His second parting was too much for me to bear and with a sad farewell to my only home, I left Lothlórien. It took days, but Galadriel had told me to make for Edoras, so I crossed the plains of Rohan on foot.

On the journey, I encountered the citizens of Edoras fleeing for Helm's Deep. Lady Éowyn, niece of the King, was their leader, as her uncle had led the warriors against foul beasts called wargs. She informed me that Legolas, Aragorn, and Gimli of the Fellowship had left Edoras with them and were battling the wargs.

I followed them to Helm's Deep, but the journey was difficult. I was plagued with fainting spells and immense pain. It faded with Legolas's arrival at the fortress, but it was a sad meeting. Aragorn, Legolas's closest friend, had seemingly been killed in battle.

With Aragorn's safe return, Legolas and I suddenly realized the source of my fainting – I was pregnant. I remained hidden deep in the caves for the duration of the battle.

It was then that I met a Rohirrim woman named Gauna. She was a widow with a young son named Daelin. We began talking and soon I had told her my whole story. It was very strange for me to be among humans, especially Rohirrim. They were my true kin.

A host of Lothlórien Elves, led by my good friend Haldir, arrived at Helm's Deep to aide the Rohirrim. To my shock, Emeriel and Calíme were ushered into the caves as well. Emeriel had accompanied Colindor, her husband, and Calíme had followed the army out of loneliness.

We won the battle by morning, but the night was not without shock or sorrow. Emeriel accidentally revealed to all of us that she too was pregnant. Calíme admitted to falling in love with another maiden who had since sailed West. But most horrible, Haldir was killed by the Uruk-Hai during the night.

Middle Earth is in turmoil. Far worse things will happen, I fear. I do not know what kind of world my child will be born into. By the grace of the Valar, I can only pray for a peaceful future.