Serena Whitewind stomped down the stairs in the main palace at Rivendell. As her name suggested, her hair was white and unfurled behind her as she made her way to her chamber. It was long and beautiful and it was becoming a damnable nuisance. Just like the rest of Rivendell.

It had been wonderful here, once. That was before the Change, and before Maeve LaMorte had come into power.

Serena arrived at her private chamber and slammed the door shut behind her. She sat down at her bed and finally let the angry tears that had been threatening her all through her meeting with Maeve loose. Maeve had been stringing her along for weeks; promising her she would be able to go home and today the hammer had finally fallen.

"Serena", Maeve purred in that horribly sexy voice, "You know it's impossible. The gate between the realms has been shut, and at great difficulty. You knew this and were offered the chance to leave months ago. If you wanted to leave, you should have done it then."

"I…I didn't realize…" Serena began.

Maeve interrupted. "You knew what you would be giving up. I agreed to think about your request, nothing more. I have considered and the risk of opening the gate,and it is too great. It could upset the whole of what we have built here. I will not ruin everything that we all, including you, have worked so hard to achieve."

"But it can be opened? It's possible?"

Maeve turned abruptly, her emerald eyes flashing with anger. "My answer is final, Serena Whitewind. You will live with your choice and support me as Queen of the Rivendell Sector. You may go."

Serena (no she thought defiantly, Anna, my name is Anna) was ushered out by two of Maeve's guards-both impossibly beautiful, of course, and impossibly strong. Serena was skilled herself in fighting, but her specialty was in archery and not hand to hand combat.

Maeve had revealed something important to Serena, however. It was possible to open the gate: the portal that had taken them all the land of Middle-earth. It was possible to go home again.

Home. The thought filled Serena with such pain she actually had to hold her stomach. She wanted her mother and father back again, and yes, even her annoying little sister. The tears fell freely now, and faster. Memories of happy times with her family flooded her being and temporarily took her away from her little room in the palace. But even though the tears fell and Serena felt helpless, something inside her hardened and came into focus: she would get out of Middle-earth if it killed her.

Maeve LaMorte paced her lavish office suite in anger. The office had originally belonged to Elrond Halfelven, until Maeve had deposed him. As some measure of respect she had left it untouched, even though the rest of his kingdom had been reshaped and rebuilt by her and her followers. After all, with hundreds of Maidens in the area, a larger building was needed to house them all, and to guard what was inside.

Maeve was still put out by her meeting with Serena that morning. How dare the girl come to her and want to go home? Was it not perfect here, was not her every need attended to? Something would have to be done if the girl did not fall back into line, as she couldn't have all the Maidens crying about missing their mommies and daddies and trying to breach the gate that separated the two worlds.

She finally sunk into an ornate chair and sighed. Ruling was such hard work and she had not anticipated the sheer amount of administration that would be needed when she took the office. Her eyes fell onto a glass case holding Elrond's ring of power: Vilya. Worthless now of course, but still beautiful.

The last five years had not added age or wrinkle to Maeve (or any other of the Maidens) but they had been exhausting. At first, there had only been a few of them, the Maidens from the modern world. Then they began to come in droves, all beautiful, all talented. The inhabitants of Middle-earth could hardly fight off their onslaught. Oh, Elves and Dwarves were powerful, and some of the Maidens had lost their lives, but in the end they were powerless. Who could stand against an army that was genetically perfect and had flawless fighting skills?

Then the in-fighting started and the Maidens were divided. After all, there was only one Aragorn, one Legolas, one Frodo, etc, and not all the Maidens could have one person. Outright murder became common and more Maidens were arriving every day. Resistance cells of native citizens were forming and fighting back against the Maiden's rule. Finally, the faction leaders, Maeve included, met to determine a solution to their common problem before war tore the beautiful land (and beautiful men) of Middle-earth apart. The gate that connected Middle-earth to the Modern World had to be closed.

It wasn't easy to do, and it meant that they were cut off from their families, but who cared as long as they had their utopia? Here they were Queens, leaders, and princesses, while there they were…

"Mary Sues" thought Maeve with a sneer. "A common name for a race of women who are perfection itself. No, the name would not do, so we rechristened ourselves as Maidens and set the world of Middle-earth to right."

Again a crease formed between her eyes as she looked at the long list of improvements and personnel reports that sat on her desk. While she believed the Maidens were the rightful heirs to Middle-earth, some Maidens had proved more…superior to others. It all depended on their character, really, and how well they could assimilate into the alternate realm. Some girls had to be cared for in the infirmary ("loony bin" she thought unkindly) because they could not handle the trauma of their pasts effectively. After all, who could sanely survive being gang raped by orcs or watch an entire village of people burn without incurring some sort of psychological defect? Or to choose to be so telepathic that every stimuli, every thought, intruded until the girl went mad?

"That's why I am Queen. I would not have made such a careless and stupid mistake," Maeve thought snidely to herself.

Maeve eyed the long list and again thought of Serena and a great weariness flooded her bones. She rubbed her temples and tried to massage the stress away. She needed a break, something to take her mind off of all the problems of the realm…

"Aragorn. I will see Aragorn tonight". Being Queen had its privileges.