Well, that was nearly anticlimactic. . .but since her short-term goals were reached, she would complain little. Pelagia wished Craig McFarlane was still alive, so she could thank him for his part in his granddaughter's decision. And she knew Craig was responsible, to a large degree, for the decision Megan made. Yes, Christine Madsen and her attitude played a part, but so did Craig. In a way, it reminded her of why she brought Boromir to this time.

The world always needed heroes. Not just to save the day, not just to go to someone's rescue. But heroes also inspired people, to be the best they could be. Wasn't that the entire lure of superheroes? Not just the concept of saving a life or saving the world, but didn't young (and not so young) people look up to those superheroes? To Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman and others? Why should it be any different for ordinary heroes, for people such as her champions?

She saw that in the life of Bethany Lawson, tragically short though it was. As Tom Farrell said, Megan was one of her heroines. In the young detective, Bethany saw what she could be. . .what she could have been. As a future archaeologist, she viewed herself as a detective, helping to solve ancient mysteries. Perhaps Bethany would have saved no lives, but the fact remained. . .she was inspired by her heroes and her heroines. The world, life, was a gigantic tapestry, and all threads were interwoven. Boromir's time, and task, in Middle-earth was concluded. But there was still good he could do, in the present time, fighting alongside her other Champions.

Time was not linear to Pelagia. But even some things in the future were cloudy for her to see. She feared that something was coming. Something terrible. The fact that the future was so cloudy for her worried her. And that was the final reason she brought Boromir here. Pelagia knew her champions and those whom they loved would need all the help they could get.

Gorthaur. . .Sauron. . .was long gone. Melkor. . .Morgoth. . .was still chained, and Pelagia was quite certain it was not yet time for him to be unchained. But they were far from the only evils of the ancient, ancient world. A warrior from those lost days would be helpful, once his memory returned. Pelagia knew. . .she knew. . .that the returning evil was the reason she was permitted to bring Boromir to this time. And until this new/old threat revealed itself, he would have some time to regain his strength and recover his memories. He would have some time to learn about his new world, about his new people. And most importantly of all, he would have time to find the other members of the Fellowship.

The Fellowship. Yes. There was one thing she had to do, and it was best to do it now. Pelagia knew that both Galadriel and Mithrandir sensed it when she drew Boromir into this world. She also knew that the young prince of Greenwood would be venturing forth into the world of Men, to find his missing friend, along with Haldir of Lorien. That was all to the good. But it was time she went to Valinor and warned Olorin and Galadriel not to interfere with her Champions. Now, before Haldir and Legolas departed.



They were almost ready. Legolas took a deep breath, then released it, looking around the hangar. He could hardly call it a dock, since they were underwater, and 'hangar' was a word he learned while in the world of Men. It seemed to fit. A last minute conference with Cirdan assured him that all the protective measures were in place. Once they reached the coast of British Columbia, Legolas would be able to shift into stealth mode (another phrase he learned from Men), and the shuttle would be safe from prying eyes.

Of course, Cirdan could do nothing about the next phase. . .getting from the shoreline to Legolas' home. It was becoming quite complicated to move about in the world of Men without drawing suspicion, but Legolas enjoyed the challenge. He was also immensely grateful that he learned to drive during one of his previous visits. . . though he hated cars with a passion. He preferred walking or riding a horse, but that wasn't always practical.

Well, he would deal with that problem once it arose. For now, he cast a practiced gaze over the supplies that were even now being loaded into the shuttle. They were scheduled to leave Aman in just a few hours, and before their departure, Lady Galadriel wanted to speak with them. In some ways, it reminded him of the Fellowship's leave-taking from Lothlorien, so many ages ago. Legolas touched the item at his hip, fingers lightly caressing the curves. This was something Gimli's reincarnation made for him, all those years ago in Wales, when he remembered his past. It seemed fitting, that it accompanied Legolas and Haldir on their journey back into the world of Men.

And speaking of Haldir. . .Legolas turned as his companion entered the hangar. The prince swallowed a laugh, seeing an unlikely object slung over the back of Haldir's shoulder. The former MarchWarden was carrying a denim backpack the prince bought during their previous voyage into the world of Men. More than a few Elves were eyeing him with astonishment, but Haldir paid no mind to him. Instead, he strode up to Legolas, asking, "Is all ready?"

"I believe so. We have enough food for three weeks, though I believe it will take less time than that to reach British Columbia. We must be cautious. Using the device I brought back after our last journey, Elrohir and Elladan constructed a radar-jamming mechanism, but we must not be careless," Legolas replied. Haldir nodded. After their return to Valinor fifty years earlier, the twin sons of Elrond became fascinated with the inventions of men, and that fascination grew exponentially. They were at the forefront of the attempt to hack into the internet from under the sea. That was no surprise. On the other hand, that their mother Celebrian was becoming equally fascinated with such things was a surprise.

Haldir observed softly, "There has been a slight change of plan, thanks to Lady Celebrian." Oh? The former MarchWarden continued, "Aye. She convinced the Lady of the Wood to come here to wish us a good voyage, rather than having an audience in her chambers." Legolas permitted his eyebrows to raise in surprise. Now that was surprising! Haldir gave a minute shrug, adding, "Lady Celebrian pointed out that Lord Elrond and Mithrandir's opposition to our journeys in the past is well-known. It is the Lady's wish that everyone now know that we have support in this venture."

As he spoke, the Lady entered with her husband, daughter, son-in-law and grandsons. Legolas smiled and dipped his head when his eyes met Lady Celebrian's. She was as beautiful as her mother and daughter. Appearing no older than a mortal of thirty or thirty-five, Lady Celebrian inherited her blonde hair and blue eyes from her mother. And, Legolas learned during his first century in Valinor, her sons inherited her merry disposition. He quickly grew to like her very much, for while her sons inherited her temperament, they did not necessarily inherit her restraint. The twins flanked their mother protectively. Even after all these eons, the memory of her torment at the hands of the orcs remained fresh in their minds. . .even here, in Valinor.

"You go forth to seek a lost fellow, Prince Greenleaf, and take with you a loyal friend," Lady Galadriel intoned. Legolas felt his shoulders straightening, as if of their own accord, especially when his father entered the hangar behind the Lothlorien/Imladris contingent with Gandalf. The Lady continued, "Know that you go with our blessing, and return to us safely."

Legolas had none of the gifts of the Lady. Even so, he sensed something. . .different. . .in the air as soon as she spoke. Something strange. Beside him, Haldir shifted uneasily. He felt it as well. Glancing around at the other Elves, Legolas realized that everyone felt it. And whatever just happened, it seemed to be focused around the shuttle that would take Legolas and Haldir back into the world of men.

"I, too, wish a safe and speedy journey to the Prince of the Greenwood and your loyal MarchWarden," an unfamiliar voice said. Legolas turned his head in the direction of the voice. . .to find a stunningly beautiful elleth standing on the ramp to the shuttle. How. . .? The elleth continued, "I come with a blessing of my own. . .and a warning. I will not hinder the journey of Prince Greenleaf and Haldir. Indeed, I wish to see them succeed. But know this. I will tolerate no interference where Boromir of Gondor is concerned."

Mithrandir started to speak, but the elleth wasn't finished. She continued, "I brought him forward in time and healed the worst of his wounds. I have my own reasons for that, but know this: I mean him no harm. Nor will he come to harm in the care of the three women who have found him." She knew of the three women. . .the warriors and the healer whom Lady Galadriel saw in her mirror?

"And why would we trust you?" Mithrandir asked gruffly. The elleth looked at him directly, her eyes reminding Legolas of blue chips of ice. Not a word was said, but Legolas could see Mithrandir's reaction to her direct stare. For the first time in an eternity, the wizard actually backed down. If Legolas hadn't seen it for himself, he would have never believed it. The elleth looked away from the White Wizard, and returned her gaze to Legolas.

She smiled, saying softly, "May you reach your destination, Prince Greenleaf, in safety and in stealth. May you find your missing fellow. You know what you must do now." And with that, she was gone. Simply. . .no longer there. Legolas shook his head, trying to clear it. It wasn't simply her appearance and disappearance that stunned him. . .no, the reactions of Gandalf and Lady Galadriel also startled him. The Lady was staring at the space the elleth briefly inhabited.

Lady Celebrian asked softly, "Mother? Mother, what is it?" She lay a gentle hand on her mother's forearm, her blue eyes reflecting concern. Though her hair was pale blonde, rather than raven, the similarity to her daughter Arwen took the prince's breath away. He saw that expression on Arwen's face many times after Aragorn accepted his birthright as King of Gondor and Arnor.

"I know that elleth," Lady Galadriel whispered, "I know her face, it is so familiar to me. But I cannot remember her name." She shook her head, and Legolas saw her shaking away the vestiges of whatever touched her. The Lady straightened and inclined her head to Legolas, saying quietly, "You know where you go, and why you must go. Go forth now and do your duty." It reminded Legolas of Aragorn's command to Faramir after he was crowned Elessar. . .'that office is not yet ended. Rise and do your duty.' Which he did, both as steward and as father.

Elboron. The prince smiled, remembering again the young boy who set his feet on this path with his innocent question, so many years earlier. Haldir asked softly, "What did she mean, Legolas? When she told you that you knew what you had to do? She meant something other than this journey." Legolas nodded, once more caressing the item at his waist. Yes. Yes, he knew exactly what she meant.

"Nearly a century ago, the reincarnation of a dear friend made this for me. It was a reminder of what we won and lost, so many ages ago. Perhaps he saw this day coming," Legolas told his friend. He unhooked that precious gift and added with a grin, "You might wish to step back, Haldir." The former MarchWarden did just that, backpedaling with a slightly alarmed expression. Legolas had no clue why. Of course not. Lady Celebrian, on the other hand, was smiling broadly. He knew he liked her. She inclined her head, pale hair falling around her face, and Legolas explained, "This is a recreation of the Horn of Gondor. The heir of the Steward carried it with him, and should he blow it within the borders of his country, it would draw assistance. When we left Imladris, Boromir blew it. . .because he refused to go like a thief in the night."

"I remember that," Gandalf muttered, "and I could have happily strangled him for it right then and there!" Legolas ignored the mumblings. At the time, he agreed with Gandalf, for that was the entire purpose of having such a small company. . .that and to counteract the Nine Ringwraiths. However, he also understood Boromir far better now. And to honor his friend, he would do this thing.

Legolas continued, "The last time I heard it, Boromir was calling desperately for aid as he defended Merry and Pippin against the Uruk-hai. It was in vain. . .we were too late to save him. I blow it now. I will not go forth and seek my friend, behaving as a thief in the night! I will not be shamed into being silent! I want those who would harm my friend to know. . .I am coming! And should they cause him any hurt, I want them to flee in terror, knowing I will come for them. Boromir. . .I am coming!"

With those words, he blew a long, determined blast from the horn. Lady Celebrian was smiling from ear to ear, her bright eyes filled with. . .pride. Yes. She looked proud. And. . .and so did his father. Haldir cringed a little, but he was smiling as well. That was fine. But Legolas made a vow, and he would not fail. I am coming, Boromir, he thought as he replaced the horn on his belt, I am coming, and this time, I will not be too late!

The Beginning

In the next story, the amnesiac currently known as 'Michael' will depart Raleigh for Campbell. He faces a new series of challenges in A Whole New World. As he gains his strength and learns more of this new language, Michael will need to find a new purpose. At the same time, Legolas and Haldir reach British Columbia and begin their search.

Thank you to everyone who has read and/or reviewed. Special thanks to Pipkin Sweetgrass. . .my brother and sisters of the Gwethil. . .and everyone who has made a suggestion or pointed out an error. I'll leave you with a cast list for the Champions series. This is a list of actors who served as mental models while I was creating the characters, and not all characters mentioned have been introduced. In one case, a character was re-cast, to avoid giving myself a migraine. If someone else comes to mind while you're reading this, by all means. . .this is just whom I imagine in these roles.

Cast list:

Boromir/Michael: Sean Bean (of course)

Detective Megan Rafferty: Dana Barron

Detective Elena Gutierrez: Patricia Velazquez

Kristin Rafferty: Grace Park

Detective Christine Madsen: Katee Sackhoff

Detective Charles Aubrey: Morgan Freeman

Dalton Robeson: Eric Close

Francis Rafferty: Daniel Pilon

Ailsa Rafferty: Louise Sorel

Captain Lydia Anders: Gwynyth Walsh

Mayor Thomas Farrell/Sergeant Richard Dennison: Tim Dunigan

Brendan Farrell: Elijah Wood

Dr. Arabella Trask: Robbi Chong

Pelagia: Monika Schnarre

Elrohir/Elladan: Angel Ortiz

Elrond: Hugo Weaving

Celeborn: Marton Csokas

Gavin Rafferty (USMC retired): Ted King (originally Adam Baldwin, until I discovered the girls were Serenity/Firefly fans)

Legolas Thranduilion: Orlando Bloom

Dr. Ronan Daly: John Rhys-Davies

Haldir: Craig Parker

Galadriel: Cate Blanchett

Celebrian: Kristin Lehman

Finduilas (flashbacks): Laurie Holden

Gandalf: Ian McKellen

Regine Dennison Farrell: Constance Towers

(why yes, I do have several soap actors in here, now that you mention it!)

Also, the following albums and musicians served as a 'soundtrack' while I was writing this:

Atlantis, by David Arkenstone

Jennifer Licko (a Celtic musician born and raised in North Carolina)

Greatest Hits, Air Supply

Ancient Muse, by Loreena McKennitt

Night at the Museum soundtrack