Author's note: Aging of the elves always troubled me. In my stories, I decided the elves would age a little bit slower than men, but the difference is not significant. Elf-maiden Ellin, who is main female character in this story, is 85 years old. She is very young in the eyes of her people, of course; I guess you can imagine she's like a girl in 30's in our world.

Special thanx to my friend Sarah, who helped me in translation, and to Dancingkatz, who was kind of a "teacher" to me on , helping me to learn basic things here. I appreciate your advices very much.

Love against destiny

Prologue

Ellin tore her gaze from the mirror. The images were blurred and incoherent. Most scenes were full of pain, war was all around, houses were burning, dead bodies were lying around. Yet, some scenes were beautiful. In one such scene, Minas Tirith was shining white under the sun, the White Tree was blooming, and people were celebrating. She saw members of the Fellowship, gathered around the White Tree. She was there too. But... someone was missing! While the image was fading and another was emerging, Ellin realized that it was the man who belonged here was missing. Boromir!, her mind screamed, but the image had already vanished.

Her breath was heavy. She turned her gaze to Galadriel, who stood next to the mirror and observed her silently. Then she heard the voice of the Lady in her head. The will of the Ring will try to break the Fellowship. All of you will be put to the test.

This last image, answered the younger elf, also without speaking, tell me it wasn't true. Tell me we are all there. ALL.

The future is elusive, continued the silent voice of the Lady. But although the destiny may seem to be defined, it can be changed.

Galadriel didn't say anything for a while. Ellin felt as if the gaze of the Lady burned her soul. She held her breath, unwittingly.

Remember that when you reach Amon Hen, Galadriel said. The Ring will try to commit something evil. Not all the members of the Fellowship will pass Amon Hen, perhaps... and it is only love that can change destiny.

Amon Hen

Ellin was sitting in the boat, between Legolas and Gimli. She was Elrond's niece, a daughter of his younger sister. Ellin was two years younger than Aragorn and they had grown up together. They were companions in all children's games and later he became her best friend. When Ellin was fifteen, her mother and father, an elf from Rivendell, were killed in the Misty Mountains by the orcs, while travelling to Lothlorien. Aragorn and Elrond, who then became like a second father to her, helped her during the time of her grief. The event ended her childhood. Soon she started to learn how to use a sword and a bow, and unlike other elf women, several years later when she was fully trained, she joined her cousins Elladan and Elrohir and other elves in battles against the orcs. Sometimes she joined Aragorn and his Dunedain in their long travels and battles. She loved Middle-Earth, the forests, the rivers and the sky, and wanted to fight against the evil that tried to destroy her world. By the measure of her people, she was still very young. Her long hair was black and she had beautiful green eyes. When she smiled, her face seemed to shine.

The boats have finally touched the bottom and stopped on the western bank of Anduin. Aragorn jumped out off his boat and helped Frodo and Sam take out their luggage. Ellin, who was sitting in another boat between Legolas and Gimli, first stretched a little bit, and looked around. The terrain in front of them was rising mildly, and the hills were covered with forest. At the point where they stopped the river was still, but only one look towards the south, towards a distant cloud of tiny waterdrops, with silent but constant roaring, revealed that the river was pouring down from a great height. Ellin regreted she wouldn't be able to marvel at the Falls of Rauros, for she knew Aragorn intended to cross the lake during the night and go to the east. Then she took a brief look over her shoulder, towards the eastern shore, and shuddered. She could almost feel the evil that stretched its hands towards them.

Then Ellin looked back to the boat next to her. She shyly raised her gaze towards the man who was ready to step off the boat and met his gray eyes. For several moments, she couldn't take her eyes off him. She felt that familiar lurch in her stomach and tilted her head, pretending to be busy with her luggage. While her heart was beating like crazy, she stepped out off the boat clumsily and got wet. Grimacing and remonstrating with herself for being so clumsy, she came to the rest of the Fellowship. She put down her rucksack down with relief, because her hands had started to shake a little. She hoped nobody noticed it, especially not him.

Ellin sighed and returned to the coast. Now she looked to the south, where the river disappeared from her sight. But instead of the cloud above the waterfall, she saw Boromir's face. She was attracted to him from the very first day he rode in Rivendell, almost three months ago. He was tall and strong; the pride and strength of the Numenorean folk was written on his fair face. But Ellin could also see sorrow, for Boromir had passed through many battles against the orcs of Mordor, and the death of his companions left a trace in his eyes.

She was aware that the Fellowship had a very important task. They set on a quest to destroy the Ring, defeat Sauron and to eradicate evil from the face of the earth. She tried to focus on this and put her feelings aside. At first she succeeded, for the dangers that followed them during the way – wargs, orcs, traps of Moria – were too many and left no time for relaxation. But during the last two weeks they spent in Lothlorien, protected from all dangers of outside world, Ellin couldn't escape from herself and her feelings any more.

Every time she looked at him, her heart started to beat more quickly. In Lothlorien they often talked; she told him about her childhood, about her parents and how their death changed her life. He told her much about his younger brother Faramir whom he loved and appreciated very much, about his beloved homeland and his city, Minas Tirith. Now, she remembered every talk, smile and accidental touch that made her shudder.

A little while ago, while they were disembarking, his gaze was laid on her, she remembered. When raising her eyes towards him during the past days, she discovered he looked at her too, more and more often. He would smile at her, and it seemed she could see warmth in his eyes. A gentle smile appeared on her face, and she dared to hope he felt the same as she did.

"Where's Frodo?", Ellin heard Merry's frightened voice behind her. She shivered and came back to reality. Quickly she turned and saw members of the Fellowship restlessly looking around. Everyone was here, except Frodo. And Boromir.

In a flash, everything was messed up. The hobbits ran towards the forest, and after them Aragorn, Legolas and Gimly, trying to stop them from foolishly rushing into trouble and peril. "Watch over the camp!", shouted Aragorn to her while running, but she didn't mean to obey. She felt a threatening shadow, and maybe he was in danger. The elf ran into the forest.

Something forced her forward, led her legs even without her will. She didn't know where she was running, but she knew she had to hurry or else she'd be late.

Finally, she saw them among the trees. Abruptly she stopped, as if hitting a wall, as if some force held her. Boromir and Frodo didn't see her yet, being preoccupied by some discussion of their own. Ellin took a deep breath several times and shook her head. The Ring! She realized it was its evil will at work, it was the Ring that had made her legs so heavy, that threatened to bring discord between the man and the hobbit who stood there. The Ring! Her face frowned. Evil! She knew. The Ring tried to poison each one of them, it called and seduced... even Gandalf was afraid of it. She remembered the moments when even she had desired the Ring, imagining to rule Middle-Earth... and she was ashamed and terrified.

Ellin blinked and shook head again, trying to regain self-control, and focused on Boromir. She could feel his inner fight, his desire for the Ring and wish to resist. She also felt how the Ring was trying to trap the victim. But the look on his face gave her new strength and she moved towards them. Having heard the rustle of the leaves under her feet, the man and the hobbit turned their heads to her.

They didn't say a word, just stared at her, as if suddenly woken up. Returned back from the nightmare drawn into by the Ring, she realized. She drew near slowly, watching them. Her heart was beating quicky out of fear, for she was insecure and frightened that she could become victim of the Ring too. Boromir's face revealed he was torn between desire and honour. Watching her, he seemed to manage to regain his peace a bit, but his eyes still burned.

Ellin felt as if she couldn't breathe. The evil and malice of the Ring were heavy on them.

It is only love that can change destiny – the words echoed in her mind.

Ellin made another step, stood close to Boromir, and gently touched his hand. Then she held it tight, and he returned the touch. His touch gave her a new strength and she turned to Frodo, who was still staring upward at two tall figures in front of him. Her eyes widened. Go, read Frodo in her eyes. The hobbit didn't waste a single moment, having realized he had got the chance to run with his burden. He made only the slightest nod, turned and ran.

Boromir sighed and looked towards Frodo, as if for a moment he was disappointed that the hobbit had left. But then she held his hand stronger, and he turned his head to her. The Ring was going further and further, and with it also went away its evil influence that threathened them both. The weight that was upon him was now gone, and he became aware of her closeness and the warmth of her hand. Her face was quite near to his, her green eyes were looking at him, and his heart started to beat quicker. He felt her hand started to tremble. Little by little, he drew her closer, drooped his head towards her, and then softly touched her lips. Ellin closed her eyes and kissed him, overwhelmed by her feelings. Nothing else mattered, only that she is in his arms, only his kisses, only their love.

-x-x-x-

Soon after Frodo had left, the forest seemed to burn. Ellin exchanged a quick glance with Boromir and they ran towards the sound. Big uruks rushed from all around. Boromir was the one who had seen Merry and Pippin running in front a group of uruks. The enemies were quickly getting closer to their prey. Ellin and Boromir ran as fast as they could. In the last moment before an uruk grabbed one of the hobbits, Boromir jumped in front of him and cut him. Ellin ran after him and drew sword on the nearest enemy. The forest echoed with the sound of clashing swords.

They both fought with all their strength, but were forced to withdraw. It seemed the uruks were almost springing up from the earth; the moment they killed one, a new one would take his place. Boromir blew in his horn from time to time, but help didn't come. Ellin assumed the others were attacked by many uruks too.

She was scared... but not for herself. As everytime before now, a part of her was focused on Boromir. In spite of his great skill, she was afraid for him, for his life; she just couldn't help it. The thought of losing him terrified her. Eru, I've just found him, don't let anything happen to him... She continued to fight with a new strength, trying to concentrate only on uruks.

She cast a quick glance over her shoulder. The hobbits didn't run away, they stayed and tried to help by throwing stones on the uruks.

Two uruks attacked Boromir, each from one side. One of the biggest uruks she ever saw attacked her; he was more than two meters high and extremely strong. She hardly blocked his strikes, holding her sword with both hands. She withdrew but didn't see a tree behind her on time. With her left foot she stumbled on the root, twisted her ankle and fell with a cry of pain.

-x-x-x-

Lurtz, a big uruk whose attitude clearly showed it was someone used to command and be obeyed, stopped for a moment on a top of a hill. His soldiers ran and fought a man and an elf-woman who defended two halflings. His master told him to find such small creatures because they carried something of a great value, and the eager way this couple defended the small pest convinced him he had found his target.

He was furious. He has already lost too many fighters, for these two were hard nuts. He decided to finish this fight and reached for his bow. He decided to kill the man first, for he was more dangerous and skillful. After that, he probably won't have to waste the next arrow on the elf, for she was already on the ground; the uruk who knocked her down would easily finish her. The little ones will be in their hands then. Lurtz tilted the bow, aimed and released the arrow.

-x-x-x-

Boromir was attacked by two uruks at the same time. But he heard Ellin's scream clearer than any other sound, louder than uruk's battle cries. In the corner of his eye, he saw her falling and giant uruk stood above her. That short moment of inattention was enough, and he couldn't avoid the enemy's sword, which cut his left shoulder. But Boromir almost didn't feel it at all. In the same moment Pippin hit the uruk with a stone, he kicked him in the stomach and quicky stabbed another. Then he saw Ellin lying on the ground, trying to block the rival's attack; but the blow of his leg knocked the sword out of her hands. The uruk grinned and lifted his sword victoriously.

Without thinking, Boromir jumped towards him.

Only a tiny moment later, the arrow whizzed past and pierced Boromir's cloak that was still moving in the air as he jumped towards the uruk.

-x-x-x-

Ellin felt a strong pain in her wrist from where the uruk had knocked away her sword. The black face above her grinned viciously as he lifted his sword. She tried to reach a stone or a branch or anything she could use to strike with, but her finger only found dry leaves. She tried to slither away but he put his leg on her stomach. His huge strength disabled her movement, and he started to lower his sword.

In that moment he was cast to the ground. Ellin saw two figures rolling and realized Boromir had jumped on the uruk. Quickly she got up, took her sword and moved towards them. Her left ankle screamed in pain with every step but she didn't even notice it. She killed the uruk in the moment he pinched Boromir and took out his knife. Their eyes met and they understood each other without words. They read in their eyes they were well and then jumped on their feet, ready to continue to fight.

-x-x-x-

Lurtz cursed. He missed by a whisper, for the man jumped aside to save the elf-woman. They both rolled further, and she ran after them. When Lurtz saw she killed the uruk who was just about to slay the man, he cursed again. But then he saw something else that made him feel better. While those three were aside, his soldiers ran forth and caught unprotected halflings.

The task was accomplished. He shouted and gave orders that they run away together with the loot. He will take care of this couple, he thought and grinned, taking another arrow. He tilted the bow, aiming at the man who jumped on his feet and was ready to fight again.

-x-x-x-

Ellin heard the sound of the arrow that had passed right behind them. They both stood still for a moment, unable to oppose this new menace; swords were of no use against arrows and they were unprotected now. Then they heard cries of the hobbits and realized that the uruks had grabbed them. Ellin saw that the uruk aimed at them again and felt Boromir push her behind the nearest tree, to shelter.

But the next arrow came from the other side of the hill, and the uruk fell hit by the Lothlorien arrow. Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli finally came. Ellin found a little more strength in herself and tried to run, but her left ankle gave out at last. She fell on her knees and saw her friends kill the last uruks, who had fallen behind from their group.

"Ellin!", she heard Boromir's worried voice after they had killed the uruks.

"I'm fine", answered she, still sitting on the ground. "I'm not wounded, I only twisted my ankle."

"But you're wounded, Boromir", said Aragorn and came closer to Boromir.

"No, I'm not... what...", said Boromir, who didn't pay attention to his shoulder by now. His tunic was cut and there was a thin trickle of blood seeping from the wound on his shoulder. "Oh, that. It's nothing, just a scratch."

"The hobbits!", cried Ellin. "While we were fighting, they were taken away..."

The uruks and their prey were gone, already far from their sight.

"They're alive? You saw?", asked Aragorn

"Yes", she answered and nodded. "They're alive. The uruks just grabbed them and ran away."

"I have to check what happened with Frodo and Sam", said Aragorn. "You come down to our camp, and then we'll go after them."

He turned and quickly run with long strides.

Ellin smiled when Boromir knelt next to her. Then she looked at his shoulder, to see if he's really well, to make sure the wound was not heavy.

"It's fine", he whispered and held her. She held him tight, not wanting to let him go. Then she felt him lift her from the ground, as if she was light as a feather. He started to walk towards the bank, where their camp was.

"Boromir! No!", she protested. "I'll be to heavy, it's too far away, you'll get tired! You're wounded! Put me down, I'll be able to walk, I'll lean on you."

"Your request is denied". He shook his head and stood. He watched her for several moments, and then kissed her. "I'm not letting you out of my arms."

She gave up protesting, put her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes. For a long time, she hasn't felt so good, so calm, so safe and protected.

-x-x-x-

A little later, in their camp, Boromir put her down. Ellin made a few cautious steps, leaning on Boromir. Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas were already there. One boat was missing.

"Frodo and Sam left. They crossed the river and went to Mordor. They're out of our reach now."

Ellin sighed. Perhaps it had to be that way. The Fellowhip separated, but there was still hope.

"Now we have to think about Merry and Pippin", continued Aragorn. "We have to go after the uruks, while they have not gone too far."

Ellin lowered her head. She couldn't go with them, that was clear, and she didn't want to be a burden who slowed them down. On the other hand, if anyone stayed with her, it would mean a loss for the hunt. She almost felt guilty for twisting the ankle. But before she could say anything, she heard Aragorn's voice.

"I'll look at your wound now, Boromir. I don't agree it's nothing."

Boromir wanted to protest but Aragorn was quicker. He moved the torn glove to one side and looked carefully at the wound. The blood coloured the glove in red. The wound was neither heavy nor deep, but it had to be properly taken care of.

"It's true it's not heavy, but it's best if you don't go in pursuit", he said thoughtfully. "Anyway someone must stay with Ellin."

Boromir didn't answer. He wanted to do all he could at once – help Ellin, help Aragorn free the hobbits, and go to his city to help his people. But then Ellin lifted her head decisively.

"I'm sorry I'm the problem now, but we can not change it now. I also know that Boromir wants to ignore his wound and help all of us", said she, as if reading his mind, smiling at him gently. But then she got serious again. "I would like to help too. But it'll be as you said. We'll stay, you'll go after them. You can't waste time. The uruks are running away, and you must leave immediately."

Aragorn nodded. He looked and saw Gimli and Legolas were ready.

"I'll take care of Boromir's shoulder", continued Ellin. "It was not just you who had learned from Elrond how to heal."

Aragorn smiled and nodded, though there were still traces of worry in his eyes.

"Be careful."

"Of course. Don't worry", answered she. "We'll make it. I'm limping, but I can walk. We'll find the path down through the forrest and carry one boat. They are very light. After the falls, it'll be easy."

"She's right. We'll make it", added Boromir. "You just hurry now."

"Go", said Ellin to Aragorn, quietly but decisively. "Go and save them. We'll be alright."

He nodded. Then he turned away from her and hurried to his rucksack, taking only a few most necessary things. Ellin made a few more steps, testing her ankle. It hurt, but she decided she'd endure the way throught the forest. She had no choice anyway.

Aragorn was ready in a moment. He came back to Ellin, laid his hand on her shoulders, and looked at her.

"Take care, my little sister..." he whispered, and then smiled, "...my sister who is in love."

Ellin blushed, but continued to smile.

"I'm so glad for you", he added quietly and gave her a hug.

"You also take care", she answered when they separated, trying not to sound worried. "Find them and save them!"

Aragorn came to Boromir then. The two men shook hands, and then hugged briefly, with a quick glance and smile. They understood each other without words. I'll take care of her, Boromir's eyes said.

The three hunters quickly disappeared from sight. Ellin smiled to the man who had stood next to her. His gray eyes returned her the look full of love. In his arms, the images of war were quickly fading from memory.

-x-x-x-

About two hours later, the sun touched the western horizon. Having entered the boat, Ellin felt relief. Finally her ankle could rest.

Since Aragorn, Legolas and Gimly have left, she and Boromir were walking down the steep path through the forest. Although elvish boats were light, they progressed slowly, because of her ankle. But finally they made it and a little further from the Falls of Rauros they found a suitable point to push the boat in the river and continue their way. Before entering the boat, Ellin looked up and gazed breathlessly. The Falls of Rauros, which she first saw now, were huge and magnificent.

They moved on. They didn't go very fast, for Boromir did not row with his full strength, because of his wounded shoulder. Although his wound was not deep, it was better not to place too much strain on his arm. While it was getting dark, Ellin watched the water she was slicing with her oar. They were still very far, but with every stroke, with every meter, they were closer to Minas Tirith.

To home.