A/N & Disclaimer: This is a repost of my first LotR fanfic. This is a Legolas/OFC fic, and takes place beginning just after the Bridge at Khazad-Dum part of Fellowship of the Ring (the movie) and will continue past the end of Return of the King (the movie). You will read many things that you recognize from the movies, and you will see some AU (DUH), though I will try to keep it as close to the movies as I can. I have basically rewritten parts of the movie with an OFC added in. Any similarities you may see with someone else's fanfic is by coincidence only. Obviously, since this is a Legolas/OFC story, it will follow Legolas' journey through the movies, so you won't see a lot of Frodo, Sam and Gollum. I've always felt that disclaimers were ridiculous. Obviously, I don't own anything you recognize. I don't pretend to own anything you recognize. If I did, it wouldn't be "fan" fiction. I enjoy the characters from these books and films, and appreciate the opportunity to be able to "play" with them a little bit.

OFC- Dúvainiel, which means "Beautiful Darkness" and "Daughter", so she is the daughter with beautiful darkness (her coloring, not her attitude)

And now, may I present for your reading pleasure (I hope), Dúvainiel's Story.

-

Dúvainiel shifted from her position on the branch. She was restless. Day in and day out, the meticulous guarding of the borders of Lothlorien was getting monotonous. Hours and hours of standing, or sometimes sitting, on the tree branches and doing nothing else but searching the horizon for any signs of movement made Dúvainiel nearly insane with boredom. If only she could read or sing to pass the time. But no, Dúvainiel thought to herself as she reached up and violently yanked a leaf from the branch above her. The tree groaned at her in protest and she muttered an apology. Haldir, the Marchwarden of the elves guarding the northern border, had insisted that full attention must be given to the task at hand. Thinking about it now, Dúvainiel scoffed as she impatiently pushed a strand of dark brown hair out of her face. As if anything exciting ever happened around here that would cause all this fuss. He always put her as far from any action he thought would come. She figured Haldir just did it to annoy her. Isn't that what older brothers did to their baby sisters? She would get him back though- him and her other brothers too, Rumil and Orophin. She just knew the three of them were in on it together. They often were when it came to tormenting the youngest of the clan- her.

Just as she was about to tear the leaf to pieces, movement in the corner of her eyes caught her attention. She snapped her head up and looked out at the horizon where she saw eight figures moving toward the woods at a quick pace. She whistled four short times and listened for the response. Once she heard it, she quickly moved down the base of the tree to the forest floor, and hid herself out of site, bow and arrow in hand and ready to use. All that training was at last going to get some use. In only a few minutes she heard the trespassers enter the forest.

"Stay close young hobbits! They say there's a great sorceress lives in these woods. An elf-witch of terrible power. All who look upon her fall under her spell…" she heard one of them say, "...and are never seen again"

Dúvainiel's eyes narrowed at the words. Surely he was not referring to the Lady of the Golden Wood. Then she realized, Hobbits! In Lothlorien!! Dúvainiel had never seen a Hobbit, but had heard many stories of the small ones. Curiosity got the better of her, and she cautiously peeked around the tree to get a look. They were so little- like children! Just then, one of them stopped, and Dúvainiel jerked back behind the tree.

"Mr. Frodo?" a different voice asked.

Dúvainiel cautiously peeked around the tree again. She was surprised to see a Dwarf among the group and narrowed her eyes once more. Haldir made a movement to her from up ahead. She nodded slowly, showing she understood.

"Well, here is one Dwarf she won't ensnare so easily. I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox."

Just then, Lothlorien elves appeared from around the trees, surrounding the group of intruders with their bows drawn. Dúvainiel had her arrow aimed at an elf in the group. He just as instantly had his aimed at her. She arched an eyebrow at him.

"The Dwarf breathes so loud, we could have shot him in the dark," Haldir sneered. Dúvainiel rolled her eyes, both at her brother, and the Dwarf, who growled. Haldir made a motion to the Lothlorien elves, and each put their weapons away. The elf with the other group put his away as well.

"The ground is not safe so close to the border. Follow," Haldir said and motioned for them to follow. Dúvainiel fell behind and walked behind the entire group. Her mind was working overtime. Who were these strangers? What were they doing here? Why were the Halflings so far from the Shire? Who were the men that dared enter the elven realm?

Finally, they climbed the stairs to a flet and Haldir stopped. Dúvainiel walked over to her brother and stood beside him.

"Mae govannen, Legolas Thranduilion (Welcome Legolas, son of Thranduil)," Haldir said to the elf. She looked at her brother in surprise. How did he know this other elf?

"Govannas vîn gwennen le, Haldir o Lórien (Our Fellowship stands in your debt, Haldir of Lórien)," Legolas replied. Again, Dúvainiel arched an eyebrow at the unfamiliar ellon.

Haldir turned his attention to one of the men, one who looked vaguely familiar to Dúvainiel, "A, Aragorn in Dúnedain istannen le ammen. (Oh, Aragorn of the Dúnedain, you are known to us)."

Aragorn. Of course. Dúvainiel grinned at him, remembering the last time he found himself in Lothlorien, when he fell in love with Evenstar. Dúvainiel noticed the pendant hanging around his neck.

He made a respectful gesture and slight bow to her brother, and acknowledged him with, "Haldir."

The conversation might have gone on, had it not been for the next comment, this time from the Dwarf.

"So much for the legendary courtesy of the Elves! Speak words we can all understand!"

Haldir glared at the Dwarf, "We have not had dealings with the Dwarves since the Dark Days."

"And you know what this Dwarf says to that? Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul! (I spit upon your grave!)" Dúvainiel felt the hair on the back of her neck stand on end. How dare that Dwarf speak to her brother that way! She was just about to say so when Aragorn interrupted her thoughts.

"That was not so courteous."

Dúvainiel agreed. In fact, she felt there was much more she could say about the matter. She sniffed disdainfully at the Dwarf and turned her nose upward, just slightly.

Haldir, in the meantime, turned his attention to one of the Halflings.

"You bring great evil with you," he said, then turned to Aragorn once again, "You can go no further."

With that, Haldir turned and walked away. Dúvainiel glanced at the dwarf and sniffed again, and then followed her brother, her nose firmly in the air. They had only made it a few steps, however, when Aragorn brushed past her.

"Haldir!" he called out. Haldir turned at look at him. "Boe ammen veriad lîn. Andelu i ven! (We need your protection. The road is fell!)"

"Sa farn palan (This is far enough)," Haldir replied.

"Merin le telim (I wish we may come with you)."

"Amin hiraetha (I'm sorry)."

Dúvainiel could see that Aragorn was getting irritated with her brother. She turned her attention to the rest of the group, only half listening to Aragorn and Haldir as the continued their discussion.

"Henio, aníron boe ammen i dulu lîn! (Please, understand, we need your support!)" Aragorn said as Dúvainiel tuned them out.

She'd never seen Halflings before. They reminded her of elven children, except for the sadness in their eyes, and the worry etched in each small face. She saw one Halfling that seemed to be separate from the rest. He had his knees drawn up to his chest, with his arms wrapped around them. Everyone seemed to be looking at him. Then she noticed the other man from the group speaking to him, and she wished that she could hear what he was saying. So far, none of this was making too much sense to her. If she were just a little closer…

Haldir stepped in front of her, blocking her view, as he took a step toward the little Halfling that was curled up, "You will follow me."

With that, he turned and walked away, not waiting to see if the group followed him.

"Haldir," Dúvainiel said, catching up to him.

"Later, Little One."

Dúvainiel stopped walking and glared at her older brother. How she hated it when he called her that! She wasn't an elfling! Of course, he said it because he knew it made her angry. She sighed, and continued the walk, now just behind the group of outsiders. The odd group walked in silence for a couple of hours, until they climbed a ridge and stopped.

"Caras Galadhon," Haldir said, his voice filled with pride, "the heart of Elvendom on earth. Realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, Lady of Light."

They climbed down the ridge and wound their way around trees and up stairs, elves from all over the realm stopping to watch them as they walked past. They reached the staircase that led to the Lord and Lady, and the elves that had accompanied the group to Caras Galadhon walked away from the group, except for Haldir who led them, and Dúvainiel, who followed at the back of the group. Dúvainiel again took notice of the elves in the other trees and on the forest floor, who were now going out of their way to stop and look at the group. How odd they must have looked, she thought.

They reached the top at last. Haldir took his place to the right of the staircase which the Lord and Lady would enter on, and Dúvainiel took her place to the left of the staircase. She looked at each member of the group, resting at last when her eyes met those of the elf, Legolas. He had a nice voice and she wished to hear him speak again.

The light in the room brightened considerably, and Dúvainiel looked up to the top of the grand staircase and watched as the Lord and Lady descended. She bowed respectfully.

Lord Celeborn was the first to speak, "The Enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone. Eight there are here, yet nine there were, set out from Rivendell. Tell me, where is Gandalf? For I much desire to speak with him. I can no longer see him from afar."

There was a long moment of silence, too long. Dúvainiel felt a knot rise in her stomach.

"He has fallen into shadow," Lady Galadriel said, breaking the silence.

Dúvainiel gasped as she and Lord Celeborn both looked upon the Lady in disbelief.

Legolas confirmed it, "He was taken by both Shadow and Flame- a Balrog of Morgoth. For we went needlessly into the net of Moria."

Dúvainiel heard no more. Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered the kind wizard. She looked up at Haldir, who had a sad and serious look on his face. She blinked back the tears, forcing them to stop. Finally, she focused again on the Lady's words.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you will sleep in peace." Here she paused. Then, "Dúvainiel."

"My Lady," Dúvainiel said, as she stepped forward and bowed.

"I ask that you take our guests to the clearing. Help them get settled in, and see that their needs are taken care of."

"Yes, My Lady," Dúvainiel replied, bowing again. She turned to the group and gestured, "If you would please follow me back down."

She led the way to the bottom of the staircase, and followed the path around some trees and down more stairs. Finally, they came to a clearing. She was not at all surprised to see an area already made for the comfort and sleeping needs of the group.

"You may bed here," she said, gesturing to the area. Then, pointing to her left, "There is where you will find an area to bathe and change your clothing. If you leave your dirty clothes, they will be cleaned and returned to you. Food will be brought. Is there anything else you require?"

They each shook their heads.

"I am called Dúvainiel. If you should need anything, all you need to do is say my name. The Lady will inform me, and I will come at once. Quel kaima (sleep well)."

With that, she bowed to the group, and left them in peace. Within moments, she heard the beginnings of the Lament, and joined in as she made her way to her home, singing in grief.

A Olórin i yaresse (Olórin who once was)
Mentaner i Numeherui (Sent by the Lords of the West)
Tírien i Rómenóri (To guard the Lands of the East)

Melme nóren sina (Our love for this land)
núra ala (Is deeper than the deeps)
Eäro (Of the sea)

Maiaron i Oiosaila, (Wisest of all Maiar,)
Manan elye etevanne (What drove you to leave)
Nórie i malanelye? (That which you loved?)
Ilfirin nairelma (Yet we will cast all away)
ullume nucuvalme. (Rather than submit.)
Nauva i nauva (What should be shall be)

Ú-reniathach (No more will you wander)
i amar galen (The green fields of this earth)
I reniad lín ne môr, nuithannen. (Your journey has ended in darkness.)

For the first time in a long time, Dúvainiel felt despair. She laid on her bed, with her face buried in her pillow, and sobbed until she fell asleep.

Someone was calling her name.

"Dúvainiel!"

Her eyes snapped open and she found Orophin giving her an odd look.

"Get up, Little One. The Lady requests your presence," he told her, and then turned and left her alone.

She was out of bed immediately, after all, one did not keep The Lady waiting. She looked outside and saw that it was indeed morning already. As quickly as she could, she cleaned herself up and put on fresh clothes. Grabbing her belt, sword, and quiver and bow, she was out the door before anyone else had a chance to tell her good morning. She sprinted down the stairs, through the trees and back up the stairs to Galadriel's meeting area, where Galadriel herself was waiting. Dúvainiel bowed.

"You sent for me, My Lady?"

"Dúvainiel, please come. Sit with me a while," the Lady Galadriel said as she gestured to the empty cushion beside her.

Dúvainiel did as she was told, squirming slightly under the weight of the Lady's watchful eyes.

"You are unhappy," the Lady said. It was not a question.

"My Lady?"

Galadriel said nothing for a moment. She stood and walked to an open area in the wall of the talon and looked down to the forest floor.

"When your parents died, and your brothers were left to raise you, I did all I could to be a mother to you and teach you how to be a lady."

Galadriel walked over put her hand on the younger elleth's cheek.

"You not only look like your mother, but you have her spirit as well. She was never one to conform, either. I believe it is why your father loved her as much as he did."

The Lady of the Wood paused and wandered back to the open space to look down again on the forest floor. Finally, she broke her silence, "There is a request I would make of you, Dúvainiel. A personal favor."

Dúvainiel tried to hide her surprise as she waited quietly for Galadriel to continue.

"The group you met yesterday, The Fellowship of the Ring… the Hobbit Frodo, carries The One Ring to Mordor to destroy it."

This time, Dúvainiel could not hide her surprise, as she gasped. The One Ring! Here in Lothlorien! It was no wonder Haldir had wanted to keep the Halfling away!

"Without Gandalf," the Lady continued, "I worry that the quest will fail. Should it fail…"

Galadriel paused, the weight of her words hanging between them.

"I would ask that you join the Fellowship, Dúvainiel."

At first she said nothing. Join that group of males? To destroy the evil Ring? Surely this was a joke.

"I assure you, I am not joking, Dúvainiel. Of course, I thought about sending one of your brothers, but as you say, a group of males- they need the balance. And you can help them in ways your brothers couldn't."

Dúvainiel looked scandalized. Surely she wasn't suggesting…

"No, I wasn't," Galadriel responded in an amused tone, "Your brothers are capable warriors, but you, Dúvainiel, also have the ability to negotiate, to ease troubled hearts, and heal others when needed."

There was another pause.

"There are others I could ask, but I believe you would be well suited to this task. You have the ability to fight alongside them- being raised by three older brothers has its advantages," her crystal blue eyes sparkled. "But you have a softer touch as well- one that is needed in such dark times."

"Of course, my Lady. Do they know?" Dúvainiel asked, hardly believing what was happening.

"I have already spoken with Aragon this morning. He understands the need for nine. They will rest for 7 days longer, and then the journey will continue by river. Will you be ready?"

Dúvainiel looked into the Galadriel's eyes, "Yes, my lady."

"Gen hannon (I thank you)," Lady Galadriel said, as she walked over to Dúvainiel, placed her hand on Dúvainiel's shoulder, and gave it a comforting squeeze, then left the room.

Dúvainiel made her way down to the clearing where she had led the group the night before.

"'Quel amrun (good morning)," she said when she saw Legolas and Aragorn.

"Quel amrun," Legolas replied. Aragorn nodded to her.

"Good morning," she said to the rest of the group. A few of them muttered in return. "May I join the group for breakfast?" she asked Aragorn.

"Of course, my lady," he told her, gesturing for her to join them.

"Le hannon (thank you). And please, call me Dúvainiel."

"As you wish."

The other man, Boromir she later learned he was called, came over and joined them. The dwarf was still asleep, and the hobbits had already eaten once already. There was an uncomfortable silence as they ate, and then the two men began to speak to each other about the journey. Dúvainiel looked at Legolas.

"Would you like to take a walk when we are finished?" she asked.

"I would like that. This is the first time that I have been to Lothlorien."

She smiled at him, and they finished eating. He stood up and held out his hand to her. She took it and he pulled her up, let go of her hand and she led them away.

"So… Legolas? Where are you from?" she asked, trying to make conversation.

"Mirkwood," he told her shortly, not offering any other information.

"You're far from home," she said, sounding sad. "Do you miss it?"

"I miss my father, but other than that, no. I've been confined there all my life."

She understood that!

"That's me as well. I was rather surprised by the Lady's request for me to join The Fellowship. I'm surprised my brothers would allow it, not that they have much of a choice." After all, when Lady Galadriel asked something of you, you did it without argument.

She led him around trees and off a path, deep into the forest.

"When my father asked for volunteers to go to Imladris, I nearly jumped at the chance. I was also surprised by his permission to leave Mirkwood."

The sound of rushing water met their sensitive ears, and Dúvainiel led him closer to it. They rounded a corner where a waterfall came into sight. It was at least forty feet tall, and it was one of Dúvainiel's most favorite places in the world. What led her to bring him to it, she didn't know. She had never taken anyone there. They came to the edge of the water, and then moved towards the falls. Dúvainiel began to climb the rocks on the edge, and looked back at Legolas.

"You coming?" she challenged.

He took a step up and followed her lead. She led them up and then behind the falls to a cave. Once inside the cave, she looked at the blankets and wood she had left the last time. She knelt down and began to rub the flint with the wood. The fire lit, and she added more wood to it.

"I come here a lot," she explained as she sat down and gestured for Legolas to join her. When he did, she continued, "It's quiet, and no one bothers me here."

Blue eyes met her brown as he smiled at her, and she felt her stomach do flips. My, but he was handsome. Maybe the journey wouldn't be so bad, after all.

"Tell me of the journey so far," she said.

It was the most she had heard him say, so far, and she felt lulled by his deep, calm voice as he told her of his journey to Imladris from Mirkwood, and then the Fellowship's journey from Imladris. She focused in on the flames of the fire as he told his story, and deep within those flames, she saw it. As though looking through Legolas' eyes, she saw visions of crebain, the snow and winds of Carhadhras, and the death of Moria. Her eyes filled with tears at the sight of Gandalf, falling into the darkness.

"Dúvainiel? Dúvainiel?" Legolas said in a concerned tone.

Her eyes came into focus on his face as a single tear slid down her cheek.

"To see the past through another's eyes… it my gift from the Valar," she told him, wishing the image of Gandalf would leave her mind.

Legolas nodded in understanding, and reached over to grasp her hand. They sat silently for a while, Legolas holding her hand in a comforting gesture, and Dúvainiel accepting his compassion. Finally, she suggested that it was time for them to return, and they did.

"Thank you for the walk, Dúvainiel," Legolas said.

"Ta nae seasamin (It was my pleasure)," she replied. "I will leave you now."

She acknowledged the other members of the group, and then headed back to her talon.

Over the next few days, she would wake and dress, then meet with the Fellowship for breakfast. During that time, she learned a little bit of each member of the group she would be joining. Boromir spoke to her at length about his home, Gondor. He seemed to appreciate her company, but the Dwarf, Gimli, remained aloof when she was around. Well, that suited her just fine. She, like most of her kinsman, had an extreme dislike for Dwarves. And she hadn't gotten past his comments to her brother. The Hobbits, however, she found to be great company. They were quite happy to tell her tales of their home and their adventures. After breakfast, she and Legolas would walk through the woods of Lorien for the rest of the morning hours, before returning to the little clearing, where she would leave him and return to her duties as a guard. She knew that the members of the Fellowship used their time in the afternoon to practice their weaponry skills. In the evenings, she would return home. She had not seen Haldir since the arrival of the Fellowship. In her heart, she knew it was because he was angry that she had been chosen to join the group. He would not be there to protect his baby sister. She hoped to be able to tell him good-bye before she left.

The next day was the big day for Dúvainiel. Her stomach was twisted in nervous knots, as she thought about leaving Lothlorien for the first time in her life. She forced herself out of bed, bathed and then dressed in the simple tunic and leggings that she wore when guarding the forest, with the Lothlorien shades of grey and green. She placed small daggers in strategic, hidden places all over her body. Then she pulled out a small bag and filled it with another simple tunic, and then a gown of a deep forest green. She shook her head, wondering why she would bother thinking that she would need it, but packed it anyways, along with a delicate circlet similar to what all elven women wore for special occasions. She grinned at the thought of wearing it. She couldn't even remember the last time it graced her head. Just as she was finishing, she heard her name being called.

"Dúvainiel?"

It was Lady Galadriel.

"My Lady!" Dúvainiel exclaimed, surprised to see her.

"Are you ready, my child?"

"I am," Dúvainiel replied, her voice quivering.

"I've brought you a gift, Dúvainiel," Galadriel said, handing Dúvainiel a sheathed sword. "For your journey."

Dúvainiel took the sword with shaking hands. Pulling it from the sheath, she gasped at the beauty of the weapon.

"NáElbereth veria le, ná elenath dín síla erin rád o chuil lín (May Elbereth protect you, may her stars shine on the path of your life)," she read the engraving on the silver blade. "Le hannon (Thank you), Lady Galadriel." Dúvainiel sheathed the sword once more, and admired the handle, carved in silver and gold leaves.

"Im gosta, (I'm afraid)," she said, looking into Galadriel's eyes.

"I know," she replied. "But this is your destiny, Dúvainiel. Your path laid out for you by the Valar. Fear not. You will not be alone." Galadriel touched the young elf's cheek with the back of her fingers. "Namárië (Farewell)," she said, placing her hand at the base of Dúvainiel's neck, where the leaf pendant Dúvainiel's parents had given her, was hanging.

"Namárië, Lady Galadriel," Dúvainiel replied, and then bowed when Galadriel pulled her hand away. Their eyes met once more, and then Galadriel was gone. Dúvainiel sighed. Returning to her bed to collect her things, Dúvainiel stopped only to put her cloak around her shoulders, and put her new sword on. She picked up her bow and quiver, which was full of arrows, and the grabbed the small bag of clothing she had packed. She looked around her home once more, a feeling of sadness washing over her, and she felt this would be the last time that she would ever see the place that she grew up in.

She headed out the door and down the steps, wondering where her brothers had all disappeared to. She walked ever-so-slowly towards the river bank, where the boats were being prepared. Just as she came within sight of the boats, a familiar voice called to her.

"Little One!"

She turned and saw her three brothers walking towards her. She ran to them and threw her arms around each of them- first Haldir, then Orophin, then Rumil, and then Haldir again. Rumil and Orophin had always had each other, but she had always been closest to her eldest brother, especially since he had taken the role of her parent when their parents died.

Her eyes prickled with tears as she said good-bye to her brothers. She wondered when she would see them again.

Haldir held her the longest and before letting go, whispered to her, "Keep your eyes and ears open, Little One. Go with your first instinct. If you do these things, we will see each other again soon."

He let go of her and held her at arms length, looking into her face, as if memorizing every last detail.

"You've grown into a beautiful elleth, Little One," he said, cocking his head to the side. "When did that happen?"

She slapped his arm lightly, "You must have been looking the other way. I'm all grown up now." And leaving, she thought. It made her sad all over again. She threw herself into her brother's arms once more.

"Namárië, Haldir," she whispered.

"No galu govad gen (May blessings go with you)," he replied, as he held her hand and walked her to the boat.

By the time she arrived, they were waiting on her. Sam and Frodo were loaded into a boat with Aragorn, and Boromir had Merry and Pippin with him, which left Dúvainiel in the last boat with Legolas and the Dwarf. She was happy to be with Legolas, and decided to just ignore the Dwarf, though she felt that might be difficult, as bad as he smelled. Legolas reached out his hand to her to help her in, and she took it, rocking the small boat just slightly. For a brief moment, Legolas had one hand and Haldir had the other, until her brother reluctantly let go. She did not miss the look that passed between the two ellons as she pulled her hand from Legolas and sat in front. Without a word, Legolas had accepted the responsibility of looking after Dúvainiel. A charge Rumil and Orophin would later tell Haldir they did not envy the prince, as she was known for her penchant for getting into mischief.

Gimli now sat between her and Legolas, who rowed from the back. She took up the other oar and looked up at Haldir, who stood at the shore. She gave him a smile that was anything but how she felt about the situation and when he didn't smile back, her own wavered. She looked away from him and picked up an oar.

The time had come to go, and she hesitated, then dipped her oar in and their boat made the first stride forward. As they came to the first bend, she turned to look at Lothlorien one last time. She saw her brothers standing together, bidding her farewell. Haldir lifted an arm to wave. She gave a small smile and waved back.

"Namárië," she whispered to them, and watched, until they were out of sight. She turned forward once more, and sighed.

The boats held a steady pace for a while, and they rode in silence as everyone seemed lost in thought. Finally, it was Gimli who broke the silence in their boat.

"I have taken my worst wound at this parting," he said gruffly, "having looked my last upon that which is fairest. Henceforth I will call nothing fair unless it be her gift to me."

Dúvainiel said nothing as Legolas asked Gimli what the gift was. She found herself quite interested to know.

"I asked her for one hair from her golden head. She gave me three."

Dúvainiel turned to look at the Dwarf, surprise written all over her face. Over his shoulder, she saw Legolas grinning, and her heart fluttered.

"The Lady is, among many other things, generous. What did she give to you, Legolas?" Dúvainiel asked.

"A bow of the Galadhrim," he replied, proudly.

She smiled at him and turned forward once more. She could not stand the silence and the tension, and in a voice so soft that only those in her boat could hear, she began to hum an elven lullaby. It was comforting to all three of them, and by the time she was done, Dúvainiel felt herself relax.

Again, the only sound that could be heard was the sounds of the oars dipping into the water, and remained that way for some time. Dúvainiel pulled the oar inside and set it on her lap. Just then, the hairs on her neck stood on end, and she flinched when she heard the sound of a growl coming from deep within the forest. She glanced back at Legolas and could tell from the expression on his face that he had heard it too. No one else appeared to have, though, as they kept rowing as if nothing had happened. Dúvainiel put the oar back into the water, when yet another sound startled her.

She didn't recognize the sound, a bird of some kind, she thought. This time, she noticed that Aragorn and Boromir both held expressions of alarm as they looked around at one another. This was not a good sign, Dúvainiel thought.

The tension returned, as the group continued down the river silently. Hours passed and the sun began to set. Finally, Aragorn led them towards the bank of a small island. Dúvainiel helped Boromir and Legolas empty the boats of the items they would need for that night, while the Halflings rested, except for Sam, who began to cook the evening meal for them all. After they had eaten, Dúvainiel and Legolas scouted on one side of the small island, while Boromir and Aragorn patrolled the other. The elves were alarmed when they heard raised voices, and returned to the group.

"…Scared of who you are, of what you are," Boromir was saying.

There was a pause, and Dúvainiel saw Aragorn turn to Boromir and within inches of his face said in a tone that left no room for argument, "I will not lead the Ring within a hundred leagues of your city."

Aragorn turned and angrily made his way to his makeshift bed. Boromir's eyes met hers, he looked stunned and humiliated. He looked away from her and back at the river.

Dúvainiel said nothing, ignoring the men, and looking around at the temporary beds on the ground. She noticed that Frodo was still awake, sat next him. She put her hand on his head, and then ran her fingers through his hair, softly singing the elven lullaby. It wasn't long, and he drifted into an uneasy sleep. She felt sad for the little Halfling. She could feel his uneasy and despair. How hard for him to be the one to carry the Ring! Her eyes focused on it, and she heard a voice whisper her name. She shuddered and pulled her hand away from Frodo and looked away from the Ring. The whispering stopped.

Dúvainiel decided that was ready to rest as well, so she made herself a bed area next to Frodo with Sam sleeping on his other side, and stared up at the night sky. She was grateful for the clear night, finding comfort in the blanket of stars until she fell asleep.

The next morning, the light from dawn was just beginning to break when Dúvainiel woke. She glanced at Frodo, who was turned towards her, watching her. She smiled at him.

"Frodo," she whispered, "go back to sleep. You need the rest."

He didn't say anything, but he shut his eyes obediently. She sat up and looked around, noticing that everyone else was still asleep, so she quietly go up and made her way around to the back of the island. Once she was sure she was out of sight, she pulled off all over her clothes except her under garments, and stepped into the river to bathe. After all, she was representing Lady Galadriel and the elves of Lothlorien. She refused to smell like one of the males, if she could possibly help from doing so. The sun was starting to bring more light, and she knew the rest of the group would be getting up soon, so she forced herself out of the water. She was squeezing the water from her long hair when she felt eyes watching her. She looked up, and saw Boromir standing at the edge of the ridge that had blocked her from the view of the group. The expression on his face told her that he fully appreciated her feminine curves. She stared right back for a moment, and then snapped at him.

"Turn around please."

Embarrassed at being caught watching her, his face went red as he turned his back to her. Quickly, she pulled her clothes back on, and brushed past him as she headed back to the camp area.

"Get a good look?" she asked as she went by him.

He grabbed her arm, and she turned to look at him. He had not let go of her arm, and he looked over her body hungrily and then grinned.

"I'm just a man, Dúvainiel," he said in a charming tone.

He was handsome, but she was angry now at him, his intrusion and his poor attempt to seduce her, "Kindly take your hand off me." He looked stunned at her response. Clearly, he had expected her to let him have his way with her, right then and there. He let go of her, and she stomped away. His invasion of her privacy and his lack of remorse that he'd been caught had truly angered her.

She was not surprised to see the rest of the group up and preparing for the day's travel. She stopped next to the area where she had slept and gathered her things together and then placed them in the boat. Once that was done, she sat down and plaited her hair, something she did often to keep it out of her way. Sam had finished making the meal for the morning and the group ate in silence until Aragorn told them it was time to go.

The boats were loaded the same as the day before and the group headed down the river once again. Some hours later, they came to two huge statues, one on each side of the river, which narrowed considerably as it went past the statues. Majestic, and carved out of the rock from the quarries lining the river now, each member of the group looked at them in awe. Their left arms were held out with the palms of the hand facing towards the group, in a gesture of warning. Solemn and stern expressions graced their faces. They stood as silent wardens of a long vanished kingdom and as a gate of sorts. Once they passed them, the river opened up again, even wider than before. Dúvainiel could hear a roaring waterfall in the distance, one that they seemed to be headed towards. By the time the roar became a thunder to her sensitive ears, Aragorn had led the group of boats to shore.

Everyone began to empty the boats, and the second Dúvainiel stepped foot on the land, the hair on the back of her neck stood on end. She was starting to get wary of that feeling already. She looked at Legolas, wondering if he felt it too. From the concerned look on his face, she guessed that he had.

"We cross the lake at nightfall. Hide the boats and continue on foot. We approach Mordor from the north," Aragorn told the group.

"Oh, yes?!" Gimli cut in, "It's just a simple matter of finding our way through Emyn Muil? An impassable labyrinth of razor sharp rocks! And after that, it gets even better!"

Dúvainiel would have laughed at the alarmed look on poor Pippin's face, had the situation not been so serious.

But the Dwarf wasn't done, "Festering, stinking marshlands, far as the eye can see!"

Aragorn gave him a tired look, "That is our road. I suggest you take some rest and recover your strength, Master Dwarf."

Dúvainiel grinned at Aragorn's words, while Gimli stuttered over his words.

"Recover my… grrrr"

Dúvainiel glanced at Legolas as she heard him speak to Aragorn in a low tone, "We should leave now."

"No," Aragorn replied firmly, "Orcs patrol the eastern shore. We must wait for cover of darkness."

Legolas was insistent, "It is not the eastern shore that worries me. A shadow and a threat has been growing in my mind. Something draws near...I can feel it!"

Silently, Dúvainiel agreed with Legolas, but she knew Aragorn had made up his mind. They would not be leaving until nightfall.

From the corner of her eye, she saw Merry return to the area with wood for the fire.

"Where's Frodo?" he asked.

Sam jumped up from his spot where he'd been resting, as everyone looked around.

"Spread out," Aragorn said.

Dúvainiel pulled out her sword and began searching for Frodo. Everyone went in separate directions, and it made her nervous. Evil was close. Too close.

"Frodo?" she called in a quiet voice.

Her muscles tensed as she heard the sound of swords clashing, and she took off in a sprint towards them.

She heard someone growl out, "Find the Halfling! Grrr! Find the Halfling!"

Then she heard Legolas, "Aragorn, go!"

She was getting closer now. How far had she gone? Finally she came upon them, the group of ugly Uruk-Hai. She had the advantage of coming from behind, and she pulled her sword back, and cut one down. Then another.

They saw her then, and some of them turned on her. One after another they came. There were so many! She sliced her way through them, one by one. They began running in the opposite direction, and Dúvainiel knew she had to find Frodo. Above all else, she must keep the Ring safe in his hands. She ran through the woods, in the direction of the Uruk-Hai, but far enough away from them that they did not notice her. She was totally focused on finding Frodo. She kept running for the front of the group of Uruk-Hai. Where were they leading? Did they already have Frodo?

Suddenly she heard the sound of a horn. Was it Boromir's horn? She turned directions slightly and moved towards it as it sounded again. She ran into the Uruk-Hai once more, and using her sword, began to make her a path through them.

Must find Frodo, she thought as she defended herself. Just then an arm came around her neck and jerked her backwards. Her sword fell from her hand and the Uruk-Hai whispered in her ear, "What a pretty little thing."

Her hand grasped towards her belt, and she felt for her dagger. Clutching it, she held tightly until he turned her around. Then she pushed the dagger into his stomach. The movement took him by surprise and he let her loose. She fell to her knees and grabbed her sword, and turned it upwards and into him as he attacked her again. She shook him off and pulled her sword out of him. Then she turned back to the rest of the group, most of which were either already dead on the ground, or had run.

She followed the path of death until she found Legolas and Gimli finishing off a small group. The three of them moved together in the same direction and came across Aragorn and Boromir.

Dúvainiel gasped.

Boromir lay on the ground, three arrows stuck in his body, his eyes closed, his chest not moving.

He was dead.

"They will look for his coming from the White Tower," Aragorn said. "But he will not return."

Dúvainiel felt tears falling across her cheeks. Legolas put his hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture. He looked so sad.

The four of them were silent for a time, and then Dúvainiel broke the silence.

"Aragorn? What of Frodo?" She reminded him.

"Frodo has left," Aragorn replied, looking at the group as he sheathed his sword. "It is the other Hobbits that are in danger now. The Uruk-Hai have taken them." Dúvainiel, Legolas, and Gimli walked over to him, and as he handed Legolas Boromir's sword, Dúvainiel noticed the clear streak on his face where a tear had fallen. Her heart ached for his pain. They watched as he pulled the arrows out of the body, and then picked Boromir up and carried him towards the campsite. The others followed in silence.

When they arrived at the campsite, the first thing Dúvainiel noticed was that one of the boats had gone. She looked across the water and saw it. Frodo was not alone.

"Aragorn! Sam! Sam is with him!" she exclaimed.

Aragorn nodded his head approvingly as he laid Boromir on the ground. Dúvainiel cleaned the cut on Aragorn's arm, and wrapped it in a cloth, and then cleaned up his face. When she was done, she looked at the others, who seemed to be wound-free. Aragorn cleaned the wounds on Boromir, while the rest packed the supplies back up. He took the vambrances off Boromir's arms, and he and Legolas placed the body in a boat. Dúvainiel brought over Boromir's shield, and Gimli handed Aragorn the sword. Aragorn placed them in the boat with Boromir. Beside his body lay the Horn of Gondor, broken in half by an Uruk-Hai.

"I Melain berio le (May the Valar keep you)," Dúvainiel whispered as Aragorn pushed the boat out into the water.

Gimli stood by the water and watched until the boat moved over the edge of the falls. Dúvainiel's heart was too saddened to watch. She spent the time putting lembas in her pack.

"Hurry! Frodo and Sam have reached the eastern shore," Legolas said as he pushed the last boat into the water. No one said anything and Legolas turned and looked at Aragorn, who was honoring Boromir, by putting on the vambrances. Aragorn then turned and looked at the Hobbits on the other side of the river and sighed.

"You mean not to follow them?" Legolas asked, incredulous.

"Frodo's fate is no longer in our hands," Aragorn answered. Dúvainiel couldn't believe what he was saying!

"Then it has all been in vain," Gimli noted. "The Fellowship has failed."

"Not if we hold true to each other," Aragorn replied, placing his hand on Gimli's shoulder. "We will not abandon Merry and Pippin to torment and death. Not while we have strength left. Leave all that can be spared behind. We travel light. Let's hunt some Orc!" Aragorn sheathed his dagger at his waist, and took off sprinting up the hill.

Legolas and Gimli grinned madly at each other, and sprinted after him.

Dúvainiel looked at them like they were all crazy.

"Stupid males," she said under her breath. "Not a one of them took anything but their weapons. I wonder what they plan on eating or sleeping on."

She shoved some extra lembas into her pack and then threw the bag over her shoulder. She looked around the campsite, rolled her eyes, then she took off in a sprint after the males.