Summary: UNDYING FRIENDSHIP SERIES: Ripples... Once started, you never know where they will end. In Aman, a lady speaks with an elf about a maiden of Middle-earth, and how her choice affected all.

2nd place winner in the July2007 Teitho Fan Fiction Contest: Maidens of Middle-earth.


Ripples

by Nieriel Raina

"She was so beautiful - dark hair, pale skin, grey eyes." The lady sighed in longing. "And her beauty, in a way, doomed her, for the one she loved might have passed her by if not for her beauty."

"Do you truly think so, my lady? Were they not drawn by more than appearances? I do not doubt he would have loved her regardless, for fate drew them together. Without their love..."

She nodded, a breathy sigh leaving her. "Yes, without their love, evil would have overtaken all. They were destined, and yet, I mourn the loss. She was not meant to die."

"I understand your heart, I think, but I cannot agree. Without her choosing as she did, there would never have been reason for him to do what he did."

"I already agreed with you on that point, golden child," she teased, flashing him a grin when he grimaced at her name for him. For some reason, this one amused her as no other. But her mirth did not last long, and she returned to her serious thoughtfulness. "Perhaps it is simply a mother's foolishness, but I would have her still by my side."

Dark grey eyes studied her intently for a moment, before returning to the expanse of water glimmering in the sunlight. "I do not think a mother's love is ever foolish, lady." He paused, thoughtful, then continued, "If it were in my power, I would have her here, as well...and he, too. Through them, so much was done, and such love... I would not see such love depart from the world." His voice carried such a wistful tone that she turned to look fully upon him.

He was tall and slender, golden haired and grey eyed, dressed in grey and green. He looked like his father in so many ways, and yet, she could see his mother in his temperament, his moods. A wistful smile touched her own features. His father was not the only one he reminded her of. Distantly related though they were, he reminded her of Thingol, in a way. She thought it was the way his brows drew together in a pout, though both males would surely argue it was a frown. Or rather, Thingol would if he were not still dwelling in Mandos' Halls. The thought saddened her greatly.

"My lady? Are you well?"

Forcing away the darkness, which welled up within her whenever she dwelt upon ages long elapsed, she smiled softly. "I am well, child; just remembering the past."

He frowned, nodding. "The past is a painful place to dwell."

She was silent, turning her eyes back to the vast lake surrounded by trees. The rocks where they sat were not far from the bank, and she thought for a moment to dip her bare feet into the cool, shallow waters along the edge. Glancing at the booted feet near her, she changed her mind. "The past is only painful if you dwell on the loss, golden child." She laughed when he groaned.

"Must you call me that?" he asked, tilting his head to look at her, his loose hair sliding into a long shimmering curtain in the late afternoon light.

"Yes," she said, again looking across the smooth waters. There was no breeze, and the water lay like a mirror upon the land, begging for someone to disturb it, to start a single ripple that would flow across the flat surface. "They were ripples." The thought occurred to her, and she was not aware she had spoken it aloud.

"I beg your pardon?"

Laughing - it felt so good to laugh - she turned to him and brushed a stray lock of hair from his face. She knew he already thought her somewhat odd, but now he looked at her as though she had lost her mind. Without bothering to explain more, she repeated, "They were ripples, affecting all around them, even you. If she had not loved him, chosen him, you would not be here, most likely. All of Middle-earth would have fallen under deep shadow long before you were conceived."

He blinked, comprehension dawning in his eyes. "Aye, they were. And those ripples have traveled over the ages, down through time until..."

"They repeated themselves, bringing an end to all the evil, all the pain. Yes, you are correct; they chose well." He smiled, dipping his head slightly in acknowledgement. That was a trait he got from Thranduil! One passed down from Oropher.

After a time of silence, she spoke again. "I have been hesitant to ask, but, I think, now it is time."

Looking at her curiously, he opened his mouth, then closed it. A brow lifted slowly. "What would you know, lady?"

"Everything."

He laughed brightly, the sound echoing across the still waters. She had not heard him laugh before, and it pleased her. "Truly? You would hear everything," he asked, grinning at her.

She nodded, sobering a bit. "Yes, I would hear of her, and he. You knew them well, better than any here in their last days."

"Aye," he agreed, deep sadness touching his face. His eyes darkened and fell to study the grass between the rocks and the lake. "I knew them well."

"Then let us make a pact, you and I," she elbowed him in the ribs, causing him to jerk and look up suddenly.

"You are strange," he said, somewhat taken aback.

"I am a Maia," she reminded him with a giggle. He cocked a brow, tilting his head simultaneously with a smirk. Another cocky look learned from Thranduil, she would wager.

"So you are. At times I forget, as you seem so..."

"Elvish?" she suggested.

Nodding, he glanced back out over the lake. "I forget you lived as one for many ennin, Lady Melian. Or shall I call you Queen," he teased, looking up at her from under his lashes.

"Oh, no. That will not do at all. Doriath is long fallen under the domain of Lord Ulmo, and while your ancestors hailed from there, I will not suffer being addressed as Queen."

"I am glad," he smiled, grey eyes twinkling, threatening more teasing, before he glanced away. "What pact would you have us make, oh teacher of nightingales?"

He was no longer looking at her, but she could still see the smirk on his face. His time here had been good for him. Lórien healed like no other place in Aman, and, with the groves of trees, was the most appropriate place for a grieving wood-elf. She was glad he had stumbled across her when he first arrived, seeking solace and solitude.

"You tell me everything you can recall about Arwen and her beloved Aragorn, and I, in turn, will tell you all I remember of Lúthien and Beren."

Turning, he gaped at her, face awash with wonder. When they first spoke upon his coming to Lórien - before he knew her true identity - he had expressed a strong desire to have the tale of the Lay of Leithian from one who lived at that time and knew them.

"But, it is said, you never speak much of them," he gasped out.

Melian inclined her head. "Then you should feel privileged, Legolas."

A crooked smile drew up one cheek. "Does that mean you like me?"

She laughed again. She had not laughed this much in many, many ennin, indeed, in more than an age! "I would think that obvious."

Grinning, he pulled up his long legs, and to her surprise, removed his boots. Meticulously rolling up his leggings to just below his knees, he then slid off the rock, holding a hand up to her. "If we are going to speak of ripples, my lady, we should make some of our own."

She took his hand, nodding her approval, both of him and his suggestion, and slid down to join him on the soft grass, her long skirts swishing about her ankles.

As they headed for the water's edge, Legolas began. "My first memory of her was in Imladris, upon my first visit there with my father. Just a small child, I marveled at her, thinking she was one of the Valar, for her beauty was great, beyond any other I have seen. And when she smiled at me..." he smiled nostalgically. "I felt...special, for having seen it, and I never lost that feeling, though we were only friends. I do not know that any rejoiced more greatly than I when she and Aragorn wed. They fit together like a bow and arrow, each made to complement the other."

-o-

Together they talked for hours - splashing in the lake and walking through the grass - speaking of those they loved, and in the telling, the burden and pain of both was eased, though never diminished completely.

-o-o-

"Thereafter (the death of Elu Thingol) Melian spoke to none save to Mablung only, bidding him take heed to the Silmaril, and to send word speedily to Beren and Lúthien in Ossiriand; and she vanished out of Middle-earth, and passed to the land of the Valar beyond the western sea, to muse upon her sorrows in the gardens of Lórien, whence she came, and this tale speaks of her no more."

-- JRR Tolkien, Of The Ruin Of Doriath, The Silmarillion

-o-o-o-

ennin - (Sindarin) an elven measurement of time. 144 years. (these is some question about this word and its meaning. I am currently researching it more and will change it if it becomes clear it is the wrong word.)

A/N - Legolas wears green and grey, the colors of Ithilien, rather than those of Eryn Lasgalen, green and brown. Ithilien's colors are my creation.

I want to make it clear that this geneology is MINE and not Tolkien's! I already have one anonymous reviewer confused on that.

Legolas being related to Thingol is MY doing. Tolkien tells us in different places that Celeborn was a prince of Doriath and a kinsman of Thingol, and also kinsman to Thranduil. I am using that link to connect Legolas to Thingol. Tolkien, in Unfinished Tales explains how Celeborn is related to Thingol by being the grandson of his brother, Elmo. I am creating a sister for Celeborn's father, Galadhon, but I'm not going to bother naming her. She is the mother of Oropher, making Oropher and Celeborn 1st cousins, and Thranduil and Celeborn 1st cousins once removed. This also makes Thranduil and Nimloth (daughter of Galadhon's daugher Galathil) 1st cousins, so if you want to get really technical, Legolas is related to Aragorn! IN MY WORLD! If Legolas is at all related to Thingol, then he is related to Elrond's family through Luthien. Thranduil's cousin once removed is Elwing, mother of Elrond and Elros. This also makes the sons of Elrond distant cousins of Legolas. Isn't this fun! Legolas is Thingol's great-great-great nephew, if you want to get technical.

Here is Elmo's family tree. First follows Elmo's son Galadhon ( - indicates sibling). Second follows Celeborn's sister's family tree. Third follows Galadhon's unknown sister's family tree. Each generation is listed on a separate line. Any questions? Again this is MY take on things. Elmo m. Unknown

S. Galadhon m. unknown - D. Unknown m. Unknown

S. Celeborn m. Galadriel - D. Galathil m. Unknown

D. Celbrian m. Elrond

Galathil m. Unknown

D. Nimloth m. Dior (grandson of Thingol, son of Lúthien)

D. Elwing m. Eärendil - Tw. S. Elured & Elurin

Tw. S. Elrond m. Celebrian & Elros

Unknown (daughter of Elmo) m. Unknown

S. Oropher m. Unknown

S. Thranduil m. Laerwen

S. Unknown - S. Belthul - S. Orthoron - D. Anoriel - S. Legolas

Thank you for reading. I hope you are enjoying this little tale.

NiRi