Disclaimer: I don't own anybody in this story except for Adariel and minor character associated with her, i.e. Maids and other people like that……..

Echoes of the Narbeleth

Spirit Star

Chapter 1: In which Adariel finds her calling

It has been long said that for each race there is a most beautiful maiden. For the dwarves, it is Pegeli of Moria (alas, the tragedy of her death; Dwarf maidens are hard to come by). For Man it is Rowan of the White City. For hobbits, it is Hopin of The Shire (name after a rare herb that grew there). For Wizards, it is Gwendelle the Silver who passed away into the West thus long ago. For Elves, it is Adariel of Lakewood.

Although beautiful on the outside, it can't be guaranteed that they are beautiful on the inside. This is true in the cases of Pegeli, and Rowan. Maybe true for Gwendelle, a load of rubbish for Hopin (who, as hobbits go, is extremely carefree). But for Adariel of Lakewood………

Whispers pass among Elven ears like the breeze that swirls the leaves. Adariel of Lakewood, the fairest of the fair. But alas. The coldest heart of Elf lore. Never had anybody seen her smile. Never had anybody seen her laugh. Never had anybody seen her cry.

Adariel the Elven Princess of Lakewood was as cold as ice, as emotionless as glass. Nobody passed through Lakewood without caution. Prisoners brought in front of Adariel were never seen again.

It was not long before Mother Elves cautioned their children with stories that scared them. "Beware of Adariel of Lakewood. Beware the Maiden of Lakewood. She whose heart has frozen will have yours taken too."

This saying had a double meaning. Face on, it meant that she was merciless and tyrant-like. But like many who are Beautiful, Adariel had won many hearts of young elves only to crush them, have them stamped on and thrown away. Lakewood was a city where only Maidens thrived and all others slunk with caution.

Not surprisingly such talk reached the ears of Adariel herself.

"I be not cold, but lonely," she whispered to herself in the privacy of her own window. She hated the confinement of Lakewood. Day after day, she watched young Elven men practice sword skills, archery while Maidens sat quietly upon the tree towers watching, although the occasional one joined in. Adariel could do no such thing.

"As the Maiden of Lakewood, you must know that you set the standard of behaviour," said her Father, the Elven King of Lakewood

And so Adariel spent her days confined inside, watching from her paneless window.

But observing soon brought skill. And skill led on to mastering as the golden leaves fell again and again. Adariel, sitting by her window soon learnt the art of archery by just observing. Not only did she learn it, she was incredibly good at it. Secretly inside her room, she had strung a bow out of Willow-wood. When nobody was looking, Adariel would slip a quiver of arrows up to her room and fling her window open.

In the dead of the night when the stars shone through the canopy, she would shoot arrows at a target point, each arrow piecing the previous until she could even determine the angle that the arrow would split into.

And so Adariel would pass her days as such.

"I be not cold but unhappy" she whispers to herself when she heard the saying whispered among the treetops.

Her life bored her incredibly. As Maiden, let along the most beautiful maiden of Elf lore, she was an object to be admired, not used. An ornament to be placed on a mantle, silent, still.

No skill was ever taught to her, but like the process of learning Archery, Adariel also mastered many others that she spied from beneath her window. From years of observing, Adariel learnt that she had the gift of Healing. She could heal better than the best Healers in Lakewood. This gift, nobody ever found she had. She learnt the many laws of healing, from the most basic to The Spirit Key, used only in the most desperate of situations in which the healer swapped her own life for the other.

And she could also understand Tree Language. That is to say, communicate with trees and plants as well as birds and animals. Although it was in her blood to understand the whisperings of the ones that surrounded her, not many Elves could communicate back. And the trees and animals only spoke when they wanted to be heard. The flora and fauna kept her company under her window and she heard many tales of the world around her. Her longing grew with each word spoken.

And so seasons came and went until Adariel reached the form of a young woman, although she had the wisdom of many life spans. Wistfully, she would glance out her window every day. Such was her observation that she had mastered many skills displayed in Lakewood to a standard that surpassed the best in all skills. Often she cursed Immortality. It was enough spending one lifetime like this. But a million lifetimes and more? How could she stand it?

There was a commotion in the thrown grove, and Adariel frowned. It was not everyday that somebody caused an uproar in Lakewood. In fact, not many visitors came at all. She frowned as she tried to remember the last time that guests had dined with them. There were two of them…both of dark hair. And she someone mentioning that they came from Rivendell.

Adariel glided down the winding twine and through the willow blinds towards the grove.

"Father, what is it?" she asked smoothly, appearing from behind a crystal waterfall near the beginning of the lake grove.

"He brings news of Mordor and Saruman. It has begun again." Murmured the Elven King of Lakewood, indicating to the trembling messenger (who had heard the Maiden enter and feared the worst).

Adariel had heard of the power of the Ring many seasons ago. She had heard her father's stories of the Great Battle in which the Ring parted with its master. And recently she had felt rather than heard of the rising forces near Mordor, although her plant and animal friends told her much of it.

"You are dismissed," said Adariel to the messenger coldly, and immediately winced. She did not mean to sound like this, but it came out of many years of longing and misery.

The messenger stumbled out of the room thankful for his life, but could not help glancing at her once more on his way out. He froze, beholding her beauty. Adariel frowned. "Out." She said again glaring.

The messenger ran.

"Rivendell sends word of a gathering of a representative from each race. We are to be represented by the Elven Prince of Mirkwood, Legolas Thruanduilion." Adariel hastened to nod. She had already heard of this from her wildlife friends, but to not act surprised meant suspicion.

"What else does it say, Father?"

"Nothing…" here he frowned, "Is it not strange, it says nothing at all."

This time, Adariel truly was surprised. Messages from Rivendell were usually rare, although when they did come, they were quite lengthy. That evening, Adariel threw open her window once more and leaned out until she was facing the trunk of a willow tree. Stretching her hand out, she touched the trunk of it. It was quite an old tree as she could feel it in her heart.

"Ssssseeeeeth seoffffffthe thhhhhhessssss" She greeted it. The tree stirred and whispered it's hiss in welcome.

"Please tell me of what goes on in Rivendell. What news is there of Legolas Greenleaf?" she asked gently, gazing up at the hanging branches. The tree paused as if drawing breath.

"Ssssssetttthhhh fesssoooothhh fffeee rriiivvverrrrrdale. Ceeeeeeefosss…….." The tree continued this way for quite some time. Adariel could tell that it grew tired after a time, and thanked it.

Leaning back inside, she bid the tree farewell and her mind went over the events that the Willow spoke of.

It had said that a secret meeting had taken place in Rivendell, and it had also spoke of the Hobbit named Frodo who was Ringbearer for the Great Destroyer. Adariel guessed that this was the Last Ring. It had also said that he was going to travel into Mordor to cast it back into the Fire that it was first made in.

Adariel could barely behold the task. She could feel the menace that surrounded Mordor even from Lakewood. The Evil Army was growing stronger, and no doubt that it would be like walking into a trap willingly. She admired Frodo, not only for his bravery, but also for the adventure.

She then thought of the next part. The tree had said that there was a group of people to accompany him on this task and to protect him. This was the Fellowship of the Ring, of which Legolas Greenleaf had volunteered to be a part of. It consisted of an Elf, a Wizard, a Dwarf, four Hobbits, and two Men, one of which was Elf raised. He who was raised by Elven folk was none other than Aragorn, the rightful King.

Trees knew things that even the wisest didn't. News traveled fast as one tree's whispered traveled the breeze to the ears of others, and the eyes of birds caught sights that

Glancing through the glass, Adariel could see the many stars that glowed in the bright Moonlight. Like the stars, Adariel could only glitter faintly, overpowered by the light of the Moon.

A whisper stirred her thoughts. It was the whisper of her own mind. 'If you do not go now your heart may not get you another chance.'

"The I shall go as I please and ride where my heart takes me" she answered. Her icy eyes looking grim, and determined, the mask of the Maiden of Lakewood slipped as adventure sparkled in her eyes.

End of Chapter 1

Reviews please! No flames but constructive criticism is very welcome! - Spirit Star

I must admit to being quite indulgent in my writing. Please forgive. For older readers, you may be able to tell that I have of course edited this chapter. Hopefully the decrease of grammatical errors pleases the picky. See you at the end!