Chapter XI: The mirror of Galadriel

A/N Well here is another chapter... a few questions will be answered and the story will start heading in a different direction. I'll have a pool set up soon enough regarding the pairing for this story since I'm not really convinced what to do about it. Feel free to tell me your ideas in the reviews.

Title: Forgotten Memories

Rating: T

Genre: Romance/ Drama

Summary: An elven child is found wounded on the banks of the river Bruinen by Glorfindel who takes her to Rivendell for healing. Nobody knows who she is or where she comes from; a blow she received to the head made her forget her past. As she comes of age she decides to join the most perilous voyage in her life in order to unlock her memories.

Naerdiel stood precariously dangling on the branch of the talan. Inside the talan half of the Company was sound asleep, their dreams guarded by the elven magic woven around the trees. On the next talan Haldir was guarding the hobbits. On her branch the elleth was seething... she had come to grow fond of the dwarf and see him in a different light; the words Haldir had spoken had been rash and undeserved and he should have known better.

„What is wrong, lass?" A gruff voice said behind her, startling Naerdiel and making her twirl around the branch losing her balance. One of her legs slipped and she stood dangling awkwardly while the dwarf laughed at her expense.

„I did not believe it when the elf told Aragorn you were the clumsiest elf on Middle Earth. I believe it now."

„Very funny, Master Dwarf.'' Naerdiel glared while adjusting her position on the branch. „Was there something you needed?"

„Nay." Gimli said glancing at the elleth. Although elves were indeed strange creatures, this one appeared almost normal less flighty and prone to aimless wandering. The Greenwood elf on the other hand... Gimli shook his head and added. „You appear as though you might enjoy company."

„I thank you, master dwarf, yet I have much on my mind and I fear that I may prove an unsuitable company."

„Aye, that may be so. Yet sleep eludes me and Aragorn's snore could be heard from miles."

Naerdiel glanced at him in shock then started laughing. It was true, even as a child Estel's snore was known to be able to drive everyone mad. Legolas and herself had once tried to find ways to tune out the noise using even ear plugs, but in vain.

„That is true. I remember once when Legolas and I went scouting with Aragorn in the woods. We came back battered and bruised even though we did not encounter any enemies. The mischief those two got into when they were together is epic."

„Do share. " The dwarf laughed and they spent a good portion of the night telling tales and laughing something they had not done in a long time. However dawn came and they were summoned before the Lord and Lady of the Golden Woods. In the center of the forest lay Caras Galadhon, the pearl of the elven cities remaining on Middle Earth. The largest mellyrn was home to Celeborn and Galadriel in front of whom they Fellowship had been brought. They were tall, the lady no less than the lord and they were grave; grave and beautiful. They stood one next to the other clad wholly in white; the hair of the Lady was deep gold and that of the Lord was shimmering silver, long and bright. But there were no signs of age upon them, unless one looked in the depth of their eyes.

„Welcome Frodo of the Shire." Celeborn's voice rang solemn „When all shall come we will speak together." In turn the Lord and Lady greeted all members of the Fellowship, pausing a moment when Naerdiel came forth.

„Welcome hiril Naerdiel. Much have we heard about you and much more I am sure will be heard."

When all had arrived and had been seated before his chair the Lord gazed upon each of his guests again and spoke:

„ Here there are nine, yet ten set out according to the messengers. Tell me where is Gandalf for I much desire to speak with him."

All stood in silence, the wound too new to be able to acknowledge it. Yet Galadriel gazed upon each of them and understood those which were not told. She spoke clearly giving voice to the matters that had yet to be addressed.

"He has fallen into shadow," she said quietly, before she turned to Aragorn. "The quest stands upon the edge of a knife, stray but a little and it will fail, to the ruin of all…yet hope remains while the company is true." Here she locked glanced with Naerdiel and the elleth heard a voice inside her head.

‚What would you do to find out your past? Would you abandon them? Betray them? How important is it to you?'

The elleth frowned fiercely and thought back unsure whether she would be heard or not.

‚I am Lord Glorfindel's daughter. I have been raised better than to abandon those who need my aim even if it were to find out that which haunts me still. I would never abandon nor betray them. I will follow Frodo to the heart of Mordor even if I would never find out who I really am.'

‚Your heart is true.' The Lady's voice rang again and Naerdiel saw the ghost of a smile upon her fair face before she addressed the Fellowship again.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you shall sleep in peace."

Several hours late Naerdiel stood at the base of a beautiful mellyrn tree. Her back was rested against it and her eyes were closed, thinking of many things. Unconsciously she was humming the lament for Gandalf she had heard the other elves utter. She did not notice when a shadow crept near her and sat down, placing a soft hand over hers. Blue eyes locked with green and she smiled weakly at Legolas.

„How do you fare, mellon-nin?" His soft voice was full of concern and his eyes searched for any signs of distress present on his friend's face.

„Do you want the truth or half-lies?"

„The truth."

„Then I do not fare well at all. I never would have thought that Mithrandir would be the first to fall. If he is gone I wonder what chances the rest of us have. He was the wisest of us all and now he is lost to darkness in the Black Pit."

„What you say is true, but we must not lose hope. Even the smallest creature can change fate. Who is to say we cannot?"

„'tis true, 'tis very true." She said softly as she laid her head on his shoulder as she did many times before when they would find themselves resting against one of the trees in Imlandris. Legolas glanced at her softly and started humming a tune... for a moment everything was peaceful.

Days passed rapidly and their time in the Golden Woods was all but spent. The night before their departure Naerdiel was walking aimlessly around smiling to herself. The stop had done miracles to everyone: the hobbits were well rested, Boromir had gained a new found respect for Aragorn and Legolas had befriended Gimli. Of all the things she had seen this was bound to be the most amazing; her eyes had widened in astonishment when she had first seen them wandering together in the woods, Legolas explaining this and that to Gimli. After that the pair had become a common sight. As she walked around Naerdiel came to a clearing and a beautiful fountain... careful not to disturb the peacefulness of the place she silently walked to the fountain and looked around.

„Will you look into the mirror?" Galadriel's voice rang softly behind her and Naerdiel spun around bowing her head.

„My Lady! What will the mirror show me?"

„That I cannot tell for the mirror shows many things. Things the were, things that are and some things that have not yet come to past." Making her way to the fountain, Galadriel beckoned the elleth to approach.

Naerdiel approached and gazed in the clear water. For a moment she saw her own refection then the image changed and figments of her dreams appeared... the children... the orphanage... the fire and what was new a young couple holding a baby in their arms... they were smiling happily as they set the baby in its crib...

„She has fallen asleep." The woman said softly gazing lovingly at her husband.

„Yes, she did." Suddenly there was a loud bang and the door to their home was cracked open. Two men entered the house, grinning cruelly, knives in their hands. One look at the baby's father told that he knew who the men were.

„Take Maia and run." He whispered to his wife. However she did not have the time to do as she was told as a third man, unseen by the family, struck the woman with a knife in her back. A strangled scream echoed and the baby's mother fell limp to the floor.

Meanwhile the other two approached the father... he held his ground and tried to fight them off to save his baby, but he had no chance. Without a weapon he soon succumbed to their blades. The men took everything valuable in the house and left the crying baby alone in its crib... the child was no threat to them; it would die of starvation and nobody would hear her desperate cries... or so they thought.

Naerdiel closed her eyes and moved away from the mirror, tears streaming down her face. She had known from her dreams that her parents had been murdered, but she had not known what a gruesome fate would have awaited her if everything had gone according to plan. After this vision she had more questions than answers... why had they been killed? Who had killed them? How had she arrived on the banks of the river Bruinen from the burning orphanage? Only time would tell...