Disclaimer: I do not own Middle-earth or any characters conjured up from the brilliant mind of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author's Note: I thought I'd make this one a little different and set it in more modern times but with still the same Middle-earth elements in it. Legolas in this story isn't going to exactly be an Elf with the ears. He'll still be immortal but will have the right to give up his immortality like a peredhil. The characters from the book will have different characteristics as well.
THE WATER CASTLE
Chapter 1: The Class Trip
The sky outside is turning gray, the white clouds slowly disappearing with its moody temper pouring down to the earth. It's not that dark yet, even with the sky changing color, and it was days like these that Mina actually enjoyed the weather. She enjoys the moderate type of climate that wasn't too sunny or rainy. And too bad she chose the wrong place to be living in—Seattle, Washington.
She laughed at herself for living at a place she had been all her life; a place that she loved and wants to have a family one day….way far, far off into the future. No matter how much it rained, she could never get used to it. But, she would rather have this kind of weather than the dry heat of Texas where she often visits her grandparents. Their overly extravagant house that sits in a gated community is near a lake and private golf course.
All of Mina's friends know her family is well off but she never acted spoiled. Her parents always taught her the value of a dollar and how hard work guarantees success in whatever you do. She was an honor roll student in high school and got accepted to the University of Washington on a full scholarship, which she is very proud of.
Mina sighed, wishing that the lecture she's sitting in was over.
"Pssst! Mina!" her friend, Anastasia, whispered.
"Hmm?" she turned her attention away from the window. "What?"
"You're drooling," she joked.
"Har-har," she sighed again. "He's talking about the foundation of castles longer than an expert archeologist would ever dare."
"I know but class is almost over. Besides, I'd rather sit here than be out there." She looked at the downpour outside the window. Anastasia is one of her closest friends and had known her since high school. Medieval Culture was the only elective class they could get together this semester since they had different majors.
"Okay, everyone, please don't forget to turn in your forms by next week if you are interested in the trip to England this summer," their professor reminded them. "Have a good day and be careful in the rain!"
"Finally." Mina got up from her seat along with the rest of the class.
"Any plans this weekend? Wanna hit up Earl's tonight?" Anastasia asked.
"I can't. I told my mom I'd drive home this weekend to visit. They're leaving again for another vacation soon," she said.
"Your parents should just buy a house at every place they go to since they travel around so much!"
"Don't give them ideas," Mina rolled her eyes. "They barely occupy the current house they live in."
Her parents used to live in upper Queen Anne area where all the rich folks lived but after she left for college, they decided to relocate to Tacoma on Ventura Drive. Her parent's house had 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Bathrooms and an inground pool with some pretty amazing views of the water. There was also an outdoor kitchen for barbeques and parties.
They liked to live very comfortably even if it was only the two of them now since Mina was in a dorm on campus. Mina didn't understand why her parents wanted a bigger house when they were rarely home. Her father was a lawyer so he was usually in court, and her mother, an executive director of a marketing firm, usually stayed late at the office. However, they always found the time in their busy schedules to travel to Greece, Ibiza, and Paris together.
"Hey, Mina, can I walk you to your car?" Vincent asked. He was the boy with glasses who's had a crush on her since they were freshmen students. He overheard their conversation about her heading home for the weekend.
"Oh, umm…thanks, but I'm actually not leaving yet. Anastasia and I were…just going to the girl's bathroom!" she grabbed her friend and booked it. "See you Monday!"
"That was a nice, lame excuse," Anastasia chuckled when they entered the girl's bathroom to hide for a while. She ran her fingers through her ginger hair, fixing the clip that got out of place after Mina dragged her out of the classroom.
"What else was I supposed to do?!" she asked, trying to get the tangles out of her dark locks that were wet from the rain.
"Umm…telling him you're not interested is a good start," she rolled her eyes.
"Don't you think I've been trying telling him that for the last four years now?!"
"He's going to break you down one of these days, you just watch…" Anastasia smirked.
Mina rolled her eyes. "Anyways, I gotta go. I don't want to get stuck in traffic."
"Okay. Well, have a good weekend!" her friend kissed her on the cheek.
"Thanks. I'll see you Monday."
By the time Mina got to Tacoma, her mother was already cooking dinner, much to her surprise. "Hi, sweetheart," her mother hugged her.
"Hi, mom. Wow…you're actually…cooking?"
"Yes, I'm actually cooking," she looked offended. "Even us busy wives and moms know how to cook their family a nice meal once in a while."
"Her father hasn't been feeling well so I told her to take some time off."
"Oh, I see," she opened a can of soda. Marcy was the cook that came every other day to cook for her parents. She would often leave the food in the refrigerator for them to heat up since they came home late most nights. "I hope he's alright."
"Me, too, honey."
"He's working late on a case, but he promises to be home before I'm done cooking."
"Can I help with anything?"
"Nope," she shook her head with a smile. "Just relax until dinner is ready."
The meal her mother prepared reminded her of when she was little. She used to cook every night until work started to take up a lot of her time and that's when they hired Marcy. Living at the dorm was a great getaway except when you were craving your favorite meals. That's why Mina enjoyed visiting her parents whenever she could.
"That was a great dinner," her father rubbed his belly. He was a stern man in the courtroom who won many cases, but outside of his job, he was very laid back and easy going with a warm personality.
"I think I'm going to explode…" Mina slouched in her seat.
Her mother laughed. "Take some leftovers back to the dorm with you. I'll pack something extra for Anastasia and Lily on Sunday."
"So, sweetheart, how's school?" her father asked, taking a sip of his wine.
"It's good. Classes are almost done so I'm just preparing for finals," she said.
"Didn't you mention a trip with your friends to England this summer?"
"Well, it's not really with my friends, more like my classmates. The professor in my Medieval Culture class is taking a bunch of students around England where the medieval era was the most prominent. We'll be visiting a castle that some guy's family has owned for centuries and touring around the area."
"Sounds fun and interesting!" her mother smiled. "So, are you going to go?"
"I'm still debating," she casually shrugged.
"You should go, Willi," her father said. He was the only one who ever called her Willi, which was short for Willamina, her real name. But, she preferred to go by Mina. "England is full of history and rich with culture. We have a lot of ancestors that came from there—knights and dukes—all kinds of people with titles, even servants."
"You almost sound like my professor, dad," she laughed softly.
"My grandfather used to tell me all kinds of stories that his grandfather told him about all that medieval stuff you're learning about when I was a kid. Where do you think your name Willamina came from?"
"I just figured mom went into labor while watching Romeo & Juliet," she smiled jokingly.
"Hey," her mother shook her head, "in my defense, I've always liked the name Juliet. It wasn't fair that your father got to name you so I added Juliet as your middle name."
"Willamina Juliet Mendinhale," her father said proudly. "That sounds pretty elegant and sophisticated, don't you think?"
"Yeah…and medieval," Mina stood up, rolling her eyes, smiling at her parents.
"You know, I named you after a great-aunt that was a princess," her father raised his eyebrows up and down. "I'm not sure how great she was down the line but maybe your sixth great-aunt?"
"Gee, thanks, dad," she just kept smiling while she washed her plate in the sink.
"I never told you the story about her, did I?"
"According to my grandfather, she was very beautiful with long chocolate hair and thick lashes with light blue eyes, much like yours…except you have darker hair," he began. "She was the youngest daughter of the king who fell in love with a man from a neighboring kingdom. War had broken out in his land so the king refused to let her see him in case she got hurt. The war dragged on for years and by the time he was finally able to come to her, she had fallen ill and died…"
"Really?!" She was now intrigued with the story.
"His family supposedly had the secret of immortality, which he was willing to give up to be with her. On her death bed, she told him that she would return to him one day and to wait for her."
"And so did he wait for her?"
"To this very day…" he nodded.
Mina inwardly snorted on the idea. He couldn't really be serious. However, she tried to picture the story in her head about the princess and the man she loved. He must have loved her just as much as she did if he was willing to give up his immortality for her. After thinking it sounded too much like a Disney movie, she laughed it off.
"That's a nice story, dad, but the secret of immortality? Really?" she raised an eyebrow. "No such thing exists in the real world."
"Well, honey, if you think about the medieval days where King Arthur, Merlin, the Holy Grail, and where even dragons existed, immortality doesn't seem so farfetched," he shrugged at the possibility. "There was a lot of magic back then…"
"I guess…but that was eons ago."
"There's a lot of cultures who still believe in those things, especially in Europe," he replied. "It might be silly fables to us Westerners and those who believe in technology and science, but there are still plenty of people who take their heritage seriously."
"You should go, dear," her mother slightly urged. "It's good to experience other cultures. We'll be in Paris for a few weeks. Maybe we can meet up halfway after your school trip is over and go on an actual family vacation?"
"That sounds like a good idea," her father agreed. "The three of us haven't gone on a family vacation in about…three, four years?"
"Yeah, I'll think about it," she nodded, noncommittally.
She went up to her room that her parents kept untouched, exhausted from the hour drive and her mother's dinner, giving her food coma. Her room hadn't changed much, except there were less stuffed animals and more UW Husky paraphernalia that she slowly brought over from school to make it look more 'grownup'.
It was her senior year, meaning she finally needed to figure out her career before the summer was over. A few companies already wanted her, but Mina was still undecided on which job offer to accept. There was still two months left for her to decide so she wasn't rushing it.
"Hey, girl!" Anastasia said on the other line.
"Hey, what's up?"
"So, a bunch of us were talking about that class to trip to Europe and we figured it would be fun to see the country. It's only for five days then after that, we were thinking of hitting up London. Are you down?" she asked.
"Funny you mentioned it because my parents were just talking about it…"
"Cool! So, yeah? Europe this summer? We can stalk all the cute European boys!" she laughed.
"Yeah, sure…why not?" she finally gave in. "I'll check with my parents about the after trip thing. They wanted to do a family vacation afterwards." Mina yawned after a beat. She didn't know how much longer she could stay awake.
"Okay! Sounds good. Just let me know. See you Monday!"
"Okay…bye." She was glad the conversation ended quickly.
Mina brushed her teeth and changed into her pajamas. It wasn't that late yet so she snuggled under her blankets and turned on the television. She laughed to herself when she saw that King Arthur starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley was on. She never really told her father, but his own father, who was a Historian, used to tell her similar stories about the medieval days and how her father's side of the family was well established in the king's court, although you wouldn't find any of them in history books.
"The Mendinhale family or Mendenhalle, as we were known, was a strong family back in the seventeenth and eighteenth century in Europe. We were knights slaying dragons and evil creatures, kings ruling the lands, and princesses catching the eyes of princes!" he would say with pride. "After the Mendehalle's moved to the Americas, much of our ancient history was lost and a new one began…"
She was never much for learning history since it required too much research so she always tried to get her grandfather to help her but he shortly died after her sophomore year in high school. Her father never talked much about him after that and put most of his research and books in boxes in the upstairs attic.
Mina finally fell asleep, dreaming about standing on a dock somewhere by a castle watching the sea with her hair blowing against the wind. When she woke up, Saturday morning cartoons were on. She turned off the show and sat up thinking about the strange dream. The way the wind felt on her skin seemed so real and it gave her goose bumps.
"Honey?" her mother knocked on her door.
"Good morning," she smiled.
"I just wanted to see if you were okay?" she asked, looking a little concerned.
"I passed by your room last night and you fell asleep with the tv on."
"You were also talking in your sleep, honey."
"I was?! What was I saying?"
"You were talking about how beautiful the sea was and calling someone, 'my love'."
"What?" she gave her a baffling look and embarrassed that her mother heard her say something like that.
"It also sounded like you were very sad in your dream."
"That's weird." Mina was so confused. "I never talk in my sleep…"
"I know, that's why I thought to ask you," her mother replied. "What was your dream about?"
"Just me looking at the sea, that's all. I don't remember talking to anyone or even talking at all," she shrugged.
"Maybe you just remembered the end of it?" her mother assumed.
"Yeah, I guess so," she shrugged again.
"Well, I thought I'd just check on you," she patted her leg, smiling. "Come down for breakfast when you're ready. Your father had some things to finish up at the office. I'm going to my palliates class and I'll be back around noon or so. Will you be okay by yourself?"
Mina laughed. "Yeah, mom. You forget I used to live with you guys."
For the rest of the weekend, she tried to spend as much time with her parents, watching the UW Husky game against the WSU Cougars and cheering at the tv when the Huskies won. Her parents had also gone to UW, where they met. They were big on movies as well, renting as many as they could and watching it until it was dark out. They were a very simple family at heart, enjoying things together that didn't require a lot of planning.
"I'm gonna go now," Mina stretched after the last movie they watched. "I want to do some laundry before tomorrow."
"Okay, sweetie," her mother stood up. "Let me pack some of the leftovers so you can bring it back with you."
"Oh, by the way, dad, I've decided to go on that Europe trip with my class," she told her father.
"That's good to hear, sweetheart. We'll exchange itineraries and meet somewhere in the middle."
"I might spend a few days in London with my friends then I can meet up with you guys afterwards."
"Okay, honey," her dad said, still focused on the tv.
"Here you go," her mother handed her a bag with food wrapped in aluminum foil.
"Thanks, mom," she smiled.
"Go ahead and keep the tupperware, we have plenty."
Mina kissed her mother and father and said good-bye. She left for campus with it still raining outside. The thing about Seattleites is that no matter how much it rained, people still didn't know how to drive it in. Even when it was sunny, it was the same thing. There was traffic everywhere.
There was something about the dream she had that lingered with her. It felt like a scene from a movie. She remembered the sea looking beautiful with the sun setting over the horizon, cascading a beam of light like a pathway on its waters that she could walk on and disappear into the distance.
"Soon, my love…" she heard her mind echo.
Someone suddenly honked at her, startling her out of her reverie, not realizing that the traffic in her lane had finally started moving again.
"This is no time to be daydreaming, Mina," she told herself. The weather outside wasn't really the ideal setting to be thinking about mysterious dreams that made no sense.
"Hey, Mina!" Lily, her roommate, greeted her when she walked into the dorm room. She was drying her hair with a towel as she plopped down on her bed.
"Hey, Lil," she said, taking off her wet jacket and placing it by the heater.
"How was your parents this weekend?"
"It was good. Oh, by the way, here's some leftovers my mom packed for you."
"Aww, that's nice. Your mom is so sweet!" Lily took the brown bag from her. "Tell her I said thank you!"
"Yup. Will do."
"Anyways, I'm going the library to study. I'll see you later," she smiled and walked out with her umbrella.
Lily Gillian was a tall girl with brown hair and hazel eyes. She also studied nonstop and was rarely in their dorm room. She was either in the library or at her boyfriend's place who graduated the year before them.
Mina sighed when she looked at her laundry. She forgot to bring it to her parents because she was trying to get away from Vincent Pepper after class on Friday. Luckily, she had enough quarters to get her through her two loads of laundry. She sat there at the laundry mat watching the machine spin quietly with her clothes swirling around inside. Her mind started drifting back to the dream. She couldn't remember much of it but it was hard to forget for some reason. No dream before had made such an impact on her and she didn't understand why this one was so intriguing and was still on her mind.
The machine buzzed, making her jump just like the car did earlier that honked at her during traffic. She really needed to stop letting things like that get to her. She shook off the feeling, gathered her things in her basket, and went back to her dorm. Only a two weeks left of class and then…it was off to Europe.
Author's Note: So, how was the first chapter? Hope you liked it. Please review!