Don't Wake Me Up
A Strike From The Shadows
I lie idly on my bed, still quite stricken by my meeting with Galadriel. I'm not quite sure what to make of it, and the Ring has been oddly silent. Ever since I spoke to her it has been silent, dead silent, as if waiting for something. I shake my head; such thoughts are best left alone. I'm safe here.
I sit up, looking towards the door. I don't want to stay in this silence any longer. I stand, making my way towards the door. I step out into the hall and start walking slowly, no particular place in mind yet. Perhaps I will visit Aragorn. The sun is setting and the shadows are growing longer as the minutes slip slowly by, each second bringing Middle Earth one step closer to its doom unless we prevail. The game is stacked against us, it seems, but I must have hope. We can't fail.
A shadow moves slightly, darting left. I glance up to see a monstrous creature leaping down at me. I have no weapons so I dive out of the way and it lands with a thud before advancing menacingly. I leap back, my back hitting a wall painfully and sink down to my knees, my death approaching silently. An orcish assassin, unheard of up until now. I didn't even think it was possible. I close my eyes, my breath catching in my throat. It can't end like this.
I walk down the near silent halls, clean and unarmed for the first time since I arrived here. Soon, my magic will no longer be a threat and everything will be a bit more normal. As I sigh contentedly and turn a corner my heart stops.
An orc looms menacingly over Frodo, sword raised and poised to strike. I have mere seconds to react and then I feel myself get shoved aside, except my body didn't move. I watch as I raise a hand and with a single word a bolt of white lightning erupts from my fingertips, hitting the orc squarely and throwing him back. He hits a wall, electricity arcing through his body as he convulses. I feel light headed, my body tingly and I turn towards Frodo, who is staring at me with eyes wide. I take a shuddering step and fall, my legs giving out. I collapse onto the floor and everything goes black.
My eyes open and look around. I'm in the room Galadriel provided for me and I see the fellowship talking in hushed voices on the balcony, except for Aragorn, who stands by my side.
"She's awake." He says to the rest of the group as our eyes meet. The Fellowship gathers around me and I sit up.
"How long was I out?" I ask quietly, hoping it wasn't long. We can't afford much delay if we are to destroy the ring whilst also avoiding Sauron's forces.
"A few hours." Aragorn says calmly. I see concern on everyone's face and open relief on Frodo's. A few hours is ok, but I'm glad it wasn't more. I close my eyes, still just semi-conscious. I feel the bed shift as Aragorn sits down beside me and my eyes open once more.
"Frodo told us what he saw, but now I'm more interested in your side of the story." Aragorn's voice draws every eye and then directs them to me. Boromir seems particularly interested in my odd actions, and I suspect he is looking for a reason to distrust me. Then again, he does not know much about me and could just be confused.
"I am not entirely sure what happened. It's like I wasn't me for a moment. I don't have answers, to be honest. Only more questions." I admit to the Fellowship my lack of understanding and Aragorn nods.
"Aragorn, I need to speak to you privately." I speak quietly, looking up at him. He nods and politely asks to have a few minutes alone to talk with me.
"I don't know what happened. Lately I have been having dreams of a warrior. A woman named Alessia and when I came here, Galadriel confirmed the dreams to be true. Alessia is the one who brought me here, because her spirit cannot rest until she has been avenged. I think that she took over and acted on her own, though I was not aware that she could do that." Aragorn nods as I speak, thinking it over.
"I have heard tales of a warrior by that name. It is an obscure tale, and more of a scandal than the story of a hero. Legend states that a women dressed as a man, avenging her father who had been stricken down in the war against Sauron. She took her father's place and was a brilliant tactical leader, but she was no match for his sheer power. She fell in the final battle against him though she helped lead her people to victory alongside the elves and the dwarves. She became a legend, and then a name without a face until eventually, she was forgotten. Wiped from the history books, she is remembered by precious few. Her story is only told in whispers, as she cannot be publically praised due to the deceitful means used to achieve her goals. My grandfather told me her tale when I was a boy." I listen intently to Aragorn as he speaks. Now that I know the tale, it all makes sense. Alessia fought to save her people and was cast aside. Of course she would want someone like her to return and be the hero that she was unable to be.
I look outside. The sun has set and the sky is dark, but there's a purple glow on the horizon. I stare out at it, entranced by the thin line of purple that lingers still, clinging to life amidst the dark night sky. It reminds me of us, our quest, a single strand of light and hope amidst all this darkness. We must leave this place soon, and press on towards the source of the evil. The beginning and end of the pure evil that is the wicked and powerful ring, Mordor.
"Aragorn, were you told what the magic can do to me if I don't control it?" I feel exhausted and weary, drained of my vitality. The look he gives me tells me that he has not and I sigh.
"It can kill me. Lady Galadriel offered me a way out, in a sense. A way to protect myself from it by locking it within myself so that it cannot be used. I am not sure that that would be the best course of action anymore. Given what happened today, learning to control it may be of more use than not having it at all." Aragorn nods, listening intently.
"What do you want?" He asks. I hadn't even thought of that. What do I want? I lean back, not sure what it is that I want. I want to help but I'm afraid.
"I'm afraid, Aragorn. I want to help and be of use but how can I when I'm terrified?" The words spill from me before I can stop them because it's true. I am very afraid.
"There can be no courage without fear. You are stronger than you think." He replies.
"Rest now; we leave at dawn to continue on our way to Mordor." He brushes the hair from my face and stands, turning and walking towards the door, leaving me to my thoughts. I succumb to the exhaustion, quickly falling asleep.
I stand on the edge of a cliff once more, balancing upon the precipice, trying not to fall. I take a step back when suddenly; I'm standing on a pillar of stone. I stand alone, tall and unmoving, but afraid. A thin but long path appears before me, about a foot wide and lacking in support or stability. A voice on the wind whispers quietly, the words soft and smoothly spoken, drifting on the wind so that each syllable is individual, but flows together like a song. Alessia?
"The way is long and hard, stray but an inch and you shall fall, and if you should fall, then all will be lost, and the world will be plunged into an eternal darkness. Balance is everything, until the wind picks up. Go fast, go straight, and don't look back." I glance back and see a huge black cloud moving towards me, moving fast. I race along the narrow path, not pausing or stopping. I hear thunder rumbling all around me, and run faster. Wind begins to tug at me, threatening to snatch me from the path.
"It's not until you fall that you learn you can fly." Whispers the voice of an old woman. This voice is ancient and powerful, unlike that of the young thing I heard before. The wind continues to grow stronger, and I know I won't be able to run much further. I stop and look behind me. The massive black cloud extends on both sides further than I can see.
This is a dream, I think to myself. I feel the salty spray of the ocean crashing into the path far below me, and watch as lightning strikes within the inky black cloud. I start to question the reality of this dream. Is this a dream? What if I don't wake up? I look down. It's a long fall with pointed rocks looming far below me. I take a deep breath, the words of the old woman resonating in my mind. The wind screams in my ears, and thunder roars deafeningly. I can't jump. I run, barreling down the path as fast as I can. It isn't enough. The wind tugs at me and I slip, tumbling down the long drop to my certain death.
"It's only when you fall that you learn you can fly." The words echo, softer than before. I claw at the air, trying to grab something, anything, but there is nothing. I'm screaming, plummeting down and then I hit the bottom.
My eyes open as I sit up, sucking in air. I feel so shaken up and I try to steady myself. I stand on shaky legs, turning to look out the window. The horizon is burning orange and the sky has turned varying shades of purple and blue. Dawn approaches, and I am reminded of what Aragorn said. We'll be leaving soon.
I sigh, shaking off the dream. It was just a dream, and it doesn't mean anything. It doesn't matter. I repeat this to myself over and over again, trying to convince myself of that. How much can a dream like that really mean, anyways?
I stand up and change into my armour, brushing my hair before putting it into a high ponytail, keeping it out of my face. I slip my sword belt around my waist and gather my things. The sun has crept over the horizon, casting shadows on the world and basking everything in a cool morning glow, bathing the world in colors more vivid than any artist's paints could be. The world is ablaze everywhere the light hits, and I can't help but be in awe of the glorious sight before me. It's almost enough to distract me. Almost.
A knock at the door draws me from my reverie. I open the door, only to see a small elven boy. I grab my gear and he leads me the first room we entered when we arrived. My other companions are already there and are talking amongst themselves. They each hold an item they hadn't had before, except for Gimli, who seems to be holding… hair? I'll ask him later, Galadriel is waiting for me off to the side. I walk over to her, bowing slightly.
"Is there something you wish of me?" I ask her. She motions for me to stand and I do so. She hands me and object, and I look at it closely. It's an amulet. Amethyst hangs from a mithril cord, catching the light and gleaming beautifully.
"This pendant will allow Alessia to contact you. You can call upon her to guide you, and she can lend you her strength and speed in an instant. You will need it for what is to come." Her words are quiet as I place it around my neck.
"Thank you, Galadriel. I appreciate it." Perhaps this will give me better control over the odd abilities that have been popping up, like speaking elvish and knowing how to fight as I did. I don't like not having complete control of myself.
I rejoin the group, standing solemnly beside them. Aragorn stands on my left and Gimli stands on my right. We all stand together, knowing that we can't stay. I wish now that we could. I want to stay here and forget. We can't and I know what we can't but hells, I wish more than anything I could stay.
The time has come to leave; we gather our things and set out, Frodo seeming a bit shaken but all in all ok. We get into small elvish boats and just like that we're off, leaving the safety and company of the elves behind. We float down the great river Anduin, the tension palpable. I feel it like electricity tingling in the air. I'm sitting with Gimli and Legolas, who have not said much and avert their gaze, staring out at the water and forest. Sam, Merry and Pippin all sit together, talking merrily and laughing. Boromir, Frodo and Aragorn sit quietly in the third boat, saying no more than us.
"Do you think we can come back once we finish this? It's a nice place, truly." Legolas glances up, not having expected Gimli to try and start a conversation. A hint of a smile touches his face and Gimli automatically defends himself.
"What's so funny?" He asks pointedly. I sit back, amused, watching the scene play out. Boys will be boys, regardless of age, race, or situation. The notion causes me to smile as well, the thought reassuring. It's funny that even here, in this mess, some things will never change. Gimli turns to me, eyes narrowed. He looks between Legolas and myself as though we were conspiring against him.
"Oh nothing." I say unconvincingly, holding back a smile. Gimli glances between us, and I realize that it's to distract us. I smile a bit broader now, glad of his intentions. The hair he had been given earlier is pinned to his armour right over his heart. I wonder if it is, perhaps, that symbol of her blessing that so inspires the dwarf. He did seem quite taken by her.
I turn towards the shore, looking out over the water and admiring the view. Despite its many dangers and lack of sense during the better part of any given day, I must admit that Middle Earth is truly quite beautiful. Legolas is staring broodily out at the world, and Gimli and I exchange a quick glance to silently agree upon our decision.
"You're brooding, Legolas. What's got you so worked up?" He turns to look at me, life once again returning to his previously darkened eyes. He shakes his head, denying his mannerisms.
"I'm not brooding." He says finally. He looks straight at me, sending a shiver down my spine. His face remains impassive, and I wonder if I imagined his smiles and passion. How could someone so cold have such emotions? For truly, that is what Legolas seems to be right now. Gimli observes us, noting the lengthy silence.
"You really are brooding elf, what's got yer sword bent?" My smile has already faded by the time Gimli speaks. Legolas sits quietly, and all the noise around us seems to fade. I become keenly aware of the little noises and things that stand out to me. Is it really this silent, or are our minds deceiving us?
"Nothing." Legolas says finally. Gimli turns away from the elf, knowing better than to try to pry information from him. He shakes his head, his wild red beard bouncing to and fro. I sigh and look ahead. My breath is snatched away by the sight that looms before us.
Two massive statues stand proudly on either side of the river, each three hundred feet tall. They are look like kings, staring over the land with an icy stone visage. They loom proudly and majestically over the river, making me feel particularly small. Aragorn stares at them from his boat, seeming particularly entranced. He tells Frodo something and Frodo too stares up at them. I wonder what they mean to him that he is so affected by their presence. The current carries us through the gap at the statue's feet and each boat falls silent in turn, staring up the stone kings. This is some world we are in.