Thorin and Company were led through Rivendell to a balcony where they feasted. Though the elves mostly ate food from the ground, "rabbit food" as the dwarves liked to call it, they were greatly happy to have food in their bellies and a safe place to rest. Songs were sung, lilting in the beautiful way elven voices do, and not even Thorin could deny their beauty. It was true that he was unhappy in staying with the elves, but he did remember his courtesies. The Lord Elrond was as noble and as fair in face as an elf-lord, as strong as a warrior, as wise as a wizard, as venerable as a king of dwarves, and as kind as summer. It proved difficult to dislike the elf, though many of the older dwarves had tried.
Gandalf assured Thorin that after a few days to show the well manners of the dwarves they would be on their way. Of course Gandalf had a plan all his own, but he did not share it with Thorin in that moment. After speaking with the wizard Thorin warned the rest of the Company to behave their best, which was not an easy thing to accomplish for a dwarf.
They were given a room with beds to rest in, and many were thankful to sleep on something other than the ground. Bilbo especially, who had never before left the comfort of his hobbit-hole. But he had always yearned to meet an elf, and he was most happy at staying in their company for they were very lovely people.
The sun had fallen and risen anew, and they woke warm in their beds and with high spirits. The smell of food drew them to the balcony where they had previously feasted the night before, and they were given a hearty breakfast. Lord Elrond joined them and he and Gandalf spoke quietly to one another, in both the common and elvish tongues. Though Gandalf asked one question that captured all their attention:
"When will she return?"
Bilbo stopped mid-chew and looked to the wizard, wondering what he was talking about.
Elrond smiled softly before taking a sip of wine. "She should arrive before we feast again at noonday," he answered.
"Who is it you speak of?" Thorin asked, watching Gandalf carefully.
"Someone who may be of assistance in your quest."
Thorin sat his drinking cup on the table though he said nothing. The Lord Elrond excused himself after he had finished and Thorin turned his stern eyes towards the wizard.
"I will not welcome an elf into our company," said Thorin in a low voice.
"And nor would I expect you to," Gandalf said pleasantly. "She is not an elf."
"Who is she then?" Thorin asked less harshly, though not any kinder.
Gandalf drank his wine and ate more food, and Thorin's patience grew thin as he waited for an answer.
"I am afraid I cannot tell you, nor can you ask."
"Why would I offer a place in my company to a woman I do not know, a woman. I will not be responsible for another, your burglar is already proving to be too much."
Gandalf's own eyes turned stern as he listened to the dwarf. "There is more to Mr Baggins than you know," he said crossly.
"That says nothing of this woman."
"She has seen more battle than than most in this company and she has traveled the path you will take. She has taken the path through Mirkwood, she has been a guest to the Elvenking. She is fierce in battle, and she is strong of mind and heart, though she has little kindness to give to others. Should you give her a chance you would see she is much like you. That is all I will speak of the matter at this moment in time."
Gandalf stood telling the Company he would return to them at midday.
The dwarves were left to entertain themselves, which can be a terrible thing when they grow bored, though their interests where peaked when they saw someone ride into Rivendell.
Gandalf stayed true to his word and returned at exactly the moment it became noon, hurrying them towards the bridge they'd crossed to enter the elf place. They saw Elrond standing before a person in a deep red cloak, hearing them speak in the elvish tongue. They recognized the deep voice of Elrond, though they did not know who the lighter, sweeter voice belonged to.
"Eleni!" Gandalf cried rushing towards them.
"Gandalf," they clearly heard a woman's voice say. Small hands with long, slender fingers were around the wizard's back briefly as the two greeted one another. "I was unaware you would be visiting."
"I did not come alone," he said standing back so that the dwarves finally saw the woman. She had long dark hair that curled around her face, which was lovely with a strong jaw and sharp cheekbones. Her large gray eyes took in the sight of the dwarves before she turned back to Gandalf.
"I see that now," she said, amusement in her voice though her face was clear of all emotion. A young ellon took the woman's cloak and they saw she was wearing a dark brown skirt, a loose white shirt, and a vest the same color as the skirt. Though what they took the most interest in was the sheathed sword and the dried blood on her hands and clothes.
"Come," Gandalf said placing a hand on her back, "I would like to introduce you to Thorin and Company. Here is Thorin Oakenshield, and Fili and Kili, and Dwalin and Balin, and Nori and Dori and Ori, and Bifur and Bofur and Bombur. And last is Bilbo Baggins, our burglar." They all bowed as their names were said.
"A hobbit," she said confused. "An odd choice to accompany a group of dwarves, though something tells me they did not choose him."
Gandalf smiled and chuckled though the woman's face remained placid. In fact, Bilbo thought, she is not so lovely as I had first thought. Her face was stern and her eyes were hard, a smile would brighten her face splendidly, though Bilbo did not think she was one to smile often.
"This is Eleni," Gandalf said with a hand still around the small of her back. She was much shorter than the wizard, though she was a good head taller then Thorin.
"A pleasure to meet you all, now I have not eaten in two days and would very much like break my fast." She held her skirt and moved briskly up the stairs. She cleaned her hands before she ate, her skin free from the blood that had previously stained it. The dwarves gathered round her and began eating themselves, and though they asked many questions of her she gave very evasive answers.
"Now I suppose we should discuss you coming along on our quest," said Gandalf after they had finished.
"No agreement have I given for her to join us," Thorin said gruffly.
"This is the first I have heard of your adventure, not to mention the thought of joining you. Though I am sure you have an adequate reason for objecting my coming with you," said Eleni, her hard eyes trained on Thorin.
"I know nothing about you..."
"I assume you know all there is to know about your burglar," she interrupted rudely.
"That is beside the point. Hobbits have soft hearts, they are more trustworthy."
Her gaze deepened to the point where she was now glaring. Kili hid his smile as the woman met his uncle's hard stare with an even more severe one of her own. Fili watched amused, never knowing another person who would willingly challenge Thorin.
"More trustworthy than a woman who lives in the company of elves, you mean." It was no question, nor did it require an answer.
"You live with them, you call them friend, how am I to trust you?"
"What reason do you have not to?" she challenged.
"I have every reason not to trust you," said Thorin, his voice growing louder. "I know nothing about you."
"You know everything about me, Thorin Oakenshield," she replied, "you are just not aware of it." Her voice was even and lethal, and her gray eyes were severe. She stood from the table and returned to her chambers, bidding none of them goodbye.
"I like her," Kili said with a smile. Thorin glared at his nephew, whose eyes dropped to his lap. He turned his gaze to Fili, expecting him to be smirking at his brother, though Fili's eyes were turned to where the woman had left to. Looking around the table Thorin saw that most of the dwarves had watched her leave, though Gandalf was giving him a stern look.
"She would be of the utmost assistance if you would let her."
Bilbo, having grown weary of their company, took it upon himself to explore Rivendell. He came across many elves, who greeted him with a lovely smile. He found a set of stairs leading to a large room and he slowly climbed them looking at the decorated walls and the paintings that hung on them. Gazing around himself with wide eyes he slowly made his way to the top of the stairs. To his left he saw a large statue holding something, and upon moving closer he saw that on a flat rock in the statue's hands lay a great sword broken into six pieces.
He stood in front of the statue, the top of his head barely reaching the rock tablet it held in its hands; he had to stand on the tops of his feet to see the shining steel of the blade.
"It is the sword of Elendil," he heard a light feminine voice say from behind him. He turned to see the woman, Eleni, standing in the shadows behind him. "The sword that was broken, or better known as Narsil." He looked back to the broken blade and then up at the solemn face of the statue which held it.
"What great deeds has it done?" Bilbo asked looking back at the woman. Her dress was lighter than her previous skirts, it flowed around her as though the fabric were made of air; a dress made by elves.
"It was wielded by Elendil, The High King of Gondor and Arnor. He fought and died in the Last Alliance of Elves and Men, have you heard of it?" she asked, peeling her eyes from the sword to look at Bilbo.
"Only briefly, milady," he said uncomfortable under her melancholy stare.
"The King died at the hands of Sauron," she said turning her eyes back to the broken sword. "His son Isildur took up his father's sword, breaking under Sauron's foot, and he cut the ring of power from the enemy's hand."
Bilbo was almost in a daze as he listened to the way her airy voice lilted over the words she spoke. "What became of him?" he asked. "Isildur?"
"The ring destroyed his heart, leading to his death." Her voice was far away as she lifted her hand to touch the hilt of the sword, her fingers just barely brushing against it before pulling her hand back.
"And his son became King," Bilbo finished. "Was the ring passed on to him?"
"No, the ring was lost. And Isildur's line died with him."
When Bilbo looked back up at her he saw her eyes trained on him. She seemed to search for something in his eyes, making him squirm beneath her gaze. She turned her eyes back to the sword before she beckoned him to follow her. They retreated down the stairs and then into the sunlight. He could hear the loud voices of the dwarves, and she walked to where they came from.
"Do you think it wise to join your Company?" she asked as they neared the others.
"I was told the journey would most dangerous, and it has proven so."
"I suppose it has," she said quietly. "Though there are more dangers to come from the road you are taking."
"If you have been that way before, and you do not fear the risks, then I would like very much for you to come."
She looked back at him with a raised brow and he blushed under her long gaze. He noticed a slight lift of the corners of her mouth as she continued walking, the Company now coming into view.
"Lady Eleni," Balin called cheerfully. "I thought perhaps Thorin had frightened you away."
A chuckle sounded in the back of her throat. "It takes more than an arrogant dwarf to frighten me."
Thorin's glare hardened though she met it with a look of complete uncaring. She sat beside Bilbo and Ori, who blushed so severely she had asked him if he were alright, causing the others to tease him.
Gloin had asked her, rather, he ordered her, to explain her previous state when she had arrived.
"A small band of orcs, nothing serious."
"You don't think that is serious," Thorin exclaimed angrily.
She turned her eyes to him and shook her head. "No, not really."
The sleeves of her dress ended at her elbows, revealing a long scar on the back of her arm that disappeared beneath the fabric. Eleni caught Bilbo staring at it and he blushed, mumbling an apology.
"Have you had many dealings with orcs?" Balin asked, attempting to lessen Thorin's anger.
"I've had enough," she replied ruefully.
Her answer led to more questions, which she answered as truthfully as she dared. She spoke of her travels, choosing which tales to tell; she spoke briefly of Mirkwood saying only that it was dark and dangerous within the trees, she spoke of Rohan and Gondor and even of the town by the lake only days from the Lonely Mountain. She left out many of the orcs she had come across, and the men who would have taken advantage of her. Though many of the dwarves, namely Thorin, Balin, Dwalin, Dori, and Gloin, remembered many of the times she spoke of, though the times were before she should have been born.
Before any of them could ask for an explanation they heard a loud cry and running feet.
"Osu'Nys!" a young boy yelled running towards them. His dark hair went to his chin and he had the same gray eyes as Eleni.
Many of the dwarves, Fili, Oin, Nori, Bofur, Thorin, and the hobbit, looked to Eleni and saw her smile. Bilbo saw that he had been correct, a smile did transform her face into something beautiful. She stood and held her arms out as the boy ran to her and wrapped his arms around her waist.
"Estel," she said smiling as she held him. His head was pressed into her chest and she had an arm around his back and her other hand cradling his head.
"Did you kill any orcs?" he asked excitedly in the elven tongue.
"Many," she answered in return.
The dwarves all watched as the boy took her hand and led her away, continuing to ask her things in a language they did not understand. This greatly angered Thorin, for he bore no love for elves. But he still knew little of her, though what he did know he did not like. Looking at her face he would say she was no where near thirty, though she had told them of times that would place her age near sixty.
"I thought her name was Eleni," Bilbo asked Gandalf, who had been sitting quietly beside him.
"It is," the wizard replied after a rather long pause, something Bilbo noticed.
"What was it her son called her?" Bofur asked.
"Her son?" Gandalf asked in surprise. "She has no children."
"Are you sure," Bofur asked trying to see the two again, "he looked just like her."
"Oh you refer to Estel, he is not her son," Gandalf said before he blew a smoke ring into the air. "It was an elvish word meaning sister of his father. He is her nephew, and she loves him dearly."
They could still hear the excited chatterings of the young boy and the soft replies of his aunt. Many of the dwarves were in awe of her, for there were not many who disagreed so strongly with Thorin and left unharmed. And the way she held herself, as though she were bearing a great burden; a silent strength in her spine. Though there were a few who were not yet taken with her; namely Thorin, Dwalin, and Gloin. Though if her tales were to be believed, she knew the path they would journey, and her knowledge would be needed.
So this is an idea I've been playing around with, and depending on how many people are interested in it I may actually continue it. Her name is Eleni (the elvish word for star), but that is not her real name, and that will be revealed later. Along with her heritage, if you have not already figured it out [she is not a Mary Sue, I promise]. I will give a hint, her nephew is important, and Estel is not his actual name. Please tell me whether you are interested in this, so that I know whether I should continue it. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy.