A/N: So... Hi! This story has an interesting back-story which I'm not going to tell you. :) But basically, I've known the in-depth storyline of this story for a long time, but I never thought about writing it until now. Not a single character falls for my OC! Nope, no romance. Instead, she'll get hurt a lot and everyone will worry. So yup. Here we go.
I was brushing my teeth, just like on any other night. I scrubbed hard, making sure to get everywhere. After several minutes of that, I changed into my PJs and got into bed. Yup. That was pretty much my evening. Boring right? Well, as I was to find out, that was about to change. As I drifted off to sleep, I couldn't help but think how cold I was. And how uncomfortable my bed was. And speaking of that, how itchy the mattress cover was. And why had someone left a fan on? Luckily (or maybe unluckily), I fell asleep anyway.
The next thing I noticed was the horrible aching in head. I struggled to open my eyes, but a soft voice whispered, "Sleep...", and I gladly gave in.
Then I woke up. It was sudden, and a little shocking. I lifted my head hesitantly, wondering if the pain would return, when I froze. My eyes shifted slowly, taking in the huge four-poster bed I was sleeping in, the intricate carvings and graceful statues on the delicate wood walls, and the candelabra that daintily stood next to me. Actually, the most prominent thing I noticed was that my room had several arches cut into the walls which opened straight into an ethereal world of trees, rushing water, and elegant archways.
And then I saw my first person. He (or she, it was hard to tell which) walked regally down a passageway outdoors, making no noise, and looking perfectly serene and content. At this, my brain froze up. One word stood out prominently from the jumbled contents: ELF. No, I thought. There's no way. Just...that would be incredible! Can it really be? Yes, my heart told me, it must be. No, my brain countered, it's not real. But my heart won out in the end. I was flooded with utter glee as I realized I must be in Rivendell.
All my life, I had read the books and watched the movies, to the point where I knew every scene and almost every line by heart. My only regret was that I would never be able to see it in person. And here I was, sitting, in a bed, in Rivendell. It looked exactly as Peter Jackson had depicted it, and yet somehow more regal, and more elegant, and more grand, and more beautiful - most of all, more real. How in the world did I get here? And when did I get here? Other than the ecstatic urge I had to jump up and down and fangirl squeal, I was desperately wondering whether I had come before or after the events of the Fellowship, and if so, how far separated? I wouldn't want to come all this way only to find out Bilbo was still a tiny hobbit child playing games and climbing trees with his friends.
Feeling like a kid at an amusement park, I threw back the covers and hopped onto the ground. I was dressed in a light and gauzy medieval-style dress. It was pure white, with a delicate silver belt resting softly on my hips. I couldn't help but smile at what I thought must be the elves' choice of wardrobe for me - it was exactly like what I'd always wanted my wedding dress to be. My dark brown hair lay softly on my shoulders, and my feet were bare, making me feel like a princess from a dream.
Cautiously, I moved toward the other side of the room. I felt a little unsteady, which reminded me of the headache I had had sometime in my sleep. Still, I wouldn't let that stop me from finding out where I was, so I stepped outside onto a set of thin but solid steps. A cool breeze brushed my cheek, and I couldn't help but feel totally and completely happy. I closed my eyes for a moment, listening to the airy tunes of the birds and the rustle of leaves.
A soft, deep voice startled me out of my thoughts: "I see that you have awoken." Looking to my left, I saw a tall man with thoughtful eyes smiling slightly at me.
"My lord Elrond," I said, curtseying, as instinct overrode my sudden desire to squeal and hop up and down. I decided to try and suppress these urges as I knew I would probably meet others who would induce similar reactions in me.
"I see you know who I am, though I do not know you," Elrond continued, still with the same slight smile on his face. "Come, let us walk and talk together. I have many things I wish to know."
He held out his hand, and I took it, barely knowing how I did so. He helped me down the steps, and then we began walking. I tried to match Elrond's long, smooth steps while still absorbing everything around me. Elrond had been silent for a while when he said, "I take it you have never seen a home of the elves before."
I made a wry face. "You would be absolutely right on that point. I live far away from any elves."
"And where do you come from?" Elrond asked.
I thought for a moment. There was no way I could tell him the truth: that I came from a small town in the middle of the US, which was actually in a different world entirely than where I was here. However, I couldn't let the silence hang for too long, so I settled for a vague answer. "I come from a place...a long way from here. In fact, it's not even in Middle-Earth. No one from my country has ever even been to Middle-Earth. Most people don't even think it really exists."
Elrond gave me a piercing stare. I thought he would ask me for specifics, but instead he turned away once more and asked, "Before we go on, may I ask you your name?"
I blushed, having totally forgotten to introduce myself properly. Digging quickly through my reserves of Middle-Earthian names, I settled for an Elvish name I had gotten once from one of those name translators: "My name is Aranel."
"Glad to have met you, Aranel." We walked in silence for another moment before Elrond asked, "If your land is so far away, then how is it that my scouts found you near the borders of Rivendell?"
I stopped, taken aback by what he'd said. "Is that really what happened?"
"Tell me what you remember first, and then I will tell you the story."
"Alright," I began. "I don't actually remember very much. I had a relatively normal day, and I went to bed that night as usual. Then, next thing I knew, I woke up here." I stopped. The events were already becoming a little fuzzy, and I felt there was something I was forgetting.
"Are you sure there was nothing else?" Elrond pressed.
I shook my head. "No, not really. Well, actually I did feel cold and itchy as I fell asleep. Almost as if...I was...outside. Could that be true?"
Elrond dipped his head in assent. "My scouts were patrolling the borders of Rivendell as usual, when they saw you lying on the ground some distance away. You were out in the open, fast asleep. They carried you back, but you had already contracted hypothermia. For three days you lay sleeping, until this morning when you woke up. Today is September the 18th."
My brain spun with this information. "So..." I began to think out loud. "If I felt the grass as I fell asleep, then I must have somehow transported here instantly. It's the only explanation." I looked quickly at Elrond. What I had just suggested was rather out of the ordinary.
However, he didn't seem fazed by my deduction. Instead he looked up into the bright blue sky and sighed. "If that is so, why do you think it happened?" he asked.
"Well, I guess God - I mean Eru must have brought me here in order to do something. Maybe something that has to do with-" I hesitated. Would it be a smart idea to bring up such a touchy subject? Elrond barely knew me. But his piercing eyes seemed to bore into my brain, so I took a leap of faith and said, "I think it has something to do with the Ring."
Immediately, Elrond drew himself up to his full height. He towered over me, and I couldn't help but avert my eyes from his searching glance. Loudly he questioned, "What do you know of the Ring?!"
Cowering helplessly, I attempted to explain. "Well, in my land, we know the legend of Isildur and how he acquired the One Ring. And...well, we also know that it was lost for years, and..."
As I stumbled and stuttered my way through an insufficient story, Elrond looked off into the distance, and when I stopped once more, he looked at me. In his eyes, I could read so many emotions: sadness, pain, despair, love, and hidden behind everything else, a little bit of hope. With great heaviness in his demeanor, he said, "You are not of this world, are you?"
This statement took me completely aback and I stammered, "How - how did you know?" It seemed impossible that Elrond, who was so logical and wise, could possibly suggest that. And yet, perhaps it was these very qualities that led him to believe this outlandish fact.
He looked into the distance again. "I have foreseen it."
After a lengthy silence, I asked tentatively, "Do you know what it is I have to do?" Although I felt that I was here to help with the affair of the Ring, I had no idea what my role in it could possibly be. In the movies and the books, of course the Fellowship had succeeded on their own. Of course they had had help from others in Middle-Earth, but not from someone from a different dimension.
"No, I do not know what your role in this will be," Elrond finally replied. "All I can tell you is that it will not be easy. There is a chance you might not survive."
At this I gulped.
"But I know," he finished, "that without you, Middle-Earth is lost."
After our first meeting, Elrond and I grew into a routine of having a discussion every other day. We talked of many things, and he taught me a little rudimentary Elvish. There were many book in Rivendell, however, which were written in the Common Tongue, and I read profusely, learning everything I could about almost any subject available. I particularly looked for any information which might give me a clue as to my purpose there.
And one day I found it. I was flipping through a book on Mordor, when a piece of information caught my eye. I looked closer, and that's when I realized its significance for me. My throat closed up in fear. There was no way I could possibly do this on my own.
I spoke to Elrond that night. He became very grave when he learned of my discovery. But he knew I was right. The next day, I began sword instruction under one of the other elves. Although I took to it naturally, I still hadn't learned very much by the time Arwen rode into Rivendell carrying a very important burden...
A/N: So this was officially the longest chapter I've written in any story ever (which is kind of sad 'cause it's still only 2,000 words). So tell me what you think so far. Also, I'm in a dilemma. I can't decide where to have Aranel go after the breaking of the Fellowship. There are three options: she could go with Sam and Frodo, she could go with Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, or she could save Boromir's life and strike out on her own with him. I have ideas for all three, and I just can't decide. So let me know what you'd like in the comments! I might also put up a poll later. Thanks! Bye!