by Tari

Chapter 1

The battle at Helm’s Deep was fierce.  The field was strewn with many bodies, men, Uruk-Hai, elves.  On the morning of the fifth day of battle, a great light shown from the east.  Over the hill came Gandalf, Éomer and the Rohirrium causing much confusion and fear among the Uruk-Hai.  Then suddenly over the same hill appeared another army lead by a tall, slender rider wearing a plain, unmarked helm and bearing no banners They sped down the hill and circled to the left of the Rohirrim causing further panic among the Uruk-Hai who, seeing a lush green forest near by, headed toward it.  However, the forest, which was really the Ents, also hated Sauron and his armies and therefore proceeded to destroy the Uruks as they entered it.
The battle was over.  Man had temporarily won.  The leader of the second army felt something pulling him towards the Hornburg. Upon reaching the wall, the warrior dismounted and slowly walked up the stair that were strewn with bodies, until he came to the body of an elf blocked the way.  Looking down upon that beautiful elvin face and the warrior knelt down for a closed look.  A pain such as not experienced before ripped through his heart, tearing it in two.
At that moment Aragorn rode up with Galdolf, Legolas, Gimli, and Éomer behind him. He looked at the kneeling figure and released a soft cry.  “Ariel, why are you here?”  At the sound of his voice, the leader removed her helm, releasing a long golden braid.  She had clear blue eyes and pale skin.  She possessed the beauty of the elves.
“I left you in a safe place.  Why did you leave”?    He asked.  “Aragorn, dear brother, you above all should know there is no safe place while Sauron is loose.”  His army of Orcs was approaching the Hidden Valley from the north, and was spotted by our border patrol.  We packed only essential items and made our escape with great haste.  As we crossed the second range of hills, I looked back and saw the smoke.  Our village was burning.  It was then I know I must enter the war.  But tell me, brother, why am I so distraught over the loss of an elf I don’t even know, and what is this wetness that slides from my eyes, down my face?”  “Those are tears Ariel”, said Aragorn.  “You have never shed any before.”
“You must tell her now” said Gandalf.  “At least as much as you are permitted to say.  It is time.”  “You are right Gandalf, but this shall be very hard for me to do.”  And so he began.
Chapter 2
“The elf you ask about is named Haldir.”
“During my last visit, I told you we were going to Lothlorien and Rivendell where you were to meet Galadriel and Elrond.  Unfortunately, Sauron would not wait.”  “What does a trip to Lothlorien have to do with what has happened here to me and to Haldir?” she asked.
“I’ll give you a quick explanation.  Galadriel will finish the story.”  “Arathorn had a brother named Earnil, who also loved the elves and so he would visit Rivendell as often as he could.  The Orcs were becoming restless, so Arathorn sent Earnil to Rivendell for a meeting with Elrond to discuss how best to defend themselves.  It also happened Elrond’ sister, Glorindhel decided to return with Arwen for a short visit.”
“Earnil always felt peace deep within his soul when he wandered through the lush, green woods of Rivendell.  He could often be found sitting by a stream, listening to the gentle rush of water over stone.  One day as he was sitting in quiet meditation, he saw Glorindhel walking along the other side of the stream.  He had never seen anyone so lovely in all his life.  She had hair of gold falling below her waist.  Her pale blue dress flowed softly around her.  She floated, rather than walked along the path.  He was lost.  She had captured his heart.  Never would he be able to love another woman as he now loved her.  He wanted to approach her, but know that would not be acceptable.  He was mortal and must wait for Elrond to make the intro-ductions.  It would be hard to wait, but wait he would.  But when the time came, he didn’t what he could say to her.”
The time for the evening meal didn’t arrive soon enough to suit him.  When he was finally called to dinner, he approached the table a bundle of nerves.There sat Glorhindel even more lovely up close.  Dinner came and went, and he knew not what he ate.  He stayed a month longer than necessary in order to give her a chance to get to know him.  They would often walk along the same stream where he first saw her, sometime just listening to the many sounds and sometime just talking quietly.  
He knew it was extremely rate for a mortal to marry an elf, but marry her he must.  Elrond was not happy about giving his sister to a mortal.  She too would become mortal and never join him and the rest of the elves in the undying lands.  But, since he was unable to refuse his sister anything, he consented.  They were wed, but had precious little time together.  A messenger arrived requesting that Earnil return home immediately.
Months passed with no word to Glorindhel as to when Earnil would return.   Soon after he left, she found she was with child, but did not send word to Earnil until it was time for the baby to be born.  He arrived just in time for the birth of a beautiful baby boy.  Glorindhel named him Haldir.  Her labor pains continued, and moments later, she gave birth to an equally beautiful baby girl.  “Earnil” she said, “you name this child.”  And so he named her Ariel. “What” said Ariel, ‘how can that be?  I don’t even look like an elf.”  “Yes you do Ariel,” said Aragon, “except for your ears.”  “Have you never wondered why you were better at everything; riding, running, using the bow, than any of the men?”  
“Then you are not my real brother,” she said.  ‘I’ll always be your brother,” said Aragorn.  It matters not who your parents were.”
“Legolas,” said Aragorn, “have Haldir prepared for our trip to Lothlorien.  Have a messenger sent ahead to alert Elrond and Galadriel of our coming.”Legolas nodded his consent and turned to leave, his eyes lingering on Ariel for a brief moment.
Haldir’s body was placed on pallet and secured between two horses.  Ariel rode along side so she could gaze upon her brother.  Not a word did she speak.  Legolas and Gimli accompanied them, giving Aragorn a little moral support.  They only stopped to rest the horses and to have a quick lunch.  When it became too dark to travel, they made camp and had supper.  Ariel barely ate and still said nothing.  She had so much to consider.  Why?  Why had no one told her?  She missed so much by not being able to grow up with Haldir.  They had no right to do this.  
After a few days of her silence, Legolas could stand no more.  That night he sat next to her during the evening meal and starting talking about the elves, how they lived, what they liked to do, anything to turn her mind away from Haldir’s death.  She began to look forward to his visits.  
Aragorn, watching them, saw something growing between the two of them.  “Why the troubled look upon your face?” asked Gimli.  “There are still some things Ariel does not know,” replied Aragorn.  “There is still a great battle to be fought.  We don’t know if Frodo will succeed in destroying the ring.  If he does, and we are saved from Sauron, there will be more surprises for Ariel.  I’m not sure she will like them.”