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Darkest Before the Dawn

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Summary: They craved the dawn but were granted dusk instead.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Lord of the Rings > Buffy-Centered > Pairing: Other LotR(Recent Donor)LunaFR152376,2272125442,5676 Feb 1222 Dec 12No

Upon a Hill Named Túna

Happy Tolkien Reading Day!!!!!!!!!!!!





If this was Heaven, it was definitely a ‘National Geographic’ style Heaven.

After a couple hours of wandering around the mysterious woods, Buffy couldn’t help but notice the lack of harps, angels, and puffy clouds. Truth be told, this area felt more ‘real’ than she would have expected. Soft breezes ruffled her long hair, the ground was soft beneath her feet, and her stomach rumbled with hunger.

Buffy’s lips pursed in annoyance. You’d think Heaven would have an Applebee’s or something…just where was she supposed to get something to eat around here?

Sighing, she sat down under an oak tree and leaned her tired back against its firm trunk. Maybe, she thought, this wasn’t Heaven after all. Maybe this was some wacky portal business…and if that was the case then she needed to get back home.

Gnawing hunger had her quickly moving again. She walked for a while before she found a bushel of red berries. Not quite trusting things that grew out of the ground, especially in a potentially evil portal-world, Buffy nonetheless ate a couple since she had no choice.

She found them to be quite tasty.

***

It was perhaps a week or so of living on berries, mushrooms, and fresh water from nearby streams, before Buffy glimpsed another living being.

He was crouched in the trees, amidst the towering branches, with a finely crafted bow in his hands. Long golden hair that reached his waist was pulled back into intricate braids. His clothing was old-fashioned, very Robin Hood-esque, complete with brown leggings and a green tunic. However, regardless of his less-than-stellar ensemble, he was beautiful with pale skin and high cheekbones.

Buffy couldn’t help but wonder if he was an angel.

Then, so quick that even her enhanced vision barely witnessed it, the man nocked an arrow and let it sail into the woods, striking a young buck that she had failed to notice earlier. The arrow embedded into the animal’s chest and red blood blossomed as the animal fell. Buffy couldn’t help but gasp at the disturbing image – she was fine with death but cute Bambi-like death was not her cup of tea.

Instantly the man’s blue eyes turned towards her at hearing her gasp; his eyes opened widely in surprise before narrowing dangerously. He leapt from the tree and, as his hair sailed behind him, she noticed that he had pointy ears.

‘Demon?’ Buffy wondered idly. As he stalked towards her, raising his bow and arrow in her direction, Buffy fell back into a fighting stance. She had no weapons and probably could not outrun this dude’s arrows, but she could try to evade them.

As her mind contemplated various fighting scenarios, the pointy-haired dude shouted in a foreign language – it sounded like a song, almost like Italian except, ya know, not – and suddenly there were five other weird looking guys pointing their arrows at her.

“Great,” Buffy muttered darkly.

The one who killed Bambi’s dad starting speaking in a low and threatening voice that made the hairs on the back of her neck stand straight up – she may not understand his language but she understood that this was one dangerous dude.

Luckily, she was pretty dangerous herself.

Unfortunately, since she was outnumbered and weaponless, she knew it was time to act more Giles-y than herself. ‘Don’t die’ was, of course, the number one rule she needed to follow.

“I don’t understand,” Buffy admitted in a soft voice as she raised her arms harmlessly into the air.

The pointy-eared dudes shared suspicious glances with one another before their ‘leader’ began speaking again. Hanyanten? Quetilyë Eldarin?”

Buffy just shook her head.

Frowning, the leader switched to a different language and his words were stilted, as if he was unused to the language, and it was far more guttural than his fancy Italian-type speech. It almost sounded German or English but it was definitely not.

“Sorry,” Buffy shrugged. “I have no idea what you’re saying.” Her lips lifted into a smirk as she gave the men surrounding her a closer look. “Which means, I bet, you have no idea what the heck I’m saying, so I can tell you that although you’re all pretty hot looking I’m not so sure about the long hair.” Buffy’s head tilted as she remembered a movie her and mom watched a long time ago. “Honestly, I think only Brad Pitt a’la Legends of the Fall can really rock the long hair, but you guys do give him a run for his money.”

Perhaps suspecting that she was saying something not entirely appropriate, the leader barked an order to his underlings and suddenly Buffy found her wrists bound with silky – yet incredibly strong – rope.

Buffy let out a suffering sigh. “I guess this is the part where you take me to your leader?” she asked in a dry voice.

Inwardly she smiled at the dirty look the men gave her. They couldn’t speak the same language but it looked like they understood her sarcastic tone well enough.


***

Plans were not Buffy’s specialty. When it came to plan-making that was definitely more of a Xander or Giles thing. Sure, during a fight she was pretty good at being opportunistic and using her surroundings to help her, but that wasn’t quite the same.

And she really needed a plan.

Way she figured, she was being held by the pointy-eared leader as she rode with him on his horse only to be taken to his leader-leader, or something. She was definitely outnumbered but she could probably do something if she needed to. Then again, these guys moved way quicker than she had expected so maybe fighting them wouldn’t result in an automatic win. At the same time, her spidey sense wasn’t picking up any evil vibes. They were not human, that was for sure, but they also didn’t seem like virgin-sacrificing murderous types.

So. Did she attempt an escape or just ride this out and see if she could find some answers – as in, she was now pretty positive this wasn’t Heaven, so just where was she?

Buffy leaned back a little, brushing against the leader’s back, and tested the strengths of her bounds. She was surprised when he whispered something, in a harsh warning tone, and she decided to set her escape plans on ‘pause’ for the moment.

After all, she could always run away later if need be.

***

Being a So-Cal gal, Buffy was used to beaches and had never seen many other types of geographic areas. So when the pointy-eared guys began leading her towards a mountain range that reached such great heights that her neck hurt fom staring at them, Buffy couldn’t help the look of awe on her face.

“Wow,” she commented breathlessly.

Wispy clouds partially covered the sky and appeared to wrap around the mountain’s rocky peaks, like cotton candy on a stick. The peaks rose and fell, with the highest peaks located in the middle of the mountain range and the lowest closest to her, indicating the slight change in terrain from the grassy plain they rode on. Straight ahead Buffy could see a narrow passage that led its way through the mountains. In the northern foothills, to Buffy’s right, was a great hall and smoke curled out of a chimney. She wondered where they were going to take her.

“Where we heading?” she asked the maybe-demon guy who had her strapped to his horse, with him sitting behind her. She turned her head slightly to look at him. “To the hall?” Buffy gestured towards the hall in the northern foothills.

The hunter looked at the hall she pointed at and his eyes widened in surprise. “Heru Námo? Lá.” He gave a resolute shake of his head and pointed to the path in front of them. “Calacirya, a Tirion.”

“Huh?” Buffy really hated not knowing what the heck these dudes were saying.

Apparently it irked her prison guard as well, because he gave her an annoyed look and gestured for her to face forward.

Letting out a huff of annoyance, Buffy turned – not because he wanted her to, but because she didn’t want to look at his stupid face anymore.

Hmmph.

Buffy just didn’t understand that after everything she has done with her life – even (seemingly) sacrificing herself – she still got stuck in a bad situation. Sure, she didn’t think these guys were evil but that didn’t mean they wanted to be besties either. She couldn’t wait to figure all this out.

They had been riding for so long that twilight had begun to color the skies in soft pinks and purples. Passing the hall on the northern foothills, which were still miles away, they began to enter the narrow pass between the mountains. It was odd, Buffy thought, that this path existed. Here was a giant mountain range and then a perfectly straight pass that almost appeared to be carved from the mountain itself.

At some point Buffy fell asleep – riding a horse was definitely uncomfortable and the worst feeling ever – but she was exhausted and the constant bouncing eventually had her falling asleep.

When she awoke she saw that the mountain pass led to a hill with a gentle slope that towered higher in the sky than most buildings. The stars and waxing moon lit up the terrain, allowing Buffy to see the many wooden and stone buildings that were scattered across the top of the hill.

Her prison guard said something but all she caught was “Túna”. Buffy snorted in amusement. “Who the heck names their home ‘Tuna?” she asked.

A few of the nearby riders glared at her, perhaps not understanding her words but definitely understanding her sarcastic tone and the mention of their home.

It was late now; the moon was near the western horizon – or so Buffy hoped because for all she knew this dimension had a solar system that was wackier than her own. Hopefully, however, some things remained the same.

Less than an hour later they were riding through town and approaching a palace that had all of Buffy’s princess dreams as a child come through. Made of stone, it featured several towers with tapering roofs that looked like rounded triangles, and had a set of wooden front doors wider than two cars and guarded by some very serious-looking warrior guys.

After some gesturing and talking that she didn’t understand but assumed meant “I have a strange girl, we should lock her up” etc, Buffy was being led into the palace. Her arms were still bound by the silky rope; the extra length of it was now being held by her silver-haired prison guard. Eight more warriors followed her, each holding a weapon, and Buffy’s idle thoughts about escape were effectively vanished.

They walked up two flights of stairs and she was taken to a little bedroom in the corner of the palace. The guard gave her what sounded like a very stern warning and then he untied her bound wrists. Grimacing, Buffy rubbed the skin that now stung as blood rushed back to circulate but luckily the rope’s impressions on her skin were not as deeply embedded as she would have thought – the rope was strong but silky smooth.

Immediately after her ropes were off a woman with long cascading black hair and wearing a pale blue neck-to-floor gown brought in a tray of food and water. Buffy instantly perked up as she noticed how tasty the food smelled and looked – some sort of meat, a biscuit, and veggies. Yay!

Grinning, she told the woman “Thank you!” It wasn’t until now that she realized how hungry she was – apparently her capturers were so anxious to get here that they didn’t even stop to eat.

The woman smiled and inclined her head. “Alassenya,” she replied. As she left the room, passing the leader of the men who brought her here, Buffy shot the leader an irritated look.

“Glad to know at least some people here have manners,” Buffy scoffed with a roll of her eyes.

The man just glared, snapped back at her with (probably) another warning, left the room and shut the door. Buffy heard the turning of a key; she figured they would lock it.

Sighing, she turned to her food. Today had been a very long day, she was hungry, and as soon as she finished eating, she was off to bed. Hopefully tomorrow would be better.


***

Buffy awoke to the sound of knocking on her door. Sprawled out on the very comfortable full-sized bed, she wrapped the periwinkle blue comforter tighter around her slender frame. After being in this strange land for a little over a week and sleeping on the ground, this plush bed was like a dream. Not exactly ‘nature girl’, living outside had been only tolerable because she thought, maybe, she was in a peaceful heaven – other than that, to be honest, it kind of sucked. Now that she was actually in a bed under a roof, she wanted to enjoy her time.

The knocking sounded again.

Buffy grumbled and, blinking away sleep, stared at the door in annoyance. It opened quietly, revealing the same dark-haired woman from last night. Her face was very fair and lovely with pale blue eyes and thin lips that seemed to be always set in a smile. A dress made of ocean blue linen with white ribbons tying the back, swished around her feet as she walked. She looked to be about thirty years old, very young except for a slight set of lines around the corners of her eyes that made her appear older than her years.

Suilanyel!” she said cheerfully as she set a tray of food and a new pitcher of water on the small table in the corner of Buffy’s room. Behind her the pointy-eared guy from last night entered the room, but he remained in the doorway. As usual, his face was a mix of impassiveness with a hit of dislike as he carefully observed Buffy.

“Hey,” Buffy said to the woman – she ignored her guard. Maybe his pansy tights needed to be loosened or something.

Manen nalyë síra?” the woman asked as she gave Buffy a bright smile.

Fortunately, words weren’t everything. Buffy could tell by the tone of her voice that she was asking a question. Considering that the woman was friendly, Buffy assumed she knew what she meant.

“Good,” Buffy shrugged. ‘Good’ because of the awesome bed, but not ‘great’ because she was basically someone’s prisoner.

The woman smiled and nodded. “Mána.” She gestured towards the food and spoke something so quickly that Buffy barely understood her – it seemed like the language of these people flowed quickly, like a song. It was hard to catch each word.

In the doorway, the leader of the pointy-eared guys grunted and emphasized with his hands that she should hurry up. Buffy just glared at him and took her time getting out of bed.

Spotting the man’s ire, the woman frowned at him. “Nalyë indolóra?” she asked unhappily him while gesturing towards Buffy.

He grimaced and crossed his arms. “Ú suilantammë, ya úcarner firima taurelmassë

Sighing irritably, the woman rolled her eyes. Buffy decided that she liked her.

When she was finished eating the leader only gave her enough time to wash her hands in a bowl of water – guess indoor plumbing wasn’t really a thing here. The woman left, which disappointed Buffy, and the leader led her through a maze of hallways. To be honest, she suspected that he purposely led her in circles in order to confuse her in case she tried to escape.

A while later they approached twin doors gilded with gold with two guards wearing scarlet uniforms – a tunic and leggings – standing in front of the entry way. Like all the other men she had seen, they also had long hair, elegant tall bodies, and pointy ears. Unlike the guy who led her, they had dark black hair. Strangely, she noticed that every person she had met so far had dark hair except the one who had captured her – maybe this was a ruling race of bitchy blond people?

With a command from the leader, the two guards stepped aside and opened the door – and Buffy sucked in a huge gulp of air.

The ceiling was easily forty feet high and was supported by marble columns that glittered with gold flakes. The floor was a smooth marble with elegant designs colored with gold twisting around the floor. At the end of the room, in the center, was a throne that would have made the Queen of England jealous. Created from silver metal, it was crafted into the semblance of a tree and finely carved branches and leaves sailed six feet higher than the actual seat of the throne.

In the seat was an imposing man – except Buffy knew this was certainly no man. The fact that he had pointy curved ears had nothing to do with it. His entire presence radiated power and his clear blue eyes held an intelligence and wisdom that Buffy had never seen before. Golden hair, so fair it was almost silver, was the same shade as the man who had led her here. His head held a golden crown that was simplistic in craft but still stunning; it caught the early morning light that came in through the windows that filled each side of the grand hall.

She found this king to be beautiful and thought that he may even be kind, but his eyes held a wariness as he watched her approach his throne. Feeling naked beneath his gaze, she turned her eye to observe the others in the room.

On the king’s right was a woman with hair that was so light it was more silver than gold, and atop her head was a finely crafted crown with a knot of golden metal at the center, similar to the king’s – Buffy assumed she was the queen.

To the king’s left was another woman, just as beautiful as the first. Buffy wondered if perhaps that was their daughter – and as the ‘man’ who dragged her here stood next to the king, she wondered if this was maybe the entire royal family..except…the king and queen? Really not that much older than the ‘kids’. Although…maybe they started having babies when they were really young? Hmm, no, that didn’t make sense.

Then the king began speaking and Buffy found her attention diverted from her mental musings.

Mallo nalyë?” the king asked in a slow and melodious voice; almost as if the king thought if he spoke slower, Buffy would be better able to understand.

Feeling incredibly frustrated by the language barrier – if only there were dry erase boards like Buffy used when the Gentleman came in order to communicate! – Buffy sighed heavily and shrugged.

“Look, I really have no idea what you’re saying. All I know is one second, I’m on earth, the next I’m jumping through a portal, and then I wake up here.”

The king frowned and shared a look with his (presumed) family members. Then, after a brief conversation, he spoke again. “O man dôr túliel le?

Buffy just shrugged again. “I’m pretty much clueless, guys,” she sighed.

Ma esselya ná?” the king asked. When Buffy just blinked stupidly at him, he pointed at his chest. “Nanyë estaina Finarfin. Finarfin,” he repeated with emphasis as he hit his chest.

“Oh!” Buffy grinned. “I’m Buffy. Buf-fy,” she repeated as she hit her chest. At least with names like ‘Finarfin’ these people couldn’t make fun of her name!

King Finarfin gestured towards the woman with the crown. “Eärwen.” He gestured towards the woman on his left. “Celebrían.” When he pointed towards the man who had captured her King Finarfin said, “Finrod.”

“Howdy,” Buffy said with an awkward wave – because, honestly, what was she supposed to say to the people who didn’t understand her?

“How-dy?” Celebrían repeated.

Buffy fought back a smirk and mentally rebuked herself for teaching these pointy-eared people how to talk like cowboys. Better make sure she never cursed around them either.

King Finarfin tried conversing with her further, even using a couple more different sounding languages, but nothing worked. Frustrated, Buffy shifted uneasily from foot to foot. These people didn’t seem evil, especially if they wanted to talk to her and not, ya know, kill her, but that didn’t mean everything was peachy keen. In fact – and maybe this because she was kind of snarky when he captured her – Finrod kept staring at her suspiciously and arguing with the king in a low voice.

Finally, King Finarfin gestured for her to come closer. Cautiously Buffy made her way towards him, being careful to watch his every movement – it wouldn’t do to get killed now.

Instead of attacking her, the king just stared into her eyes. Buffy found herself staring back, and it was like falling into a pool of water – all that existed was the blue expanse of his eyes. In them she could see the years pass like days and knew that this creature was far older than anything Buffy had ever met.

When he blinked, Buffy found herself back in the throne room feeling out of sorts. Breathing deeply, Buffy wondered what kind of mojo he had done on her – whatever he had done, it must have been good because King Finarfin finally gifted her with a smile. He spoke to the woman on his left; Celebrían, and gestured towards Buffy.

Finrod looked alarmed and tried to argue, but King Finarfin hushed him with a wave of his hand – which was actually pretty funny and Buffy did find a smirk playing onto her face.

Soon after, Celebrían was leading her to a different room on the first floor, one that actually had windows and a closet full of pretty dresses, and was definitely not like the quasi-prison cell that Buffy had been taken too initially.

Maybe, just maybe, things were starting to look up.



Author’s Notes:

Since the LOTR verse is rather complicated and the people and settings that I will be using are usually lesser known (at least, for quite a few chapters at first), my notes will be more extensive for those of you who are research-oriented and want to know more about my cast an sets.

As always, reviews are welcome! :)


References:
*Quenya: the first language of the elves. I’m trying to use it here, thanks to phrases from this website: http://www.realelvish.net/quenya_communication.php

*Sindarin: The second language of the elves; will be used occasionally here. Samples from: http://www.arwen-undomiel.com/elvish/phrases.html

*Tirion: Tirion was the city of the Ñoldor in Valinor in Aman. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Tirion

*Túna: The big hill that the elves created so they could see the stars easier, located within a gap of the Pelori Mountains of Aman. Tirion was built on top of this hill. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/T%C3%BAna

*Pelóri: also known as the Mountains of Aman, the Mountains of Defence and the Mountain Wall are a mountain range in Aman that separates the inner plains of Valinor from Eldamar and the wastelands of Araman and Avathar. Taniquetil is its highest peak and home to the throne of Manwë with Hyarmentir being its second highest. The Halls of Mandos were apparently in the northern foothills of this mountain range. The Calacirya is the only safe pass through the range. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Pelori

*Calacirya: also called the Pass of Light was a narrow pass that led through the chain of mountains known as the Pelóri mountain range north of Taniquetil. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Calacirya

*Finarfin: High King of the Noldor http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Finarfin

* Eärwen: daughter of Olwë, wife of Finarfin, and mother of Galadriel, Finrod, Angrod, and Aegnor. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/E%C3%A4rwen

* Celebrían http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Celebr%C3%ADan

*Finrod: Son of Finfarin & Eärwen. http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/Finrod

Quenya Translations
* Alassenya – My pleasure/you’re welcome
* Suilanyel- I greet you
*Manen nalyë síra? –how are you today?
*Ma esselya ná? – what is your name?
* Nanyë estaina ___ - I am named___
* mána – Good
*Nalyë indolóra? – Are you without heart?
*firima – human
*Ú suilantammë, ya úcarner firima taurelmassë – We don’t welcome humans into our forest
* Mallo nalyë?- Where are you from?
* O man dôr túliel le? – From what land do you come from? (Sindarin)
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