Disclaimer - BtVS belongs to Joss Whedon and The Lord of the Rings and all its characters belongs to J.R.R. Tolkien.
Author's Note - Thank you to all those who have read and reviewed this series so far. If anyone is curious to know what year it is now in Middle Earth, it is TA 2980. I hope you continue to enjoy the path I'm taking Buffy on.
They call her Anoriel because she can burn through an entire army of yrch. He thinks her feats must be great indeed to reach the ears of those in Rohan, and he feels his curiosity grow the closer he gets to Lothlórien. After spending so many years providing his services to Rohan and Gondor, he was only looking for a peaceful place to rest his weary head a bit, but since entering the borders of Rohan he has been assailed by wild stories of a girl-child that carries the strength of a dozen men, that she is a creature monsters fear, and that she is the daughter of the elf-witch. He does not know how much is truth, but as he crosses into Lórien he is anxious to learn.
It is not long before the Wardens find him, their eyes ever watchful of what happens among their land. One of them stops his horse with a drawn bow and briskly demands, “State your name and purpose.”
He is in the company of elves, and so does not feel he needs to hide his heritage. “I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn, and I only wish for safe haven.”
The elf nods and gives a slight gesture to the elves around him. He hears bowstrings loosening and arrows returning to their quivers. “I have heard of you. I am Haldir of Lórien.” Two other elves join Haldir’s side. “These are my brothers, Rúmil and Orophin. We shall be your escorts.”
He dismounts from his horse and follows their grey cloaks, going deeper into the woods and closer to answers. Soft golden mallorn leaves blanket their path, signaling the spring season. It makes their footfalls silent, and though usually he does not mind such quiet in the air, his burning curiosity makes it tangible till he cannot contain it anymore. His grey eyes keenly follow the brothers’ movements. “I have heard tales of a girl dwelling in this land who can defeat entire armies. They call her Anoriel. Do you know of her?”
He sees Rúmil and Orophin share a glance and smirk, but Haldir’s sharp gaze admonishes them before answering, “Yes, she has lived in our borders for twenty years now and has become dear to our people.”
“She is not of your kind then?” Aragorn asks.
The elves suddenly stop and Aragorn’s body jerks back so as to not crash into them, the horse neighing in protest at the harsh pull of the reigns at his side. Haldir turns back, his face impenetrable, and says, “No. She is of the race of Men.”
They resume their pace and Aragorn hears Orophin whisper to Rúmil, “You think we would be used to that by now.”
He is unsure how to act. These answers only open up more questions, like why this girl’s race seems to bother these elves so. As a mortal growing up amongst elves himself, he does not recall those in Rivendell reacting so strongly about his belonging to the race of Men. His desire to meet this girl grows. “Is she currently in the city?”
“She is protecting the western border,” Haldir says, “keeping an eye towards Moria as leader of her company.”
To be in this elven land for such a short time and already hold a position of leadership surprises him. “How can a mortal girl so young hold such power?”
Rúmil and Orophin lightly chuckle at that, and even Haldir gives a small smile in amusement before he says, “That is a good question, Ranger, one we ask ourselves often.”
He feels disappointment that she is occupied elsewhere, but his mind flashes to another - one who rejected his advances many years ago but who still holds a place in his heart. “Is Arwen Undómiel visiting from Imladris?”
“She was last in this land eighteen years ago and has not been here since,” Haldir replies.
He had thought Arwen and her grandparents were close, and wonders why she has remained absent in these parts. Rúmil notices Aragorn’s confusion. “It is said that Lord Elrond has wished for his children to no longer venture to Lothlórien. They have for the most part
respected his wishes.”
Haldir’s nose points harshly in Rúmil’s direction. “That is only gossip, and we do not take part in it.”
The brothers remain quiet after that, and Aragorn senses that their mood for entertaining his questions has passed. The rest of their long journey remains in this silence, until finally they pass through the southern entrance. Haldir tells him Orophin and Rúmil will take his horse to the stables. “The Lord and Lady wish to see you.”
He is directed to the largest tree in the center of the city, and after climbing the many stairs he steps onto a platform. The first thing he sees is a stream of golden hair flying through the back of the talan out of sight. He has a sudden urge to follow it, but the gentle voice of Galadriel claims his attention. “Estel - or should I call you Aragorn now?”
His eyes flick behind her and Celeborn, hoping for another glance at that golden hair. “Aragorn is fine, my lady.”
Celeborn’s regal form steps into his line of sight. “Welcome to Lothlórien, Aragorn, son of Arathorn. I understand you wish for rest, so rest you shall have.” He thanks the Lord and Lady for their generosity, and is shown to a simple yet beautiful talan. He has traveled hard for many days, and so cannot resist the temptation of the soft bed before him. He removes his weapons and shoes before he falls onto the bed and immediately to sleep.
He is awakened by a soft hand on his arm, and when he slowly opens his eyes he sees the beautiful appearance of Galadriel bent over his bed. “My lady,” he stutters, the shock of her and him alone in the room causing nerves to flutter inside his stomach. He sits up and puts space between them. “Is something wrong?”
She takes no notice of his awkwardness. Instead she fixes her blue stare on the scabbard he placed by his bed. He watches her reach out to it, her soft glow even more prominent now that the sun has descended from the sky, and gently caress the hilt. “A great power resides inside here.” She turns towards Aragorn, her eyes penetrating into his mind. “This is Narsil. The blade that was broken.”
“Yes,” he says, knowing that she could see the answer in his mind nonetheless.
Her fingers firmly wrap around the hilt and pull. A blade with a jagged end a foot below the hilt gleams in the moonlight, and Galadriel simply stares at it with a faraway look in her eyes before she finally returns it to its proper place. “I have dreaded this moment for a long time,” she whispers. Though she sets her sight on him, her gaze merely goes through. “But perhaps it is best to have no prior preconceptions of her
.” Aragorn is utterly lost, and the feeling does not dissipate when Galadriel sighs and says, “Aragorn, come and walk with me.”
It is unwise to deny the Lady Galadriel, so Aragorn quickly readies himself and soon the two are walking down the stairs and through Caras Galadhon. “I hear you have been asking about our Anoriel.”
He nods. “The stories of her have indeed captured my attention.”
The slowly falling mallorn leaves rain down a golden path before them, one that seems to lead them out of the center of the city. Galadriel’s probing blue gaze turns to him. “Tell me, Aragorn, what do plan to do with that broken sword?”
He knows of his heritage and what he must do, but sometimes he is afraid of the weakness found in his lineage. There is something dark growing in the east though, and he will need a powerful weapon to defend against it. “Soon, it shall be reforged.”
“And soon it will be,” she says. A mound comes closer on their path, and Aragorn can see gold and white flowers blanket it. “For you will need that sword to reclaim the kingdoms of Gondor and Arnor.”
His feet stop. He feels a slight panic even at the thought. “I do not know if I can.”
Galadriel gently grabs his elbow and guides him forward. “You will have to.” They begin to climb the mound. “I will not part with my daughter for anyone less than king of both.”
He is grateful for Galadriel’s insistent hand on his arm, because he is too completely and utterly baffled to move on his own. “My lady, I’m sorry but - “
He sees that golden hair, the same hair that tantalized him before. She is standing by the mallorn tree situated in the center of the mound, and its golden leaves mingle in the loose waves that flow down her back. Her cream lace dress hugs her small form and though he has not even seen her face he begins to feel a need
to be near her. It is a feeling even stronger than when he mistook Arwen Undómiel for Lúthien Tinúviel, and it is that realization that makes him gasp.
The sound startles her and she quickly turns to find them watching her. She studies him for a moment, her gaze widening when she reaches his left hand. The fine features, the green-fire eyes, they only make his need grow. He does not think, his feet travel on their own accord and soon he is only a couple feet in front of her.
Galadriel, quietly watching and silently despairing this exchange, moves to the girl’s side and says, “Aragorn, I would like to introduce you to my daughter, Anoriel.”
Anoriel’s lips turn up into a smile. Her small hand reaches for his own, her fingers grazing over the snakes on his silver ring. Her eyes meet his grey ones. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Her warm touch ignites inside him, burns bright until all he sees is green fire. He squeezes her hand and says, “I’m sorry to have taken so long”