The Choice

By Aralinn

Fantasy / Romance

Chapter 2

That night, Evelyn tossed and turned most of the night. All of her dreams were so vivid that they were almost real. The fateful night that changed her life flashed before her eyes over and over again. Each time it always happened a bit differently, but it always held the same outcome, no matter what she did or tried. She always ended up dead. More than once she watched from an omniscient point of view, which was like watching a movie of her life. She tried screaming to herself, tried running to herself to get help, but she was never able to speak and never able to run. She did not know which was worse, and she could not take much more of it. Why could she not wake up? Was she even dreaming anymore, or was this some sort of purgatory?

Then, just like that, her eyes opened. She was blinded once again by the bright white light surrounding her. She could not make out anything around her, but she could hear birds chirping somewhere to her left. Why were birds chirping? Windows should not be opened in a hospital. With a jolt, she remembered that she was not in a hospital. She was in some foreign world, in foreign realm and in a foreign body. Then cool tears began to fall, but it was against her will. She did not want to cry. Rather, she wanted to be strong, to be okay, but she could not find it in her to stop them.

When they finally stopped on their own accord, Evelyn knew she had to have cried for most of the day, or at least it felt that way. Wiping her eyes, she grimaced. The skin around her eyes was very swollen and very sore, and it was only then that she felt the soreness that covered her entire body - it felt like she was wearing a suite of lead. She rubbed her face, not wanting to think about what her body - no, not her body - must look like under the sheets. If how she felt was any indication, it probably was not good.

It was then she began to take in her surroundings. She first looked to the window on her left, where the birds could still be heard chirping, though they were different this morning. She could see tree tops all around her, with staircases and buildings intertwined into them. How could that be? She thought to herself. The architecture alone was completely alien to her, but it was beautiful. What she had thought was a window, was actually part of door, it just had the option to open halfway or all the way onto a wooden flat.

Looking around the room, she noted the room was made of wood, but it was no wood she had even seen before. It looked as smooth as silk and was a creamy white, and in it were etched very intricate designs. Beautiful tapestries of the forest and animals adorned the walls. She guessed the furniture was made of the same wood, for it held the same texture and color as the walls. Her bed was huge, and a four poster bed at that. It made her think of what type of room a princess would have. The linens on the bed were so soft, their touch feather light, but kept her at just the right temperature. Their color was a very light lilac, which was very soothing. In the corner was a small table and two chairs, which were both unoccupied at the moment, but she saw one was slightly ajar. Someone had been in here.

Elves. Those are the people the Valar said live here, in where was it again? Loth…something.' She found she could not remember how to pronounce it. But her mind ran back to the elves. What would they look like, what would they be like? They told her they were much like humans but very different. That was not very helpful to her now though. Back home, elves where of fairytales, each story having their own account of just what they were, which would be the closest? She found she did not have long to wait to find out the answer. There was a knock at the door, though she found she had no voice to answer. Within a few seconds the door was opened anyway.

The woman that walked in was one of the most beautiful people Evelyn had seen. That was excluding the Valar of course. She seemed so human like, but the air around her was so much more. There was a grace and elegance to her that no mere human could possible possess. Her skin was a smooth alabaster, flawless, and held a slight radiant glow as did her golden hair hanging in large loose waves to her waist. Her dress was simple and white, silver trim decorated it as well as a silver necklace and circlet upon her brow.

Evelyn knew it was rude to stare, but she found she could not help herself in her presence. The warm smile on the woman's face helped her to not feel so bad for her actions.

"Are you an elf?" The words slipped out before she could stop herself, and she mentally cursed herself. After a moment's pause, she added, "I am sorry, I should not have been so bold."

The woman just smiled and walked to the bed. "Worry not, dear child. I imagine where you come from, there are no elves?" Her voice was as smooth as silk, and was comforting to hear.

"No, there are not." She answered.

"I am Galadriel, Lady of the Wood. You are in Lothlorien."

That was where they sent her. She was so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she did not hear her name being asked until Lady Galadriel cleared her throat.

"Sorry…my name is Evelyn Kenward."

"Do you know why you are here Evelyn?" She asked of her.

"Yes." Evelyn replied, not wanting to divulge further information. The memories were already starting to fill her mind once again. She could feel her heart start racing in her chest and her breathing quicken. 'Calm down.'She told herself, 'you are safe here, the angels, no the Valar, said so.' But it did little for her.

Galadriel reached out and placed a comforting hand on Evelyn's, sitting on the side of the bed. "Much troubles you, I sense this, but being the leader of my people I must know for their own safety. Once you confide in me, you will have to to none, other than who you wish, that I promise you."

Evelyn looked into her eyes, and saw no lie in them. It was almost as if she could read the truth they held, as if she could see the comfort and sadness in them. It was just one time. She just had to repeat it all once, and then she could lock it away, try to forget and move on. She could do this, she must do this. And so she took a deep breath and told her story.

That evening two elves she had not met came to the room she was given. Both women carried supplies that Evelyn could not make out. They acknowledged her with small smiles as they walked into the adjoining room. She heard them scurrying around, moving items, and she could have sworn she heard water. Was it possible for there to be running water here? What she gathered from the Lady Galadriel, which was very little, was the world was much like the medieval or renaissance era of Earth. Unable to think of anything else to do, she sat in silence and waited for them to reemerge.

Only one came back through the door. She was tall, fair haired and gorgeous which gave Evelyn a feeling that all the elves would be. However, her beauty was nothing to that of the lady.

"A bath?" she asked, her accent strong and thick. Evelyn could tell she was not well versed in what they referred to as the Common Tongue, but she understood well enough and gave her nod.

Climbing out of bed proved to be a monstrous task. Her body protested against all forms of movement. Once she made it to a seated position on the side of the bed, she had to pause and catch her breath. Strangely, she felt better, for she had never been one that could stay in a bed for long hours, even sick. The elf came over, offering her a hand to get up, which she accepted.

"Elwen." She said pointing to herself with her free hand.

"Evelyn." She returned, trying not to smile when Elwen had difficulty with its pronunciation, but it was close enough she could understand it as her name.

The bathroom was amazing; it could easily surpass her room in elegance. The wood was still the same, but it was accented with dark mahogany furniture and burgundy linens. It was so magnificent that she supposed she could live in the bathroom and be happy. The tub was large and pewter in color, with steps to get into it. Although, they posed a bit of a problem as she attempted to step up them. Then, Elwen and the other, whose name she never learned, went to help undress her. It was then that she noted their eyes kept darting to one another and back to the body she possessed. What did they keep looking at? She thought to herself as she looked down.

Had they not been standing beside her, she probably would have fallen. Shock was what it was called on earth. She was in shock. She had not known what to expect, but it had not been this. She could see large, jagged purple scars on her sides and torso. They were everywhere that she had been stabbed. How? This was not the same body that was attacked; it was supposed to be new and blemish free. Only it was not. It was ugly, it was marred, and it was hers. Fresh new sobs enveloped her body, and she snatched the shift from the elves, running as best she could back to her room. She could not get it on fast enough or cover up the hideous sight quick enough. Then it was back to bed. She curled up, bringing the covers up as high as they would come, and she wept.

"Hush your crying now child." A silky smooth voice spoke to her. Evelyn recognized it. How could she not, because it was the voice of the only person she knew on this whole new planet. That made her want to cry harder, but she made herself look up. She wanted to ask why she was there, but she thought it would be rude, so kept her mouth closed.

"My two handmaids seemed quite upset at your reaction to the bath. Would you care to tell me what happened?" Galadriel asked her voice soft and soothing.

"It doesn't matter." Evelyn mumbled, looking down into her lap were her hands were folded. She felt like such a little child at what she had done.

"You came here for healing. I am willing to help, but I cannot if you do not let me. Will you let me help you, Evelyn?"

She sat in silence for a minute. She had a choice before. She could go this route alone, fight her battles on her own, or she could talk to Lady Galadriel. She was the queen of the realm Evelyn was dropped in and was offering to personally help her. Was it an offer she could justly refuse? The more she thought about it, the more her answer became clear. She was scared, frightened even. She did not want to be alone, without friends, yet here, before her, was the only one she possibly had. Evelyn gave the only answer she could think of when she spoke. "Yes."

Galadriel smiled warmly at her. "So, let us talk. What happened to cause you so much distress?"

"This body. It's this body I have been put in!" She said the words with more emotion and more force that she intended. "It is hideous, covered in awful scars. The Valar told me all I bore were the scars of my soul; they did not mention it would be physically scarred. This was a new vessel." The words were tumbling from her mouth before she could stop them.

"My dear, those scars upon your body, they are the scars of your soul, for they are what have caused you so much pain and will cause you so much more."

"It is one thing to have memories, because at least those can be suppressed. I have to see these scars every day! I'll have to see what they did to me every time I look in the mirror." She was crying again now.

"Although you do not see it now, one day those scars will give you strength. One day those scars will give you reason to push on."

"I don't see how that can be. I will always hate them!" There was much malice and anger in her voice. She was instantly sorry she did not control herself better when she watched the Elf Queen wince. "I am sorry I did not mean to get angry." Evelyn said quietly, once again feeling like a lost little child. She used to never let her emotions get the better of her before. Then again, she had not ever died before either.

"There is much you still must learn about elves and the people of Middle Earth. Do not apologize for doing nothing wrong. I will send my handmaids back for your bath; it will make you feel better." She saw the worry creep back onto her face. "Fret not, they will say nothing about you to anyone, on that you have my word. Tomorrow we shall start your teaching."

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