The Choice

Chapter 6

Evelyn's mind was reeling. Leave? How could she possible leave Lòrien, and let alone go with a group of people she barely knew, especially with a few men in their company. The Lady knew her story, knew her fear, and still she asked it of her. She asked her to leave. A pang went through her chest; she felt a sharp sting of betrayal stirring in her. Part of her knew that it was not an easy choice for Lady Galadriel to make, and that she could stay. The question was, could she stay and see them every day knowing she went against their advice and wishes? No, she could not, plus she was too proud to admit that she could not do something, or at least try. But how was she going to handle this?

The only members she felt remotely comfortable with were Merry and Pippin. She would be pleasant to Frodo and Sam, but would avoid the others at all cost, yet that would not do her any good. All she could keep thinking to herself was, 'What am I going to do?'

She did not notice Haldir rushing along the path she stalked down; she did not even know he was there until she felt the pressure of his hand on her wrist. Panic. That was all she felt in that instance. All she knew is that she had been thinking about the men in the fellowship and now someone was after her.

Without thinking, she instantly swung around, setting her feet firmly on the ground while giving herself a wide base of support, then she swung her elbow down, bringing it to touch the forearm of whoever it was that grabbed hold. Immediately she felt her wrist pop free of the grip. However, the fear was still surging through her body. She had gotten loose and she should run, but she was not fast, so she was sure that they would catch her. Therefore, she did the only thing she could do. Moving her base forward, she lashed out, bringing the assailant to the ground.

Evelyn barely registered the thud as he hit the ground, and only then did she start to realize that the person was not fighting back. That seemed to clear her mind, and she focused on the scene in front of her. Silver blond hair came into focus, paired with wide eyes staring back at her in shock. Haldir.

She did not know what to say. She had reacted rather than processed the situation and now she had just laid out one of her only friends on the ground. Then, she realized why he was here - Galadriel's message. Then she remembered the dance, and when he was keeping something from her, that was why the fellowship had been focused on her, they had already known. Her eyes hardened. "You knew."

"It was not my message to tell, Evelyn." Was his only reply as he stood up, brushing the grass from his breeches. She found herself somewhat proud that he now sported grass stains. However, she knew what he spoke of was true, she was not in the mood to listen to him explain, or to listen to anyone else for that matter.

"Just…just leave me be Haldir," she managed to get out; shutting her eyes as she did so and rubbed a hand down her face. Turning she whistled for Zenith and kept walking until the mare found her.

She knew in her heart she should not have run; in the past, she would never have run from problems that blocked her path, but she did now. There was guilt building for leaving Haldir as she did, seeing as how he was only trying to help, to offer comfort, and she dismissed him. With deep sigh, she asked Zenith to turn around and head back to the city.

It was not quite dusk when she came near the stables. The golden rays of sun were dancing through the trees, making shadows play games upon the ground. She breathed in the sweet scent of the forest, not knowing for how much longer she would be able to enjoy its peaceful comfort. How much longer could she enjoy the joyous chirping of the birds that now flitted around her, landing gracefully on nearby branches?

Since Zenith had a nice cool down on their walk back, she let her wander off on her own without a brush down. As she walked to the figure waiting at the stable doors; she already knew who it was.

"I must apologize for my earlier actions, Haldir. I was upset and did not think," she spoke, not looking him in the eye.

"There is nothing to forgive."

"Thank you, my friend."

"However, the next time you plan to toss me to the ground, a warning would be appreciated," he laughed.

She gave a sheepish look before she replied, "That would defeat the purpose."

"Aye, that it would."

She heard him give a small sigh and raised an eyebrow in question. He had a message to give, and one he was not wanting to voice. She had known him long enough to notice the lines of frustration that crept across his face.

"The lady wants me, does she not?" She asked before he had to, and all the anxiety returned to her at the thought. She could not run anymore, not from this. Evelyn turned to walk away as he nodded his head.

Finding herself at the Lady's doors faster than she wanted, she raised her hand to knock, but found she could not make contact with the door. Instead, Haldir stepped up behind her and knocked in her stead. She turned and gave him a small, but grateful smile, which he returned.

She paid no heed to who answered the door, but rather just walked straight in, making for the solar, knowing that is where she would find her. She stood until she was asked to sit.

"I know this choice is not one that is easily made." Lady Galadriel's soft voice spoke.

Part of her wanted to yell there was no choice, but she did not. Instead, she said, "No, my lady, it was not." She folded her hands in her lap, watching the floor. She wanted to look into her eyes, to show her she could do this, would do this, but she could not. She could not because most of her believed it was anything but possible.

"Something troubles you."

Evelyn looked up then. It was a statement, not a question. The Lady of the Wood was very perceptive, more so than the other elves she had met. She sighed, as many things troubled her lately. So many questions ran through her head; she did not know which to voice first, or which to say at all. All that came out was, "Why?"

A smile appeared on her face and she reached for her hand, grabbing it lightly, the touch being so soft Evelyn was not sure if their skin even touched. "You were sent by the Valar for a reason my child." Haldir shifted behind them, he knew little and less of her past. Obviously Lady Galadriel had not told him much either. She could request that he leave, keep it all a secret, but she could not find it in her heart to do so. "What that reason is, I cannot say, for they only know. They sent you with books covering Middle Earth and its people, so I will assume you know of the powers held by both myself and Lord Elrond of Rivendell."

"Yes." Lord Elrond and Galadriel both had the gift of foresight, while Galadriel had the power of telekinesis and her mirror - a mirror that could show the past, the present, or the future. One never knew.

"The part you are meant to play in this world does not lie in my realm, for we have both seen."

"What have you seen?" She clamped her mouth shut as soon as she spoke, she did not mean to interrupt.

"To tell you of the future could cause consequences, for even what we see is not set in stone, for everyone still has many choices that yet lie before them."

Evelyn nodded. Not sure if she felt better from this conversation or worse. The Valar had sent her here, yes, and with a purpose, but what it was, was hidden from her. 'Hell,' she thought, 'I do not even know what I am.' For the first time in a while, she remembered the Valar's words. She was a new race. Just another way to separate her from all the others; she not only was from a different world, but there were also no others like her who walked on Middle Earth. She watched as the woman in front of her gave her an amused expression.

"Sorry, My Lady." She still forgot her thoughts were not her own.

"I find it amusing, do not apologize. But now I believe it is time that you meet the members you shall be traveling with formally." As she spoke, she rose, offering her arm to Evelyn.

Evelyn found herself before the fellowship, in a small clearing they had been given to rest in. The two hobbits, Merry and Pippin eagerly approached her, all smiles. She noticed the others did not show the same enthusiasm, but then why should they? They did not want her traveling with them anymore than she wanted to be. No one had said as much, but their body language said enough.

"Where have you been, Lady Evelyn, we have not seen you the past few days?" Pippin asked her, getting a nudge from Merry.

She smiled, they were so innocent in her eyes, but she knew they had seen much since leaving the Shire. "I am sorry, I found myself rather busy lately. However, I believe we will be spending much more time together from now on." The two looked at each other excitedly.

"We have many more stories to tell you!" Merry told her with a firm nod of approval from Pippin. The older hobbit had a love of telling stories, and was more serious than his younger cousin.

"I shall look forward to it, Master Merry."

By this time, the others had gathered around and Galadriel had begun the introductions, even though she had previously done her research from the book the Valar gave her on each. She kept that to herself. Besides the hobbits, only the Dwarf, Gimli, and the ranger known as Aragorn attempted to be cordial. Gimli inclined his head to her, offering the courteous greeting of his people. The man however, extended his hand towards her. Her breath hitched in her throat. She could feel her heart rate rising, the panic trying, as always, to overtake her.

'It is not difficult,' she tried to reason with herself, 'just take his hand. Nothing will happen, not with Haldir and Galadriel here.'

Still she found herself unmoving. She was being impolite, and still she could not. Then she felt a strong hand on her back and a warming voice in her mind, "Strength now my child."

It was Galadriel's voice. She could do this - she had to. She knew she was already weak in their eyes, this hesitation would only make it worse, and so, she felt herself raise her hand, lightly placing her fingers on his calloused skin. She felt his own fingers cover hers, albeit lightly. Curtsying slightly, she spoke softly, "My Lord."

She felt her hand be released and quickly jerked her hand back down to her side. It was a small accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless. It also did not go unnoticed by their glances at one another, they knew of her hesitation. It would undoubtedly make them curious. Evelyn knew then she would have to do much better at controlling her emotions and fears. She did not doubt there were some among the company that would be more than happy to confront her. The Elf and Gondorian were at the top of the list. Of course, she would have plenty of time to practice, as she was to start staying at their campsite with them until nightfall from now until their departure.

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