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Story Notes:
Warnings: This is not a Legomance - he's already married. *cheeky grin* There is romance between Arienel and Elrohir as their relationship grows, but I don't write heavy stuff.

There is no slash or hint of slash.

This might be Mary Sue related - I'll let you be the judge of that.

I am writing about the time after the War of the Ring. Some things will not be entirely accurate if you are a book-lover (I know because I love the books, too), but I will try to keep Tolkien's world in context.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Disclaimer: I don't own anything you recognize as being the work of J.R.R. Tolkien.

A/N ~ Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy!

Bold is mind-speech.
Arienel looked over at the elf she'd come to love, remembering a time when he'd been almost awkward around her. Remembering a time when she blushed whenever he smiled. It hadn't been that long, but to look at him now and feel the almost overwhelming surge of happiness in her heart...she couldn't quite understand how she'd ever lived without it. The black stallion under her snorted and shook his mane in amusement at the thought and she frowned down at his neck. "I didn't ask you."

"I am grateful."

Arienel pulled his mane and the shape-shifter whinnied in amusement. Elrond glanced over from his position to the right of her own and Arienel smiled, but looked away again at the foliage around them. She, the twins, Lothril and the elven lord had been traveling for little over two weeks now. They'd followed the Anduin River from Gondor up into the land of Rohan. The group had then gone west until they could cross the Entwash. From there, they'd traveled through East Emnet and then through The Wold. Passing through Arienel's home had been bittersweet for the elleth. She had been able to point out good places to camp, watering holes and places to keep the horses away from because of he holes in the ground that could break their legs. All this was useful, but sad as well, for she knew she wasn't there to stay. The elves, shape-shifter and Arienel stay with her family for three days before they had to move on again.

They had now crossed the Limlight and were making their way across the Field of Celebrant. Morroch alternated between being very quiet and excited. He had lived in this land for a good two hundred years and it was familiar to him, both the good memories and the bad. The elves were much more lighthearted - not that they'd been heavyhearted before - as they came closer to the Golden Wood. Arienel knew they would not be entering Lothlorien, but she had to admit she was curious to see the forest that was home to Lady Galadriel. Morroch was just the opposite, wanting to stay as far away from the Lady of Light and her home as possible. The elleth just laughed at him.

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Arienel breath caught at her first sight of the Golden Woods of Lothlorien. Even from such a distance she could see that the leaves were golden in color, reflecting the sunlight beautifully. Elrohir grinned at her awed face and chuckled, tightening the reigns on his chestnut stallion as he sidled and champed. "You are not the first to look like that. I remember the first time I was old enough to appreciate the home of the Galadhrim."

"It is beautiful!"

Morroch could really have cared less about the woods and shook his mane, eying Talagor beside him. He'd never liked the horse and the feeling was mutual as the reddish stallion laid his ears back. Elrond looked over in amusement at them both and spoke to his son as he urged his own gray mare Lothuial into a canter. Lothril's own dapple gray mare, Tinnu, followed the elven lord without prompt from its mistress. "You are making the dragon nervous." Elrohir blinked and looked between his mount and Morroch's angry expression - even if it was directed at his father now. The dark-haired elf smiled, but shook his head and tapped his horse after his father and Elladan.

Arienel sighed and patted Morroch's black neck. "You just couldn't behave, could you?" The shape-shifter's only response was a snort before he sprang into a gallop to catch the others. The elleth laughed softly and laid low over his back, feeling the wind whip her hair around. They soon had to slow, though, much to both their disappointment. They'd finally reached the Nimrodel and the elves dismounted - even Lothril - confusing the red-haired female. Elladan glanced back at her with the explanation.

"The Nimrodel's waters are said to heal weariness. We will wet our feet before crossing on horse. The waters are safe to cross near the fall in Lothlorien, but not here. We must let the horses swim across at this point."

Arienel nodded and dismounted, walking forward until she was at the edge the large, flowing river. Its waters were pure and clear, inviting. The elleth slipped her shoes off, but hung on to Morroch's mane as she stepped into the water, the stallion high-stepping in after her. He snorted. It was cold! Arienel shivered, but as the water ran over her feet and around her calves she felt a tiredness she hadn't been aware of having flow away with the river. A sense of renewal and energy came to her body and the elleth closed her eyes, suddenly happy. Arms wrapping around her waist gently had her looking back over her shoulder with a smile. Elrohir's brown eyes met her own sky blue and the dark-haired elf kissed her forehead.

"I love you."

"I love you, too."

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That night they made camp between the Nimrodel and the Celebrant, west of Lothlorien and close to the base of the Misty Mountains. The black wolf yawned and Arienel could feel the motion from where her head lay on his stomach. The elleth was looking up at the stars, listening to the fire crackle close by. Lothril was already asleep, but the twin and Elrond were awake, sitting near the flames and discussing the route they would take. Moria was not even a suggestion, but they also did not want to cross the Celebrant - river much swifter and deeper then the Nimrodel and follow the mountains to the High Pass.

"The only course left to us is Caradhras."

Elladan looked at his brother with a raised brow. "Is the pass even clear?"

The answer was delayed in coming as the horses suddenly started champing nervously, ears perked toward the woods at the bass of the mountains. Morroch had stood and Arienel did the same by his side. The wolf sniffed the air, his fur bristling. "Humans."

The elves didn't relax their hands on their weapons, but they were much more prepared to be civil when three men finally seemed to melt out of the woods, hoods over their heads and their steps so quiet that Arienel was hard-pressed to hear them. Elrond and the twins released their weapons and smiled, the elf-lord stepping forward. "Hail, Rangers of the North. What brings you this far east?"

The men removed their hoods and Arienel saw that they were tall and of regal bearing. Their eyes were sharp, keen and their appearance rugged. They reminded the elleth strongly of Aragorn. The man in front smiled and bowed his head. "Lord Elrond. We travel to Gondor to be with our Chieftain. What are my lords doing so far from Imladris?"

It was not long before many more people had joined them, even some woman and children traveling with their husbands, fathers, brothers. They had gone from a group of six to a group of eighteen in the span of a half hour. Lothril had woken by this time and she now leaned against Elladan and the Dunedain conversed with the elves, telling them about the going on in the North and of the passes that would be open to travel. The women in the group - three in all with a teenage girl - were cooking something hot for the males over the fire.

Both Arienel and Morroch hung in the shadows, avoiding being noticed, though, they had no delusion that they had not been properly noted by the Dunedain. Both the shape-shifter and Arienel saw many a glance cast their way, but nothing was said to them and they were left alone. The elleth was sitting with her knees drawn up and her back against Morroch when a small, brown-haired child approached them. He could have only been about five or six and his curious gray eyes held such innocence that Arienel couldn't help but smile. This seemed to encourage the young one and he came right up to her, resting a grubby hand on her knee.

"Is he a dog?" The voice was a mere whisper. Morroch couldn't contain his chuckle and the boy leaped back, eyes wide. His sudden movement attracted the attention of every man, who reached for their weapons, and the women who looked over with sharp eyes. Arienel smiled, more for the child then for the adults. She wasn't worried about any threat from them, not with the the elves here with her. Her voice was soft as she spoke to the little boy.

"What is you name?"

The boy looked toward the men and one of them - Arienel assumed he was his father - nodded with a small smile, but still watching Arienel and Morroch intently. The child turned back to them and smiled, showing three missing teeth. "Sakalthor."

"That is a long name for someone so young. My name is Arienel and this is Morroch. He is not a dog, but he won't hurt you." Sky blue eyes looked down into gold. "Will you?" The canine's tongue lolled and he looked at Sakalthor. "I do not eat little boys. Not enough meat on them." The child stared, his gray eyes wide, but with the innocence all children should have, he quickly overcame his surprise and giggled, moving closer to the wolf.

A woman made to move forward, but the father caught her arm gently and she stopped. The man turned to the elven lord. "Do you speak for this creature, Lord Elrond?" The Lord of Imladris shook his head. "No, I do not, Abrazan, but Arienel does and I speak for her. She is engaged to my son, Elrohir."

Arienel spoke firmly, having heard the conversation from where she sat at the edge of the firelight. "Morroch is a Shape-shifter Dragon. He is a Friend of Gondor and he is welcome in both the White City and Rohan. He will bring your son no harm, milord." Her information caused a small ripple in the camp, but the Dunedain did not pry, merely observing as Sakalthor came and sat beside Arienel, reaching out without hesitation to pet Morroch.

"I thought dragons were bigger. You look like a dog." The shape-shifter shook with silent laughter and looked up at his rider. "Were you ever this innocent?" Arienel smiled and ran a hand through the child's brown hair. "I am not sure." She smiled down at the boy. "Morroch is a shape-shifter. This means he can take many different forms. Right now, he is a wolf. Maybe he will show you his dragon form in the morning. Would you like that?"

Sakalthor looked at her as if she'd just given him the best gift in the world and he almost bounced in his enthusiasm, nodding so hard Arienel had to wonder how he didn't hurt himself. She laughed gently and tapped his nose. "I will take that as a yes."

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Elrohir looked over at Arienel as the night progressed. She had fallen asleep after answering countless questions from the child that now seemed to cling to her as he slept, too, both of them against the black fur of the large wolf behind them. The elf smiled gently. She looked wonderful with a child at her side and she handled Sakalthor well. He could just see her with their children. The thought made him happy.

The dark-haired elf glanced over as he saw movement near the second fire and he saw Saptheth, the boy's mother, standing with a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. It was late and the other women slept. Some of the men were doing the same, only two having stayed up with his father. Elladan had retired and was now curled up with Lothril. The son of Elrond watched the woman walk over to her son, but pause only about two feet away. Elrohir could only guess why as she was blocking his sight of the three beings she approached. After a moment, Saptheth moved forward again, but instead of taking Sakalthor as he'd expected, the woman only covered her son with the blanket from her shoulders. As she walked away back toward her fire, Elrohir saw Morroch's gold eyes open, watching her.

It would seem that trust had been tentatively given this night.

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She was running. That was the first thing Arienel became aware of. But no, those were not her hooves. She didn't have pale hooves or white hair. No and her form was not that of a horse. And yet here she was, running. The elleth pushed the confusion she felt away and merely tried to focus on WHY she was running.

The white horse leaped a log and Arienel noticed she was in a forest...and there had been a small grunt when the horse had landed. Someone was on her- the horse's back. But who and why could she not seem to separate herself from the being who was running?

"How much farther to the dragons, Brassen?"

The question, the voice and the shape-shifter's name were the last thing she heard before the world went dark and her mind fell into sleep once more.


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Arienel awoke the next morning to a small hand shaking her and her sky blue eyes opened to meet excited gray. "Arienel! Will Morroch be a dragon now?" His enthusiasm made her smile even as the elleth sat up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. She looked up as the boy's mother came over swiftly, looking exasperated. The elleth held up a hand. "He is no trouble, milady. It was time I rose anyway."

Saptheth looked hesitant for a moment, but then gave a small smile and nodded, looking at her son sternly before leaving again. Morroch opened a bleary gold eye as she did and yawned. "What is going on?" Arienel ran a hand through her hair and smiled at the boy. "Sakal wants to see your dragon form." The elleth stood and then crouched in front of the young one. "Very well, tithen pen. Morroch with change for you, but we need some food first. Do you think you could convince your mother to make something for us?"

She never got an answer as the child dashed away and was soon at his mother's side, his high-pitched voice drifting across the camp. Arienel grinned and leaned back against Elrohir's chest as the dark-haired elf came to her side. She tilted her head back and he planted a kiss on her lips, smiling. "You are good with him."

"I find children easier to understand." The elleth sighed and pulled away, crouching once more to dig through her pack. Morroch was finally standing, stretching with another yawn. It was going to be another long day, but each of them was enjoying the fact that it didn't have to start so quickly yet. Both the shape-shifter and the elleth ate quickly, eager gray eyes watching them the entire time. Even the other Dunedain seemed interested in know just what the boy was so excited about and so it was that when Morroch finished eating and moved away that Arienel held Sakalthor close to her. It would not do for him to run up to Morroch until the men knew that everything was fine, even around a dragon.

The wolf completed his change quickly and the sudden sound of drawn swords rang out through the clearing. The black dragon didn't move forward, merely sitting down and looking at them with an almost bored expression. Gold eyes looked at Arienel. "Do they actually think I will attack them? I've already eaten." The men blinked, suddenly unsure as Arienel laughed and released the child's shoulders, walking away from him and up to Morroch. The shape-shifter bent his head to blow in her hair. "They have never seen anything like you. Perhaps a dragon, but not one that changes into other animals. Give them some time to process it." she whispered.

Elrond spoke calmly from where he was saddling Lothuial. "There is no need for alarm. Morroch is the same creature he was the night before. Though, his form might have changed, his heart has not."

Weapons were sheathed slowly at the elven lord's words and Morroch stood and stretched. He found it almost funny when the human's stiffened again. No one seemed to notice the small figure approaching until Saptheth tried to call her son back. Sakalthor wasn't listening, though, and his small hand touched the black dragon's leg with wide eyes. "You are big." Morroch rumbled a chuckle and his large head came down and turned to the side to regard the little boy. "No, I think you are just small." Sakalthor giggled and the black dragon pushed him back gently with his muzzle.

"Go back to your parents, Sakal. They are worried for you." The boy sighed, but did as he was told and Abrazan touched his son's head as he came close to his side and nodded at the dragon in a small understanding or maybe thanks.

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The two groups were soon ready to depart and Sakalthor had been more then thrilled to see Morroch change again, this time into a horse. The child hugged the stallion's face when Morroch bent his neck and then hugged Arienel's waist tightly. She smiled and smoothed his already chin-length hair. "Do not be sad, Sakal. You will see dragons again, I promise." Her dream came back to her and Arienel had to wonder if seeing dragon would be as exciting the second time around for the child. What could Alagos possibly want with Sakalthor anyway?

The young one's gray eyes studied her very seriously for a minute and finally he smiled and nodded, hugging her again until his mother called him over. It was time for both groups to depart. The Dunedain had been able to tell them that the pass of Caradhras was now open. The elves would be crossing the mountain for late afternoon the next day. Arienel wasn't looking forward to the snow...

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Arienel wasn't sure they could accomplish it, but with a lot of effort and envying elves their ability to walk on snow, they made it over the mountain pass. Arienel was sure she'd never be warm again, but didn't complain. Everyone was glad to be on the other side of Caradhras and that much closer to their destination. They still had about a week to go, though.

That night Arienel's dreams were plagued with images she could not catch, did not understand and the elleth abandoned her bedroll in favor of taking her turn at watch. Elladan looked surprised, but let her take his place as he went to Lothril. Arienel watched the woods around them, but her mind was in turmoil. She'd never had night visions. Her gift had always acted during the day. Why was her sleep suddenly plagued with the Foresight she didn't want? She ran a hand through her red hair and glanced over as Elrond stirred, coming over to sit on the log next to her, outside of the firelight.

"What troubles you, tithen pen?"

"My gift. I have never experienced it while I have slept. It is...confusing." The elven lord nodded, understanding and spoke quietly. "What is it you see? Perhaps if you make sense of it while you wake, it will not bother you while you sleep."

The elleth sighed and shook her head, looking down at her hands before looking back up at the trees, scanning listening before she spoke. "There are many images and I don't understand most of them, but there is one...I am standing in the Courtyard of the Fountain in the White City and as I look to the west, to the mountains behind the Minas Tirith, I see another city higher in the mountains. It is made entirely of stone, gray stone, but it is unlike any city I have ever seen. It holds only about twenty houses, stone houses and the rest of the city is full of wide arches and large pillars to hold up stone for sheltered areas. These areas look like giant stalls and inside them is sand from the sea. This is not what surprises me, though."

Elrond raised a brow and Arienel smiled slightly. "What surprises me is that I can make out the creatures that are in the sand, in the open stalls after a moment. They are dragons of all sizes and as I watch, a human mounts one and they fly into the air. I look up into the sky above me to see another dragon with a rider circling overhead. It dawns on me that they are guarding the White City. I then wake." The elleth sighed. "I am not sure what to make of this. I do not know how it could come about."

The Lord of Imladris smiled and stood, resting a hand on her shoulder as he turned to go. "Your vision will come to pass in its own time, Eldanar. Do not worry about it more then is needed." Arienel watched him go with another small sigh. Perhaps Elrond was right, but it didn't help that she happened to know personally what the Dragon Clan thought of bonding with two-legs... How was this vision supposed to come to pass?

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They were following the Misty Mountains, staying near their base and occasionally, when the time called for it, going into the lower parts of the mountains. It was, honestly, boring travel and both Morroch and Arienel felt they'd seen their fill of mountains for the year and plains...plains, too. The stallion snorted as they entered anther low mountain path and the elleth had to agree. She felt she might fall asleep on the black horse. It was not to happen, though as Elrond's gray mare, at the front of he group, reared with a shrill neigh of terror. Talagor, Tinnu and Colgil did the same a moment later and the elves who rode them were hard-pressed to get the horses under some control before the enemy hit.

The orcs were upon them suddenly and Morroch reared as Arienel drew her sword, hacking at the hand that reached for her. The stallion plunged at another of the foul creatures, crushing it. His shape was swiftly starting to change and the black dragon roared in anger as an orc blade tried to stab his side. The orc was soon in two pieces and the others backed off for a brief moment. Arienel clenched her teeth as she looked around, noting how each member was doing and how many orcs were still coming out of the mountain. She flung out her hand and her gift as an arrow was loosed from somewhere in the distance, halting its course for Elladan's side. The elf nodded his thanks and continued his bloody work, protecting his wife who looked terrified.

It was as Arienel suddenly realized that Lothril couldn't fight that the orcs decided to go to weaker prey. Morroch's snapping mouth followed them as they ran for the elves and Arienel slid off the dragon's back, running for the elven maiden. She reached Lothril's side in time to halt another arrow that would have hit the golden-haired elleth. Arienel stabbed an orc in the stomach as she pushed the other female back behind her. A lull in the amount of orcs coming toward her allowed the red-haired female a moment to see that Elrohir was fighting near his father and both were doing well. Elladan was now separated from the two female's but he was holding his own and Morroch...

Arienel didn't get to truly see as she was suddenly and swiftly hit with something hard. Sky blue eyes blinked dizzily and looked up to see an orc with a club. Her head throbbed and behind her, Lothril was screaming, but Arienel found she couldn't focus. She winced as the orc raised the club again, but then blinked once more as the creature was suddenly incinerated before her eyes, falling to ash. She vaguely heard the shriek of retreating orcs, but Arienel didn't care at the moment.

How had Morroch used fire? It was her last thought before darkness swamped her throbbing head.

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She woke with a pounding headache and on reflection, Arienel wasn't surprised and actually grateful that a headache was the only problem she would have to deal with. It beat being sick or dealing with her gift. The elleth moved, but hissed at the pain that radiated from her skull down her spin. Damn that club had been merciless. Elrohir was beside her and he smiled faintly, speaking softly. "Stay still and it will not hurt as badly." The elf brought water up to her mouth and she drank, sky blue eyes amused. This was almost like a tradition now.

"Are you injured?"

The dark-haired elf shook his head. "No, everyone is fine, including Lothril. She's shaken, though. She's never been in any sort of fight."

"She should not have traveled with me, then."

Morroch's black wolf head suddenly came into view above her own and the canine's eyes contained a smirk. "Then no one would ever have an adventure, Ainar. That would not be fair." The elleth merely glared at him in mock anger, too sore to move and the shape-shifter laid down by her side, his head on her stomach. Elrohir kissed Arienel's forehead. "I will go check on the herbs. They will help with the pain." He left and the female looked at Morroch.

"How did you use your fire? You have not eaten rock."

"I am not sure. I just saw that orc over you and more trying to drag Lothril away and something...built inside me. The fire surprised me as much as it did everyone else, but it did scare the orcs away."

Arienel nodded gently, scared of making her throbbing head worse and her eyes started to close sleepily. "Perhaps you should ask Alagos when you see him next.." She almost snorted as a familiar voice came to her right and Arienel opened her eyes to see a white haired human standing calmly in the middle of their camp, ignoring the elves as they unsheathed weapons and grinning in his smirking way, amber eyes laughing mockingly.

"Ask me what?"

Morroch acted swiftly, standing and getting between his brother and the elves. Elrond and his sons hesitated and the black shape-shifter spoke steadily. "Lord Elrond, Elladan, Elrohir this is my half-brother Brassen." He wasn't sure why he used his sibling's alias, but something told him Alagos would prefer it that way. Even Voronflame had called him Brassen at first. The Lord of Rivendell raised a brow, but sheathed his sword slowly and the twins followed, Elrohir more quickly then his twin. The white shape-shifter had watched the whole proceeding with little care and now simply leaned against a tree - they were still in the lower part of the mountains.

"What did you need to ask me, Dagoryn?"

Morroch growled and went back to his rider, laying his head back on her stomach as Elrohir walked past Alagos to give Arienel the tea with the herbs in it. The younger son of Elrond was accepting this better then then his family members simply for that fact that he was used to things not being normal around Arienel and Morroch. The black shape-shifter replied tiredly, ready for sleep after the long day. "I used fire when I know I need rock to fuel it. I had none and yet when Arienel was in danger, the fire came."

His brother snorted and rolled his eyes. "That is no mystery. Rock fire is used for Lung-Fire. What you used to save your immortal was Heart-Fire. Any dragon can use it to save another and with enough training, you could use it for other things, too." Alagos pushed away from the tree. "If that is all you will be needing..." He grinned at the elves. "Pleasure meeting you." The white-shifter melded into the trees as if he'd never been there, leaving the others to look after him and Morroch shook his head before laying it back on Arienel's stomach. They had answers and they were both happy with the new bit of information.

The elleth and shape-shifter were asleep within a minute, getting much needed rest for the traveling they would have to do the next day.
Chapter End Notes:
Yes, Arienel blacks out. Oh, come on! The story would just not be the same without it! LOL Review please!
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