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Summerland

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Summerland of the Heart

Authors Notes

Welcome to Summerland
: You have clicked open a tale that was crafted with immense love. Primarily, Summerland is an exploration of grief and elves, giving those of us who miss them an opportunity to imagine that they didn't have to leave Middle Earth after all. The tale is also rather abashedly a Mary Sue (times two) with romances for both Legolas and Haldir, though I dare to believe it has some value beyond wish fulfillment.

Even if you aren't normally interested in AU, Crossover, OC, Mary Sue, angsty, elf-fancying stories, perhaps you'll do me the honor of taking a peek at this one. It comes from my heart and I hope it touches yours.

Haldir/Meg & Rings: Some Haldir/Meg scenes were written as prompts from my dear friend who was seriously ill at the time, and in need of distraction. Meg was designed by and for her. I sincerely doubt I would have felt the necessity to add even one more ring to Middle Earth under any other circumstance. No, really. I remain of the school of thought that Middle Earth has it's quota of rings, particularly of the magical variety. I admit it was a nice challenge attempting to write the ring scenes with any sort of authenticity, however, and I was (probably a bit too) pleased with myself for (marginally) pulling it off, so, yay for weirdly challenging prompts.  

On the Matter of Elves
: I have respectfully simplified elven relationships because it was more compelling for me to get into their heads rather than into their complex history for the purposes of this story.

A Note on Language: I spent a large quantity of highly enjoyable time doing (unquestionably horrific) Elvish translations, because I feel strongly that the language is an important element to include. Although I always intended to improve that aspect at a later date, I am satisfied that it can stand as it is and provide the ambiance I am aiming for despite (truly impressive) inaccuracies.

On Crossovers: Summerland is alternate universe and incorporates crossover elements predominately as backstory. Long ago I decided that if space was infinite, then why not imagine that all the stories I love are taking place simultaneously on various worlds in the same universe? All that was required was some sort of unifying thread - so I created my gypsy refugees from which my original characters are derived. I am sure fantasy fans will recognize a number of sources, but rest assured - Summerland is a Middle Earth tale.

A note on Bail Organa and other Star Wars details: I created my original characters many years before George Lucas explained prequal-ly type things, such as how the King of Alderaan came to raise Leia. I made up my own version, and that is what you will find here. I was eleven. It is what it is.

Regarding Thranduil: My intent is always to respect and preserve the voices of well-beloved characters. We know little enough about Thranduil that speculation about him varies. I subscribe to (and prefer to read about) a Thranduil that is a loving father, if a bit mercurial. At first blush it may appear that I am enormously hard on the character of Thranduil, but I hope I am ultimately successful in expressing my affection for him.

Thank you for coming this far with me!

XXX

Prologue:

Summons

The summons had come abruptly, delivered by an elf who had traveled south intent upon adding his skill to the restoration of the great city of men, Minas Tirith.

Many elves had come. There were some sixty in the city and more scattered throughout the countryside of Gondor and Ithilien, doing their part to mend the damage caused by the War of the Ring. The defeat of the Enemy and the return of the king had wrought change throughout Middle Earth. Renewed security on the king's roads was one such change, so that trade between the races was brisk. Even elves, reclusive for over 3,000 years, were on the move.

Some of them were; those that had not taken the ships for Valinor; those for whom the Great Longing for the sea had not become intolerable.

Alfirin of the wood elves came with saplings of flowering trees, tended with care over the weeks and miles of travel, in order to grace the Gardens – fast becoming one of the marvels of a reawakening city. As is the way with elves, ever courteous to one another and in their dealings with other races, Alfirin presented his respects to the King and Queen upon his entry into the city. But after his eloquent courtesies to Elessar and Arwen of Gondor, he turned so precipitously to Legolas (who stood to the right of his friends' thrones), that the woodland prince was visibly startled (which is to say, that there was a nearly imperceptible widening of his eyes). Then, without preamble, Alfirin spoke the words of the summons as if he'd memorized them exactly as they had been spoken to him.

"Legolas, elf of the woods, you are summoned to your King and instructed to delay not in your coming, but to travel thence with all speed."

To which Legolas could only reply, "Of course! I shall go at once." Which is how he found himself, after a hasty farewell to his friends, astride silver-white Arod riding out of the gates of Minas Tirith in the afternoon with the sun's slanting rays broken by the towers of men at his back.

XXX

Hovering above the streets of Rhemuth the Fair, the King's capitol in Gwynedd, Serafé Organa Naberrie reveled in the bright auras of immortality so recently acquired by its people. Though it was night and most of the inhabitants of the city were abed, the glow of peace filtered through the densest wall and roof to create a spectacle of coruscating colors to be enjoyed by any with the skill and experience to appreciate it. The vision swelled her heart with pride and love for these good folk.

In the direction of the palace, where her body lay in light slumber, Feia perceived the potent glow of Kelson's power pulsing with a life that spread and somehow touched every light in the city and beyond. He must be dreaming for his people again. Feia wondered when he allowed himself true rest, for even a King must sometimes dream for himself. Perhaps she should speak with him about it.

And that should be reminder enough that it is past time to return to my own rest. She could hardly call the King to account for his nightly wanderings if she was unwilling to limit her own. But it was such a lovely night! Somehow it had called to her – summoned her, almost; luring her from that first light slumber of the night so that she could soar and drift, visiting this land and the people who had gifted her with the closest thing to a home that she had enjoyed in many long years.

But the act of traveling takes its toll in fatigue if one does not have a care. It is a talent not to be used lightly, and Feia's traveling tonight was little more than fancy. With a mental sigh, Feia gave in to her more cautious nature and began to gather the skeins of dream light upon which she traveled back into herself.

The sensation that followed was both strange and familiar, as though she were a cork floating trapped inside a bottle filled half with air and half with water held in the depths of the ocean. Once released, the bottle seeks the surface gaining in momentum; rising up and up. But the cork is driven down and down, hard against the bottom of the bottle until the surface is found. Then as the water inside the bottle adapts itself to the rhythm of the waves, the cork bobs peacefully to join it. And so Feia found her consciousness when returning from traveling.

She had very nearly matched the rhythm of her essence with that of her body when there was a disruption at the edge of her awareness; a signature of distress she recognized at once as Meg's. And so, instead of returning to consciousness she traveled instead to a set of rooms adjacent to her own, there to discover what could be disturbing her near-sister's sleep.

Meghailin slept fitfully indeed, but she was safe. Tangled in her blankets with her profusion of white-gold curls making a wide, wild aura of its own, Meg lay softly muttering, one hand clenched tightly around something which hung from a fine chain about her neck. A delicate sheen of perspiration glistened on her brow in the moonlight. Feia touched Meg's shoulder with her etheric hand and her friend stirred and breathed a deep sigh, seeming to settle into normal slumber.

But then all at once Meg gave a cry, "Man agortha estabar!?" Every line of her body spoke of urgency as she tossed, straining to apprehend a response.

On their home world, the elvish language had been the cultural prerogative of elves; only the most scholarly humans studied it. Feia did not consider herself to be a scholar and she had picked up very little of the language. Perhaps Meg was experiencing a night terror, or perhaps a true dream. In either case, Feia knew not how to comfort her without intruding upon the sanctity of her sister's mind.

With some hesitancy, Feia withdrew to her own bedchamber determined to respect Meg's privacy. But as she paused by her sleeping body, prepared to seek natural sleep, Feia sensed that something was different – missing. Searching the room for a cause, she perceived no reason for alarm. Still, something teased at her awareness. Extending her senses, Feia encountered only the tranquility of the palace in slumber and the continuous stream of good will flowing from the King's dream.

The King's dream! That was it! Kelson's dream did not touch her, nor had his energy been evident in Meg's sleeping aura.

And with no further warning, Feia was uprooted - adrift... alone. These were feelings well known to her – old friends since the long exile began. But they had not felt so immediate, so sharp and hot, for all of the years that she had dwelt in Gwynedd. Turning again to her slumbering form, she saw tears streaming down her own cheeks. It was time for them to leave. Again.

Settling into her body, Feia allowed herself to wake slowly to the sound of her own soft sobs. Sitting up she found she was trembling and gathered the blankets tight about her, but there was little comfort in it.

"Did you finish saying goodbye, then?"

"Father," she whispered, as the familiar form coalesced in light – warm red-orange and white, standing beside her bed. The figure smiled warmly, but regretfully, and moved closer.

Laying a hand over hers that Serafé felt only as a slight tingle of energy up her arm, he who was once Bail Riatt Organa said, "Daughter, you have felt that it is time to go; now I come to tell you where and how.

"The free folk of Middle Earth, of whom you know, have at last cast out the Great Evil, but they also have resigned themselves to a fate that need not be theirs. The Men of Middle Earth believe that they must live in a world without what they perceive to be magic. The Elves believe that they must leave Middle Earth in order to find renewed life, and to allow Men to thrive. Dwarves and Hobbits might perceive that they will gradually diminish as Men multiply.

"The people do not know that the ascension of men in the universe has begun and grows now so swiftly that your presence only will be enough to trigger it on Middle Earth. Wherever men ascend, so will all of the people ascend; Dwarves and Hobbits shall continue to have a place on Middle Earth. And wherever men ascend, elves will be called upon to join with them as has been the plan since creation. The elves of Middle Earth must not pass into the west, but instead find Valinor, their Summerland, within their hearts.

"You are asked to undertake the task of catalyst for this ascension upon Middle Earth. But, my daughter, Middle Earth exists in a perilous area of space endangered by the existence of a terrible threat. Technology of any kind will attract this menace that Middle Earth's people have not the knowledge to resist. If once the collective eye falls upon Middle Earth, it shall be free no longer. This must not be.

"Seek the assistance of the Guild of Messengers. If they are willing, a way will be found for you to travel to Middle Earth without attracting the notice of the collective.

"This also I say to you, Serafé; only this last time will you be asked to assist the great work of the Powers That Be. After this, no trigger at all will be needed for other worlds to ascend. A place of rest has been found for you, and you may have a home at last, if you continue to trust and follow your heart.

"Now sleep; and wake refreshed remembering these words. You have work yet to do, and choices yet to make. Only trust and all will be as you have long desired – as I have long desired for you."

And Feia slept peacefully until past dawn in happy dreams of childhood, of Alderaan, and of a home yet to be.

XXX

Meghailin Celduinsén McKiernan dreamed.

A strange forest in darkness ensnared her, but she ran – searching. Someone was calling for her. From the depth of great sadness, of long grief, someone reached out in need of her healing touch, but she could not locate him.

"Man agortha estabar!?" From whence do you call? She both spoke and projected. But the cries remained faint.

Branches tore at her clothing, and her bare feet flew over rock and root. She would not stop! Meg was a healer, not only in talent and in training, but also in her soul - and she was needed. But a terrible fear rose up filling her throat, two fears really: that her survival also, was dependant in some unfathomable way upon connecting with this being; and that she was nearly out of time. The fear ran ahead of feet that could not move fast enough!

Meg could no longer hear the distant cry that drew her, but through a haze that had informed her eyes a light beckoned – golden and green, ahead in the trees.

"Túllen!" I come to thee! Meg tried to shout, but it came out a broken whisper. So she projected that, too, with all the strength she possessed.

"Túllen!" the faraway voice responded in her mind just as Meg broke through the tangle of trees into an open clearing. Flinging herself across the last steps to its center, she fell to her knees beside the source of the light and placed her hands to either side; allowing the glow to bathe her face.

A green and golden nimbus surrounded her being in a feeling of serenity and belonging such as she had not known in all the time since her home was destroyed. Tears of grief she had not allowed for many long years slid down her cheeks unhindered and one tear fell between her hands into the light. In response it flared more brilliantly yet.

At that moment, the golden-green light changed to silver-blue, and there, between her hands she saw that its source was a ring of mithril and sarnnenmír. Her father's ring! Reflexively, Meg grasped the chain about her neck from which she always wore that ring depended over her heart. She could feel its weight, warm against her skin. How then could it lie upon the floor of a clearing in this unknown forest?

Sitting back on her heels, Meg removed the ring from inside her nightdress and stared in stunned amazement. In her hand glittered a large golden ring of elven make in a fine filigree of vines and leaves surmounted by an emerald, itself cut into the shape of an odd, triune leaf.

The spot of earth that had held her father's ring was now empty.

"Túllen…" echoed once more in her mind and she faded from the dream into more natural sleep. As Meg's body relaxed in normal slumber filled with peaceful dreams, her hand relaxed its grip on the ring over her heart, and the stream of moonlight through her window was caught and reflected in the depths of deep green emerald.

XXX

Haldir of Lórien appeared serene as any elf in Caras Galadhon, but he was troubled in his heart. At first, he had believed he was suffering the onset of the Great Longing. When Galadriel, his Lady of the Wood, had taken ship for the west, many of the Galadhrim had followed soon after. Many more would follow in the years ahead; for the magic of timelessness had been lifted here soonest, where it had lain heaviest and longest. The ravages of winter had fallen upon elvenkind on Middle Earth.

At times, the loss of all that was now past was overwhelming; the sorrow for what was, and would never be again. Perchance the grief was sharper for Haldir, because he had seen death come to elves who had lived for thousands of years; had fought beside elves who would not travel to Valinor but waited now in The Halls. Elves like Orophin, his brother.

But because of all he had seen, he was also, perhaps, more tied to Middle Earth than the majority of his brethren – cared more, perhaps, for the fate of the other people of this world. And that is why, as the ache of emptiness in his heart grew, his desire to take ship and leave the land of his birth did not.

Instead, he walked the forest of Lórien and the huge flets, the telain, high in the Mallorn trees and found them too small to contain his restless feet or his yearning heart. In his mind, Haldir began to cast forth his thoughts like a net to catch the thing that would bring him ease and healing. Deep in elven trance, each day as he walked the forest, he cast his mind-net ever farther and wider, until one day his diligence yielded a sign more incredible than he could have imagined or hoped.

A small voice in his head, a voice in pain akin to his own, cried, "Man agortha estabar!?" But the more he attempted to stretch forth his mind toward this being, the greater the distance between them seemed to grow until he fairly wept with frustration. He determined to go deeper still into trance to reach this one who could represent his salvation.

Kneeling in a small clearing in the woods, Haldir used the ring on his index finger as a point of focus to draw his mind into the greatest depth of trance he had yet achieved in three and a half thousand years. The golden filigree ring with its Mallorn leaf shaped emerald had been Orophin's, and he wore it in remembrance of all things lost. Now, he prayed, it would aid him in reaching that which he so desperately desired to find. In moments, the ring began to glow and pulse with a light that would have near-blinded his physical eyes, but he perceived it from the depths of his mind and it harmed him not. Then, faintly, he heard the voice call, "Túllen!" But Haldir, in need and impatience uncharacteristic of elves, stretched forth his mind and found a feeling, an essence, he could almost recognize – almost grasp – and he responded, "Túllen!" I come to thee!

At that moment a surge of emotions rushed in upon him, so potent that he was knocked back on his heels. He felt sorrow and compassion, grief and hope, loneliness and belonging. He trembled with recognition and a powerful desire.

A drop of liquid, both cool and warming, skimmed his fingers. And when, all unconsciously, he raised his hand to his lips, there he tasted a salty tear. Shaken, Haldir opened his eyes, half anticipating that he would see one of the Valar weeping to heal the world. But there was naught there but a silver-blue glow. Extending his thoughts once more before the contact was lost to him, he sent, "Túllen!" And he was alone.

A wave of exhaustion overcame him and Haldir knelt, breathing heavily, with hands pressed to the earth before him. Gradually, as he came to himself, Haldir vowed that he would locate this being…Nay! this lady, to whom he now sensed he was unequivocally tied. And that is when he saw the ring upon his finger plainly for the first time.

Mithril it was, cut and shaped in spirals that minded him of water flowing, and set with a tear shaped stone of palest blue.