Luineraugwen: This story was written for an assignment last year and I've thought about putting it up quite a few times and now I've finally done it. I apologize and must admit that not all of this work is my own. I was reading Lord of the Rings when I was writing this and so my story is somewhat akin to that. Unfortunately several of J.R.R.Tolkien's famous names and places have been put in my story. I take absolutely no credit for these names and if anyone wishes for me to take this story off Fictionpress, replace the names and then re post this story then please don't hesitate to email me or leave it in a review.

Also I know that the map in this story isn't too great but that's the best I could do with the scanner. Sorry.

A new moon cast down its pale silver light and bathed the planet of Nimrodel in its splendor. The palace of the StarDaughter, ruler of the planet, stood out against everything else. Its walls were made of silver marble and etched into the mineral were carved designs of then many constellations. All the cultures on the planet admired the heavens that swirled above them and many of them had tried to replicate the pattern of the stars but none, even the designs on the palace walls, came close to the beauty of the that Eli, the royal advisor and the Princess Cassiel's teacher/mentor, possessed in his study, that, with the help of Elven magic, changed depending on the position of the stars.

On one of the many balconies of the palace, Cassiel, heiress to the throne, stood watching the stars. She admired the brilliance of the heavens more than her human kin for her other half, her elvish blood, compelled and desired her to stay up late and watch the waning moon. A gentle breeze blew her black hair from her face. Only her mother, Eli and she knew that elvish blood coursed through her veins. She sighed.

"What is the matter, highness?" Eli asked standing in the doorway but as soon as he saw her face, he answered his own question. "You wish to hear the story of the elf and the human woman, don't you?" She nodded. "Some things never change. Ever since I first told you this story, it's been your favorite" Eli replied as the princess walked over to him and he held her in his arms.

Eli whispered the tale in Ancient Elvish so only they could understand it. Few people, including the Elves, could speak the old language; Eli and Cassiel were among them. As Cassiel listened, the elf ran his fingers through her black hair. Not too long ago there had been more of a teacher/student relationship between the two. Because of Cassiel's blood, she was attracted to Elves more than Men and both the glamour and beauty of Eli had been irresistible to her. Both knew that it was only a short-time curiosity and infatuation and the relationship ended like the turning tides of the sea to the south. Even with their past rack record, they still enjoyed each other's company as well as the occasional and rare kiss.

Suddenly their peaceful atmosphere was shattered with an explosion from the throne room. The two jumped up and ran down the stairs and along the elegant halls that led to it. Cassiel slammed her full weight against the huge Oakwood doors, forcing them to swing open with a BANG. The princess stormed into the enormous chamber, Eli at her heels, and the first thing her saw was her mother lying unconscious on the hard floor. Eli rushed over to the queen as Cassiel noticed another, evil, presence in the room. Over the far side of the hall stood a fairly tall male elf with black hair and even darker eyes. He stood by the broken case that housed the Star Staff, symbol of the Queen and one of the most powerful magic weapons on the planet as well as that, if it was in the wrong hands, it could easily cause mass destruction. The staff was in his hands. She stared at the intruder before he opened his mouth and spoke, this words bouncing off the marble walls.

"The time of human rule will soon be over and my Master will reign over this world. I think he will be much pleased with this little present," he said running his hand over the crystal orb on its head then he looked Cassiel straight in the eye. "And with you!" he whispered in Ancient Elvish and before the princess could do anything, he faded away, taking the staff with him and leaving the throne room in ruins. The guards had now decided to show up and were escorting Eli and the unconscious queen to her chambers.

The next day the Queen recounted the events of the previous night to her daughter, Eli and a handful of lords in her chambers. She told them of how the mysterious elf suddenly appeared and attacked her. She then gathered after hearing Eli and Cassiel's reports that he had been there to steal the staff and or kill her in the process. There was a great amount of outrage from the lords and they began to argue and bicker amongst themselves. Cassiel listened to them for a few seconds before storming out of the room, fuming. No one followed.

A few hours had passed since the Queen's tale and Cassiel hadn't been seen since. The Princess had in fact been preparing for an up journey that she'd only told her maid, Gabriel, about. She had only just decided on making the quest her own after hearing what her mother had said. She told Gabriel to prepare a pack of provisions and other essentials while she went to pay a visit to Eli and then collect her weapons.

Cassiel had changed her attire from the flowing purple dress she usually wore, to the high-collared, short-sleeved dress with two slits that ran down the sides of her dress from her waist. She also wore black boots that came past her knees as well as thick black gloves that ran to the middle of her upper arm. A spike jutted out of each elbow. Unseen to the people around her, a silver necklace with a pendant of a she-elf lay hidden beneath the high neck. Her mother told her it had been a gift from her real father, who had died long ago.

As the Princess walked down the hall towards Eli's study, she read the thoughts of many of the people and elves she passed a little something Eli taught her. Many thought of reasons for why their princess was dressed so. Some thought it was just another fighting contest she was competing in, as she was the world's greatest fighter, and other believed that war had finally come to Nimrodel. Cassiel guessed it was a bit of both and she longed to tell them that war was a long way off, but of that she couldn't really be sure. Wars were unpredictable, she enemy was even more unpredictable, and could strike at any time, even before she left. A vision of pain and destruction passed though her mind. She must hurry!

The Princess's fingers ran gently over the one of many rosewood bookcases in Eli's study. The little light that was in the room came from the beautifully handmade stars that shone against the black ceiling with Elven magic.

"You seek my counsel for you're up coming journey, don't you, Luineraugwen?" Eli said coming out of the shadows. Luineraugwen was Cassiel's elvish name and Eli was the only one in the world who called her that.

"Did you have to read my mind or was it so obvious?" Cassiel replied trying not to sound too rude.

"It was a bit a both, my dear, Luineraugwen. I sense that you are in a hurry so I will tell you the best way for you to travel and what you'll be up against. I will mark on a map the fastest route for you. Come, follow me". Eli led the way to his Room of Maps and all the way he told her about 'The Shadow', an evil, very evil, presence hidden deep within the mountains beyond the Grey Wood.

"The Shadow had made the darkest place on all Nimrodel his home, most befitting don't you think? Very little is known about 'The Shadow', although it is believed that it is male and that he his of the Elven race. His dark hand has spread far. It covers the entire North above the Shadow Mountains, and a little of the Grey Wood, mainly areas where it is cold and near the borders of his land. I cannot tell you much more than I have, but I will warn you, The Shadow is very powerful, I wish that I could be someone else on this journey other than yourself, Luineraugwen" Eli said, his emotions showing in his eyes as he gave her a map.

Cassiel looked down at the piece of thin scroll he'd given her. The Princess had always trusted Eli and whatever path he chooses, she would follow. This is what she saw;

"Thank you Eli, I wouldn't know which path to follow if it wasn't for you. But you must understand that I will be assuming the throne in a few years or sooner, for mother's condition is worsening and I want to fight for the lands I will one-day rule. I've felt my life has been leading up to something and it feels like this is what I've been waiting for. Perhaps this is my final test. Goodbye, my friend" Cassiel explained, then kissed Eli on the cheek, before she turned to walk away but Eli's hand caught her wrist and she looked back.

"Eli…" she began but the elf hushed her and let go He'd read and found comfort in her thoughts.

"I'm sorry I have kept you. Time is of short supply at the moment. Gook luck, Luineraugwen or should I say, Highness" he replied grinning and bowing in jest.

Eli watched the Princess leave. He sighed. He still had a part to play in this quest and with Cassiel. For that he had to prepare.

Once Cassiel was outside, she sent a messenger to the stables requesting them to saddle Morsul, her black stallion, and for him to be ready within five minutes. Cassiel then paid a quick visit to weaponry room and gathered her bow, quiver, sword and long knives. She then made her way back to her room, said farewell to Gabriel and left a letter with her maid for her mother, before disappearing through a secret passage behind a tapestry so she wouldn't be seen. She walked through a stone tunnel, a blazing torch in hand and the pack slung across her back. This tunnel led outside of the palace walls, she'd found it when she was a child. Cassiel could climb over the wall and collect her horse. She planned to put on a dark cloak and hood before passing through the guarded gates. If they recognized her as the Princess, they wouldn't let her past or go anywhere without and escort, especially heading to the north.

Cassiel emerged into the midday sun and she disposed of the torch. She grew the woolen cloak out of her pack and put it over her shoulders and head before she scaled the wall. She looked over the top to make sure no one was around, before she swung her legs over the stones and landed gracefully on the other side. She walked over to the boy who held her horse.

"Thank you Bryce. If anyone asks where I am, tell him or her I've gone riding. Can you do that for me?" Cassiel asked as she transferred the pack from her back to the horse. The boy nodded and she ruffled the child's hair before she mounted Morsul and pulled the hood over her face. She rode towards the gates and looked back to see Bryce waving so she returned the gesture.

The guards let her pass when she showed them the fake message she'd written from herself to an elf kingdom to the north. Wildflowers grew on each side of the road and Cassiel watched them moving gently in the pleasant breeze as Morsul and her trotted along the dirt path and toward the town of Buckland. Her mother had often had dealings with the entire human and Elven Kings and Lords to the North, South, East and West. Cassiel had met many of them when se was younger but because of her mother's worsening illness. The meetings between them had been less frequent. Cassiel deeply missed the stories they would tell her about their lands.

Cassiel saw few people along the road that she traveled that day, so she lowered her hood. She knew it would be a few days ridding before she reached Buckland. They had been roaming the path now for several hours and the sun was getting low in the sky to the west. Cassiel knew she had to make camp soon even though the fear in her begged her to go on. Morsul needed rest and even she could not ride both day and night.

She began to look for a spot to rest for the night and she passed a small group of elves that sat hidden behind some bushes on the side of the road. One of them jumped up and spoke as he heard her and Morsul approach.

"Why does a lady such as yourself travel without and escort or at least unarmed and if you are looking for somewhere to stay for the night, my friends and I will be honored to have your company" he said and his other companions stood up.

Cassiel dismounted and led her horse over to them. "I am not unarmed," she quickly flashed him a glance of the sword at her hip. "And I am in no need of an escort but I will gladly take up your offer" she replied smiling and one of the elves took Morsul and unsaddled and let him graze with the other horses while the others led her over to the fire they had built.

After they ate and the moon was high, they began to talk.

"So, what be your name and where do you travel?" the one named Eldorel asked, who was the oldest of the three.

"My name is Cassiel and I plan to travel to Buckland, then to Bree, across the Grey Straight and visit some friends in the Grey Wood" she explained.

"That is quite a long journey to travel along. Your name is both rare and beautiful. You shore it with the StarDaughter's heir and even with the poor light this fire gives, I would swear that you looked like" Eldorel replied and the others nodded.

"Yes, well just between you and me, I am the princess. I plan to go to the Shadow Mountains and reclaim the StarStaff that was stolen last night. I want to keep this journey and my identity a secret but, if even you can recognize me in this poor light, then I think I shall need a disguise.

"Your news about the StarStaff is bad indeed, but I think that we may be able to help with the disguise. We are heading to the Limlight Forrest and we also know someone who can help you. I realize that going with us will take you off your current path and that you it will take more days to complete your journey but it will not be in vain if on one recognizes you" Amorel, Eldorel's youngest and more shy brother, said and his brothers agreed.

"Yes I think that is a good idea, Amorel and I thank all of you for your help" Cassiel replied and she watched as Amorel and Eldorel began to set up their blankets, while Emdorel, Eldorel's twin, prepared to sit up for watch.

"We're always glad to help someone traveling," Emdorel replied when Cassiel had come back from getting her blanket and lying down. "Or a fellow elf" he whispered but because of how tired she was, the princess missed the meaning of his words.

They rose before the sun the next day and ate breakfast. Emdorel doused the fire with water and they rode on to Limlight Forrest at dawn. They saw grey storm clouds coming from the west so they hurried their horses as much as they dared. They group seldom stopped to make camp but by midday the clouds had turned black and the wind was cold. It wasn't long until the rain began to fall and the group sang to keep their spirits up. Cassiel amazed the others by singing along with them in perfect Elvish. They couldn't tell how late it was, due to the sun being hidden by the clouds, but several hours after their last rest, they saw the town of Buckland and the trees of the forest near it came into view. Eldorel led the group off the road and onto a small path that wound towards the forest.

The sun had now set but the rain had not ceased to fall. The dark forest trees loomed up ahead of them. Suddenly out of the gloom several elves holding lit lanterns came walking towards them. Eldorel spoke shortly with one then continued to ride on with the unknown elves lighting their way.

Their guided led them on a path through the trees until they reached a clearing. Cassiel, Eldorel, Emdorel and Amorel dismounted and looked around. There were hundreds of houses on both the ground and in the trees. Their guides extinguished all except for one of the lanterns as some unseen force already lighted up most of the area. The elves surrounded the small group and escorted them up a stairway and to an elaborate building that obviously belonged to someone of high status within the community. Cassiel and her companions were seated at a table inside the building with only two-armed guards watching them from the door. A male elf wearing long blue robes of a magician and a young she-elf stood at the other end of the table.

"Welcome Princess Cassiel to the Limlight Forrest. I hope your first impression of the forest, although little has been shown to you, has been pleasurable. My name is Adorma and this is Feawen. We received news that you, Princess, would be traveling to Buckland so we sent Eldorel and his brothers to meet you and suggest that you come here to change your disguise, at the request of Eli of course" the male elf said.

"Eli, how did he get the message to you so fast? I saw no messenger go passed me," Cassiel asked.

"Because of Eli's foresight ability he was able to see this many weeks ago and send word in advance. There is a spell I know that can change one's appearance. My idea is to use this spell to make you look like an elf until you reach the other side of Grey Straight" Adorma explained. He stood in front of Cassiel and said something she didn't understand as he passed a hand over her.

Cassiel felt a slight tingling sensation in her ears and she saw little tiny bits of dust that smelled like lavender floating around her. One of the specks settled on her nose, igniting a reaction and she sneezed. She heard a chorus of chuckles and a giggle so she looked up to see them all smiling.

"I don't really feel different," Cassiel said honestly as she looked from one to the other.

"But you certainly look different" Feawen replied as she held a silver rimed mirror for Cassiel to see herself. Her ears were pointed, her features were finer and instead of the usual olive skin, it had turned ivory in color. She glanced down at her hands and found them to be long, slender and smooth but still strong enough to hold her sword.

"Do you like it?" Amorel asked and Cassiel nodded. "Now all we need is a name".

"Eli told me that my elvish name is Luineraugwen. No one else will know who that is because only Eli called me that" Cassiel suggested.

"Aye, that will be the name you travel with. Eldorel, Emdorel and Amorel, be ready to ride at mid morning tomorrow. You will escort Luineraugwen to the Anduin Warf and then come back here or if you have matters of your own to attend to, just send a message" Adorma said and left them to eat supper. Feawen then led them to their rooms.

Cassiel woke early in the morning and dressed. She found a silver Elven cloak on her dresser, so she put it on. She entered the hallway and she heard someone laugh from Amorel's room and Cassiel knew he wasn't alone. Lucky bastard. The princess kept walking and admired the different trees, as well as the view from where she stood high up in the trees. She watched as the elves woke and go about their daily business of cleaning the stables, keeping the place tidy, fighting and the likes. Cassiel wandered back to the house where she met the three brothers, who were all in good spirits. They decided to continue to take the route that Eli had chosen and stick to it until they reached Anduin Warf. The group said farewell to their hosts before grabbing their packs and mounting their well-rested horses. Eldorel led the way out of the forest and back on the road towards Buckland.

They rode through the town at midday but didn't stop to buy provisions because the elves had stocked up all their supplies and they would last for quite a while. The group sang and talked to pass the time. Cassiel knew that the Ruins of Gold Tower were at least a four-day ride, three if they rode hard and Bree was about two weeks away, depending on the weather of the Demoree Range which was unpredictable. Days and nights passed and they told tales of their adventures by the fire. It wasn't long before they rode past the Ruins of Gold Tower; one of the last watchtowers left from the old wars fought hundreds of years ago. Instead of being destroyed by the enemy, the tower had lost its battle to the slow decay of time, unlike its counterpart, the Silver Tower, which continued to stand proud in the lands to the west near the Wasterwash River.

Cassiel became aware of a silhouette far above them and she shielded her eyes against the afternoon sun with her hand. She saw an eagle with brown and white speckled feathers gliding on the thermals to the north.

"We'll make camp among these ruins for the night but we will have to leave early before the sun rises if we plan to pass through the Demoree Range before the blizzard sets in" Eldorel said and headed towards the tower. They made their camp but Cassiel continued to watch the eagle even as the night sky darkened.

"That eagle has been following us for days. If I'm not mistaken, it's Lazarus, Adorma's pet and best friend besides women," Amorel winked and went on. "Lazarus will continue to follow us until we get to the Anduin Warf" he explained as he followed her gaze.

"We'll have to be extra vigilant tonight because this is area is occupied by quite few raiders and outlaws. Keep the horses close to the fire so we can keep an eye on them. I'll take first watch" Emdorel cautioned and the others settled down for the night.

"Luineraugwen wake up, we're under attack!" Amorel's urgent voice woke the princess from her sleep. The elf's face was just inches above her. His eyes were full of fighting spirit and…fear. What did he have to fear?

"Outlaws or raiders and how many?" Cassiel asked jumping up and drawing her elvish sword, Mithechor.

"Neither. It's only one person and he seems to only want to fight you because he's evading us and he asked for your presence. My brothers and I had half a mind to say we knew nothing of you but he knew both you're new name and that you were here" Amorel explained and Cassiel followed the sounds of laughter and taunting.

"Amore, you have fear in your eyes. What makes you fear this fighter more than any other you have met before? What is your reason you fear?" Cassiel asked urgently.

"This person or thing uses not only his fighting skills but magic. Dark magic. I do not think any of us, except for you, would have a chance against this foe" Amorel answered, uncertainty creeping into his voice and mind.

"I will try my best, my friend". Cassiel patted the elf on the back. They strode into a small clearing and saw the twins fighting against the same elf that stole the StarStaff.

"My, my Princess Cassiel, you are certainly pleasing on eye now that you're in your true self. Most pleasing indeed to my master" he said looking her over and grinning.

"What do you mean true self" Cassiel replied and she eyed the elf suspicious. A servant of the Shadow is well rooted in the arts of deceit and lying.

"Alas I've said too much already. That's a question you should really ask your teacher, Eli or your mother about. As for me, I came here to test your fighting ability because I was in a hurry the last time we met". He drew his sword out of thin air and lunged.

Cassiel raised Mithechor and blocked the blow, and then she attacked in return. The two warriors matched each other blow for blow, so they soon discarded their swords and fought with hand-to-hand combat or magic.

"You have yet to tell me your name" Cassiel yelled as she deflected a black fireball, which then plummeted to the ground beneath them.

"Although you probably won't live long enough for it to matter to you, my name is Sirithir" he replied and sent dozens of fireballs toward her.

Cassiel deflected and destroyed most of them with her own magic or she merely dodged the others. The princess's companions stood at the edges of the clearing, forgotten for the time being, watching but prepared to jump in at any moment. More fireballs, blasts and extremely sharp crystals the two exchanged but they soon tired of that too. Suddenly Sirithir attacked and he pinned Cassiel against a tree by the neck. Sirithir applied more pressure to his hand and cut off her airway. The two glared at each other until Emdorel loosed and arrow in the intruder's direction. Without even looking at Emdorel or the arrow, Sirithir shot two blasts of dark magic. One to destroy the arrow, which unfortunately worked, and the other to wound Emdorel, which also worked. Eldorel and Amorel grabbed their brother as he fell and tended to his wound as much as they could, while his attacker continued to hold Cassiel against the tree.

Suddenly a foul, angry and demanding voice appeared on the wind.

"Be careful, Sirithir. I want her ALIVE!!" the voice ordered. Cassiel watched as the servant flinch at the voice and he let her go, but not before he slammed a knife hidden in his fist into her stomach. Cassiel slid down the trunk of the tree and stared at Sirithir, a hand covering her wound, and before she knew it he disappeared into the night.

Cassiel somehow managed to stager over to her companions and she told them how to treat the wound that Emdorel had received. It wasn't long before that the princess felt the pull of unconscious from the lack of blood. She remembered seeing Amorel look at her in concern and then darkness took her.

She awoke to the movements of the horse beneath her. Cassiel was faintly aware of someone holding onto her and she looked around to see Emdorel seated behind her, while Eldorel and Amorel led the way. Emdorel noticed that Cassiel had woken up and alerted the others. They made camp and Emdorel gently lifted the princess from the saddle and laid her next to the fire.

"What happened?" she asked looking at them.

"You were wounded in the fight. Amorel seen you loose conscious. We tended to your wound and Emdorel's ridden with you for days. Luck was on our side as we passed through the Demoree Range and we encountered very pleasant weather. We also passed through Bree a few days ago and we now have about four days until we meet the Anduin Warf." Eldorel explained. It was painfully obvious to Cassiel that none of her companions wanted to leave her and she felt the same way.

"Emdorel, you were also wounded. How do you feel?" Cassiel asked s she tried to put the thoughts of goodbye away.

"Thankfully I wasn't wounded to bad. Although the spell he used sure was painful until it was treated" he replied. The princess now felt the lull of sleep and her eyes began to droop. The brothers decided to continue until the end of the day, which was a long way away because the sun was still low in the sky. Emdorel helped her onto the horse before he nimbly jumped up onto the creature and seated himself once again behind her. It wasn't before long that Cassiel fell into a deep sleep.

Cassiel now woke to the sounds of a crackling fire. The clear night's sky was littered with bright stars. All except for Eldorel and Emdorel were sleeping while Amorel kept watch.

"Amorel," The elf jumped at her voice. "How much ground did we cover today?"

"More than Eldorel thought we would. We are also closer to Anduin Warf for we rode faster than we intended. We are now about a day and a half's ride from the Grey Straight" he replied and sadness hung in his voice like a fog. He looked down at his hands. "I will miss you Luineraugwen. I wish we didn't have to part so soon. Although we met weeks ago, it only seems like yesterday to my brothers and I".

"Do not be sad Amorel, we will meet again. I will sorely miss the company of you and your brothers. You are all brave and loyal, so for that and your friendship, you all leave cherished memories in my heart and mind. I wish that I had your company for the rest of my journey, but I will not drag you all into certain danger" Cassiel said comforting he elf from across the fire.

"But what if we refuse to leave your side?" Eldorel asked. He and his other brother had woken up at the sound of Cassiel voice.

"Then I shall have to sneak away from you all and leave you here" she replied playfully.

"No one can sneak away from an elf unnoticed but you are certainly welcome to try" Emdorel reminded her.

"Well we shall soon see about that!" Cassiel said and lay back down to sleep.

Both Eldorel and Amorel were wrong about when they would reach the wharf. They began their journey again at sunrise. Cassiel was now strong enough to ride on her own and Morsul gladly accepted her weight. The group continued to ride all day and they came within sight of the wharf in mid afternoon.

"It seems that out farewells have come sooner than expected" Eldorel said as they now stood at the edge of the wharf. The boat Cassiel was using was large and stable enough to carry both Morsul and herself. Her horse was already on the boat as the princess prepared to say her good-byes.

"Fear not my friends, mark my words, I will return alive and victorious. There is no need to be so glum," Cassiel said heartily as she stood before them. The brothers tried their best to smile but they could not bring themselves to do so.

"Of course we fear. We believe you Luineraugwen, it's just that an angel is leaving our midst and that we shall never lie eyes on her ever again" Emdorel answered honestly for all of them.

"I am no angel but I promise you we will meet again. After I return to the palace, I will come and visit you in the Firwood Forrest and we can show me all over your home. Keep in mind that I mean this for I don't make promises that I can't keep" Cassiel replied as she embraced and kissed all three brothers on the cheek before jumping onto the boast and pushing off the shore. 'I will remember you for all of my years to come and even more some" she yelled as she waved. The elves returned the gesture as well as bowing as the watched her drift calmly across the blue waters of Grey Straight. They continued to watch until they saw her safely over the straight before they gave one final wave and mounted their horses. Cassiel waved as they rode away into the sinking sun.

Suddenly a tingling sensation started in her ears and moved all over her body. Cassiel remembered what Adorma told her about the spell and how it would fade when she reached the other side of the straight. She knew that she would miss being an elf. Having the keen sense of hearing, eyesight and other amazing abilities but she was mortal and no matter how much she wished for it, she would never be an elf. Cassiel peered into the water and saw her old self staring back.

The Grey Beach was on the edge of the Grey Wood and the beach itself went for miles. Morsul sniffed the yellow sand and became interested in a crap that walked by him. The horse continued to follow the crab until the crab decided it had had enough and nipped Morsul on the nose. Morsul snorted and walked back to his master, who rubbed his nose better.

Out of the corner of her eye, Cassiel saw a figure move in the forest. She stared at the forest for a short time. There was something not right. No birds sung and a matter of fact, nothing made noise at all. Perhaps it was an elf sentinel. The elves always protected their homes from strangers. The princess approached the edge of the trees and looked in before she decided to introduce herself.

"I am Princess Cassiel, heiress to the throne of Nimrodel. I wish to seek permission to travel safely through your woods," she yelled. She saw the figure again but this time it stepped out of the shadows and into the little light that was left from the sun. Cassiel had been right, it was an elf.

"Good evening princess. Isn't it bit late to be traveling?" he asked.

"Aye, some would think that wouldn't they," Cassiel replied smiling, but then she got down to the point. "Could I ask for permission to pass through Grey Wood?"

"Of course you can and permission granted Princess Cassiel" the elf replied. He began to lead her and Morsul through the woods.

"These woods are certainly not called the Grey Wood for nothing" Cassiel said as she looked at the grey barked trees that rose above her like towers. From what she could see, the sky had now turned black but somehow the woods radiated light.

"They certainly aren't. By the way Princess Cassiel, my name is Lintewilyaion. I'm the Chief of a section of the guards that protect the Grey Wood," he said introducing himself. "I think it would be best if I notified King Iarborion of your arrival. You will be one of his greatest guests in quite a while. I dare say he hasn't seen you in quite some time".

"Aye, it has been far too long since I have spoken to your King, too long indeed" Cassiel replied.

King Iarborion was extremely grateful that Cassiel had taken the time to visit him, but when she explained her need passing this way, he was very grave and he asked everyone but her to leave. Cassiel told him of the urgency, about the StarStaff being stolen and why she didn't have time to stay here for every long. The King then told her of the troubles with keeping the Shadow at bay and out of his lands but somehow the evil the Shadow possessed had leaked into the woods closest to the mountains. The two soon gave up on talking about their new enemy and changed the subject to Cassiel's mother's health, Eli and how life had been to the princess in the past few years.

"It is glad to hear that you are doing so well. I on the other hand have not been so fortunate. The Shadow's minions captured my son as he defended our lands. Some say that he has been killed or tortured to death. I just hope that Sirithir died a noble death'. The last name that he uttered bought back the memories of her previous battle.

"I hate to be the barer of bad new, my friend, but your son is still alive, although he now works for the Shadow" Cassiel answered grimly. She now remembered where that name was so familiar. King Iarborion's son and she had been friends throughout their childhood, or at least Cassiel's. She supposed that Sirithir didn't recognize her because of all the years that had passed between their last meeting as friends, or that he didn't want to recognize her.

"How…how do you know this?" the king stammered.

"I know this because it was your son who stole the StarStaff and he also gave me this" Cassiel showed him the healed wound on her stomach. The information took a while to sink in but once it did, Cassiel left the king to his thoughts and retired to her chambers.

Cassiel awoke the next morning to find that her things had already been restocked and packed. Morsul was happy to see his master again as she walked towards the stables. Iarborion accompanied Cassiel and the escort that would guard her until she reached the end of the woods. The two friends joked and talked of old things that most had long forgotten. It wasn't long before they could see the peaks of the mountains through the tops of the dense trees.

"We will soon reach the end of our lands. Unfortunately from there onwards, you're on our own," Iarborion said sadly as he looked at Cassiel.

"I would rather be on my own then endanger the lives of others" she replied and continued to watch ahead of her.

They soon reached the edge of the woods. Rocky and desolate land stretched out before her and the mountains loomed above but Cassiel refused to turn back after coming so far. She said farewell to more of her friends before she began to lead Morsul carefully over the rocks. The elves behind her began to sing a song of hope and they even invented one right on the spot about Cassiel, a woman, having the courage that some men lacked to face the growing enemy. The princess listened to them for a long as she could before she walked out of both ranges of sight and hearing.

They walked for hours on end and the sun soon began to set below the black outline of the mountains, Cassiel's destination. Cassiel and Morsul traveled by day and rested uneasy at night. It took them four days to reach a stone bridge that connected which the side of the mountain. There were two things that Cassiel worried about. One: how the hell was she going to get Morsul over the bridge and two: the bridge was built over a river of lava and geysers seemed to spurt up fresh lava and hot rocks into the air.

Suddenly Cassiel became aware of a figure clad in white stood in the middle of the bridge. If she long had her elven eyes, she could probably tell who it was. As she walked closer to the bridge, she was able to tell that it figure was male and that he had white ling hair. All of a sudden she realized who it was. It was Eli. Even though the thought brought her comfort, she trod carefully for it could have been a trick.

"Eli, is that you?" she asked cautiously as she reach the beginning to the crossover. He looked up at her with his lavender eyes for a few seconds before he replied.

"Of course it is me Luineraugwen. I was beginning to worry whether you would make it or not. Though I'm glad you did because it now means that you are ready to take the final test before you face the Shadow or in other words, my twin brother Rudhfenion" Eli replied to his student.

"Your brother. The Shadow is your brother" Cassiel tried to absorb the information but she was failing miserably.

"Aye my brother. He was more interested in the darker arts of magic and causing havoc with his skills rather than helping and teaching others. Cassiel, my brother and I are nothing alike; our feelings for each you are the only thing that binds us together. Now my dear student, I am the Gate Guardian to Rudhfenion's lair. You must complete my task first before you can move on," Eli said coming and standing before Cassiel.

"What is my task Avarmundoion?" she asked. Avarmundoion was Eli's elvish name and Cassiel rarely used it.

"I have forced quite a bit of Nimrodel's spiritual energy to build up in the last few days. Now our task is to equally distribute the energy to different parts of the planet. The energy is close to a release so you must hurry and prepare yourself. Remember the strength of the energy will be very strong. You must gain control of it before you can distribute the energy or you could destroy the planet" Eli explained as he took his place as a spectator while Cassiel completed this on her own. The princess walked out into the middle of the bridge where her mentor had stood minutes ago. She could feel the energy bubbling beneath the surface of the planet and she readied herself for the final test.

A column of bright white light erupted from beneath her, sending lava and molten rocks hurling through the air. The light surrounded the princess and it continued to travel upwards towards the heavens. Cassiel's arms were spread and she calmly tried to control its force. Time after time she failed to do so but then she reminded herself of the people she was trying to save. Slowly she began to control the power. She chose to send the energy to the four different parts of her mother's realm. She sent four beams of blazing light in their own directions before she descended and restored the flow of spiritual energy below the planet's surface. Cassiel felt a new and very powerful forces wake in her but as soon as she touched the ground, she lost conscious.

Cassiel stood on a green, grassy plain in the middle of nowhere. She watched the blades of grass move in the gentle breeze.

"Luineraugwen," someone called from behind her. She turned around to see a tall male elf striding towards her. His eyes, hair and most of his features were exactly like her own, so Cassiel knew straight away that this was her father she never met.

"Luineraugwen, I don't have much time to explain to you all that you need to know but I shall try. Please don't interrupt me or we shall never get through this. I am your father and my name is Iberir. I regret the fact that I wasn't around while you grew up and the reason I wasn't was that I died while completing in. the same journey you are engaging in. I died at the hands of Rudhfenion himself. Now you know some things. You know the story that your mother or Avarmundoion would tell you; well that is the story of your mother and I. You see, you are a full-blooded elf. Your mother chose to be mortal when I died but you still have a change to remain an elf instead of a human. You have a chose and you must choose quickly". Cassiel felt her father floating away from her she tried to grab him. "I'm sorry Luineraugwen, I have to go. I love you, my little princess" he whispered.

Cassiel sat up straight away and looked around to see Eli sitting next to her. "Did I pass?" she asked.

"Yes you did and I also see that you met your father while you were unconscious. Well I guess everything except for defeating Rudhfenion is done". He sighed.

"Who says she will beat my master?" Sirithir asked suddenly appearing before them.

"I do" replied Eli and he jumped up and engaged the younger elf in a fight.

"Hurry Cassiel. Go! Go and meet your fate" Eli yelled and the princess ran across the bridge and rammed herself up against the huge stone doors, which opened.

She ran along the stone halls and tunnels with no idea where she was or where Rudhfenion was but she continued to run, Mithechor clinking against her belt. Suddenly she came to a huge hall made of black marble. A man sat on a throne at the end of the room and even from this distance, Cassiel could tell he was the Shadow just from the evil that emanated from him. He did look like Eli a bit except that he had black hair and cold grey eyes, which he focused on her the whole time.

"It is a pleasure that we finally meet, Princess Cassiel" his voice boomed from the other end of the room.

"I'm sorry that I can't say the same, Rudhfenion" she replied and drew Mithechor as well as established an invisible protective shield around herself.

"So you've some to slay me like your father once tried to. What a coincidence that you shall also fall as well as your mother and the rest of this miserable planet" The StarStaff materialized out nowhere and he aimed a deadly blast of dark magic at her. He had somehow tapped into the power of the staff and changed it to suit his own purposes. She dodged the blast and sent one of her own purple fireballs at him. They dodged and attacked, used offence and defense but soon realized that they were of equal magical powers, thanks to Cassiel's final test, so they decided to fight with physical strength.

They punched and kicked and blocked as well as insulted each other for hours before either of them tired. The Shadow had several cuts and bruises while Cassiel hardly sported any wounds due to the shield she had created. Rudhfenion panted with the effort of his attacks and it infuriated him that Cassiel wasn't injured. In a last desperate attack, he blew apart the roof of the hall and let the rumble fall as he glided out of his lair and settled on a peak above the cave. Cassiel jumped easily onto the remaining remnants of the roof.

The crazed elf raised the StarStaff and the sky turned pitch black, dark clouds covered the stars and blue lightning forked from these to the ground, leaving huge craters in the rocks. He once again prepared to attack her with the power of the staff, so Cassiel gathered what spiritual energy she had unconsciously gathered and kept inside of her into a ball of white light and as Rudhfenion attacked, she sent a beam of her light to counter attack.

All of a sudden Cassiel realized what her father meant by she needed to choose if she wanted to be a human or an elf. Her choice would decide the end of the battle. She chose to be an elf. Her power became stronger. Both of her parents had been elves and she wanted to be one too. The people of the planet will have to deal with their princess being an elf. Now she knew what Sirithir meant by 'true form', Adorma had only removed the spell that made her look human. Cassiel's strength had now doubled ten fold and she sent all of it towards Rudhfenion, who was laughing maniacally, and destroyed him. The staff felt into Cassiel's waiting hands and she quickly dispersed of the clouds and lightning.

She floated to the ground and stood next to Eli and Sirithir, who was still thanking Eli for taking the spell off of him. Morsul came over and nudged his master and she rubbed his noise. She mounted her horse and they made their way back to the borders of the Grey Woods. As they left the Wastelands, they area became beautiful once again. Flowers grew as birds sang and there was peace on Nimrodel.

Iarborion was delighted to see his son once again. Cassiel was given a hero's welcome hen she entered the woods and an even bigger welcome when she arrived back in Imladris. She kept her promise to see Eldorel, Emdorel and Amorel and their homes. The people accepted the fact that their princess was an elf. Her mother retired and Cassiel was coronation the same day she married Sirithir. The two reigned for seven decades and they parented three children. Two sons and a daughter. Their daughter Irulan married Eli and their sons Remdir and Lemdomer married she-elves from the Limlight and Firwood Forests ...and as for the StarStaff, it was kept under lock and key for quite a long time.

The End

Luineraugwen: Actually, I just realized that there was more Tolkien names and places in here than I remember. I hope you enjoyed this story. Please R&R so I know what you think of it.