A Heart Made Of Arkenstone [LOTR]

My first fan-fic ever! Normally I hate and despise it, but I cannot resist my favorite series ever. I'll do my best to keep the original characters the way they should be, and not go all fangirl on your arses. Without further ado, my story!

Chapter 1

First Day

"It shone like silver in the firelight, like water in the sun, like snow under the stars, like rain upon the moon..." Gandalf quoted Bilbo Baggin's story to me, with a smile on his face. "Now young lady, what say you to that?" As he shut the book. He was just like a grandfather to me.

"I'd like to see it one day." I replied with a sigh.

"Yes, yes the Arkenstone was something to behold. As were many things during that age." He raised his old pipe to his lips and took a long drag. He let me smoke at home, but not in formal company. It's unbecoming for a young lady. A perfect smoke ring escaped his lips and floated slowly away. The orange sunset cast a brilliant glow on the valley where I lived.

"So, I suppose it's about time to head inside." Gandalf said.

"I suppose so. The mosquitoes are starting to come out already." I stood up and handed the old man his white staff. I walked inside and held the old wooden door open for Gandalf. He walked inside and shed his cloak, then took a seat by the fireplace. "Do you suppose you'll ever go on an adventure quite like that again?" I asked as I sat down next to him.

He sat silent and motionless for a moment, and before taking another puff from his pipe he said "An adventure, maybe someday. But each adventure is it's own, and i'm sure i'll never encounter any quite the same as that one again."

I let out a sigh. It was really an odd thing that I'd never went on an adventure. Though I guess I grew up having lots of them where I lived with my father, Tom, and my mother, Goldberry. They lived in a valley close to the Withywindle river. Sometimes we'd follow it all the way to Old Man Willow, who loved my father's lullabies. I watched the fire as it crackled and spit small wisps of ash into the chimney.

"Aralyn, how old are you this year?" Gandalf asked me.

"Twenty, you know that!" I smiled at him.

"Oh yes, I suppose I do know that... But how long have you lived in this valley?" He looked at me with a knowing look.

"Three years, this summer." I poked the fire with a stick.

"For someone as young as you, my dear, I think there's still plenty of time for an adventure." His eyes gleamed.

I smiled at him, "I suppose that's very true, Gandalf. Especially with a wizard like you hanging around!"

He started to laugh, "It's only for the week. But who knows what could happen before I leave, maybe we'll discover something new and exciting."

Soon he and I decided it was time for bed. We doused the fire, and I fixed Gandalf a bed in the guest room of my cottage. Though I hadn't felt at all tired, Gandalf proved again that he knew best, because I drifted into my dreams almost as soon as my head hit the pillow and my blankets were covering me.

My dreams that night were like none I'd ever known. I felt as though I were floating high above the land, looking down upon it like a bird. Like and eagle. Then I realized I was an eagle! I dipped and soared, over the forest and all over. It was amazing. It felt so real, so incredible. I kept going along like this until I saw black smoke, rising from far away. I went closer, but it seemed to get further. No matter what I did I stayed the same distance away. Then I heard the sound of dishes being moved around, and my eyes fluttered open.

I sat up wearily, and rubbed my eyes. I felt rested yet my eyelids were as heavy as could be. I looked around my little room carefully; at my writing desk, past my sagging bookshelves, over my truck and dresser, and finally to my robe on the floor. I stood and swiped it up, wrapping the soft thing around myself happily. I made my way to the door and as I opened it I smelled warm bread and bacon in the air. The sun streamed in through the windows and laid happily on the table where Gandalf had set plates and silverware. I walked into my slippers and went to the kitchen to find him happily humming and cooking. "Lovely morning outside, isn't it?" He said gingerly.

"It's beautiful, not a cloud in the sky!" I replied. I rubbed my eyes again, still not fully alert. Gandalf handed me a plate of eggs and I took them to the table, while he carried the bacon and bread. We sat down to make our plates, when the teapot began to squeal. "I'll get it!" I said, and grabbed it off the fire. I walked in and poured some into the cups.

The birds chirped happily outside while we ate, the curtains floated gently on the incoming breeze. After we'd finished, Gandalf and I went to my room to have a look at some of the old maps my father had given me before I moved out. "Hmm..." Gandalf said, stroking his beard, "Most of these aren't properly made it seems. They don't even look like any place on a map I've ever seen in my lifetime." Flipping over the three maps over and again, he leaned back and sighed.

"I don't think my father would give me a bunch of made up maps, though. What would be the purpose in it?" I wondered aloud.

"I don't truly think they're made up, I'm just wondering why there's no names, guides, or even landmarks on them. Nor what Tom had in mind when he gave them to you. His methods are beyond even me." He scratched his forehead, "I think I'd like to have my pipe to help me think." He stated.

I chuckled, "Ha, you mean you'd like to feed your habit! I'm no good with maps, but I should like to join you, anyhow. Let's adjourn to the porch." No sooner had we stood up, when a slightly frantic knock rattled my front door.

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