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(Co-written by KathyG and Dreamflower.) In the spring of 2012, four American children find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar fantasy world and part of an unexpected adventure. This story is
Disclaimer: The world of Middle-earth and all its peoples belong to the estate of J.R.R. Tolkien; the three films of The Lord of the
Citations: In most chapters, there will be some quotations directly from both the books and/or the movies. Quotations from Tolkien's books are in italics, and quotations from the movies are underlined. Occasional quotations from other sources as well as silent dialogue, words spoken in emphasis, and passages from the Bible will also be in italics, and those citations will be footnoted at the end of each chapter in which they occur. We will also footnote research sources and credit the ideas of other people.
Thanks: We would also like to acknowledge the invaluable help of our beta,
Chapter 3: Make Me Look Good
After elevenses, Arwen escorted the children back to their quarters, where they found Eledhwen laying out some clothing on Joey and Kaylee’s beds.
"Whatcha doing?" squealed Kaylee in delight, rushing over to the bed they had given to her. "This is so beautiful!" She ran her hand over the dress’s soft, smooth fabric of pale pink, embroidered with patterns of red roses. The dress was longer than any she had at home, and the sleeves were wide and bell-shaped. A pair of medieval-looking shoes, a pair of hand-knit stockings, a shift, and a snow-white nightgown and a robe lay near the foot of her guest bed.
Eledhwen smiled. "I am laying out your evening clothing, Miss Kaylee. You would not wish to go to the evening feast in the clothing you have worn all day." She glanced at Jennifer, Joey, and Kevin in turn. “I have also laid out your sleeping garments.”
"Oh!" said Jennifer. It had not occurred to her they would need to dress up for dinner! They would, however, need pajamas when it was bedtime, of course, or whatever people slept in here.
“What’s that?” Kaylee touched the shift.
Jennifer looked at it. “That’s a shift,” she said. “That’s something girls used to wear under their dresses back in the old days. It’s like the slips we girls wear under our dresses in our day and age, in our world.”
She glanced through the door to the other small room to see on her own bed a lovely dress of rich blue, in a very similar style, though it had silver embroidery around the neckline and hem. Instead of buttons or a zipper, the dress had laces for fasteners; Jennifer wondered if she would even be able to manage them. A pair of hand-knit stockings, a pair of medieval-looking shoes, and a shift
On Joey's bed was an Elvish-style tunic of deep brown, some
As Joey stared at the weird-looking dress, Jennifer laughed. “That’s a nightshirt, Joey,” she told him. “Boys and men used to wear those to bed back in the old days. Pajamas weren’t invented till later.
Kevin, who had gone with his siblings to Joey and Kaylee’s room, turned around and crossed the hall to his own guest room. There, he found on his own bed a set of clothing similar to Joey's, only in a soft grey, as well as a similar nightshirt and robe. He returned to join the others in the younger children’s bedroom.
Arwen spoke to them. "A bell will ring about an hour before we dine; that will give you all the time you need to bathe and to change into your evening clothing before the meal. Another bell will ring when it is time to
"Lady Arwen?" Jennifer asked diffidently. "Where did all these clothes come from?"
The Elven lady smiled. "We always keep on hand a supply of clothing for our guests." She did not mention that both of the dresses and both nightgowns for the girls, as well as the other items, had once been her own, that Joey's clothing had once belonged to Estel, or that Kevin's had once been Elladan's. “You will have other clothes to wear during the day, starting tomorrow. The clothes you arrived here
“True.” Jennifer grimaced. “We left our other clothes back at the campsite, so we’ve got no way to change them. I don’t suppose you’ve got a washer and dryer here, Lady Arwen.”
Arwen furrowed her brows in puzzlement.
“Washer—uh, washing machine. It’s a machine that washes clothes,” Jennifer explained. “And a dryer’s a machine that dries them.”
“Oh.” Arwen nodded. “No, we do not, Lady Jennifer, but we do have Elves whose job it is to wash the clothes of our guests. They will wash yours tomorrow.”
“Oh, OK. Thanks.” Jennifer shrugged. Entering her guest bedroom, she ran her hand over the clothes that had laid out for her. “Uh, Lady Arwen, I don’t see a bra,” she called.
“A what?” Arwen furrowed her brows in puzzlement as she joined Jennifer in her room.
“Oh.” Arwen nodded. “When your gowns are properly laced up, you will need no such garment, Lady Jennifer.” Jennifer nodded.
After Arwen had left her guests to take their nap and Eledhwen had stepped out for a few moments, the children gathered in Joey and Kaylee’s room. As the two younger children sat cross-legged on Joey’s bed, Kevin and Jennifer perched in chairs facing them. For a moment, no one spoke.
“Well, what do you think?” Kevin asked.
Jennifer smiled wryly. “Have you noticed there’s no light bulbs or plug-ins or plumbing here?” The others nodded. “‘No phones, no lights, no motorcars,’” she quoted from the old “Gilligan’s Island” closing theme song. “‘Not a single luxury.”’
Joey nodded. “Like ‘Gilligan’s Island’, kind of.”
“But without the coconuts,” Jennifer added.
Kaylee made a face. “I’m glad. I hate coconuts!” The others laughed.
“Well, we’re a long way from the tropics, so we don’t have to worry about those,” Jennifer told her.
Kevin nodded agreement, and then looked out the window. “All right, you two, we need to take a nap,” he ordered Kaylee and Joey. “So you go to your bed, Kaylee, and both of you lie down. Eledhwen will soon be back.” Protesting, the two younger children did as they were told; a moment later, Eledhwen returned to the bedroom.
“I will look after your little brother and sister,” she told Kevin and Jennifer. “You go to your rooms now, and lie down.”
Nodding, the two of them rose to their feet. “Go to sleep now,” Jennifer told Joey and Kaylee. “We’ll be back when naptime’s over.”
After making certain that the children were settled in their guest rooms and getting some much-needed rest, Arwen took herself to her father's study and tapped on the door.
"Good afternoon, Ada," she said, "and to you as well, Mithrandir." She gave the old wizard a nod. She took a seat between her father and the wizard, as they sat around Elrond's desk.
"Are the children settled in?" her father asked.
"As much as can be expected, in the circumstances. I left Eledhwen to sit with the younger ones, though of
Elrond sat forward, and Mithrandir's expression became very alert. "What sort of odd things?" asked the wizard.
"It seems that there are stories of hobbits in their far-off home. They have heard of Bilbo's long-ago adventure. But even more disturbing, they seem to have heard of the Ring, and of the coming journey of the Nine Walkers. They also spoke of Gollum and of the Ringwraiths, though not by name."
Both Elf and Wizard jerked up in astonishment. "What?" they both exclaimed. Arwen nodded.
"Sadly, the children are only a little familiar with these tales; they do not even know the names of the creatures they described. Lady Jennifer described the tales as make-believe stories where the children come from, and she said that a man in their world named Jai-ar-ar Tolkien wrote them. She said that he invented these
"Still," said Elrond, "we shall keep this in mind when we speak to them. Perhaps we can get them to remember a little more."
Mithrandir leaned back and steepled his fingers. "Perhaps. But perhaps it is as well that we do not know more of what tales they have heard. It would not do to have it influence overmuch what is to come."
For the past hour, Kevin had been resting on the bed with his arms behind his head, but he had been unable to sleep. Like their parents, he'd never been one for fantasy books or movies, although he had watched The Wizard of Oz and Disney movies on DVD as a child with Jennifer (and sometimes still did with Joey and Kaylee, as he had done only last night, when the entire family had watched Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs); generally, he preferred science fiction or cop shows, or books about sports or nonfiction. But some of the video games he'd played with some of his friends had fantasy settings, so he was familiar with the idea, at least, of other worlds and
Kevin recalled an old sci-fi show that he and Jennifer had seen reruns of on Netflix, about a group who had slid through a strange portal from world to world, trying to get home. None of the characters in Sliders had ever made it home. The show had been
Kevin hoped that wasn't going to be the case for him, or his brother and sisters. If it was just him and Jen, he wouldn't be nearly so worried (except that he and Jennifer would miss their family and friends, and hated to worry their mom and dad), but Joey was only nine, and Kaylee was practically still a baby—not as much as Megan, of course, but still way too young for a thing like this. What were they going to do? The people they'd fallen in with seemed kind and helpful enough, but how long would they be willing to take care of a bunch of strange children? Would they need to turn them over to some sort of authority, or did they have something like that here? Everything seemed so medieval here—maybe this Lord Elrond was actually an authority.
All he knew was that he was the oldest brother, and that made him responsible for all of them. He would do anything to get them home, but if he couldn't, then he would have to keep them all safe and together. Please, God, he silently begged, help us!
He was not sure how long he had rested, but just as he was starting to go through all the same worries in his head all over again, there was a tap at the door. He sat up.
"Come in," he said.
The door cracked open, and it was the Lady Arwen. "Lord Kevin, my father and Gandalf would like to speak to your family in the study."
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