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An Unexpected Adventure  by KathyG

Summary: 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 AU, and blends Lord of the Rings book-verse and movie-verse.  This story also contains a lot of spiritual and religious content as a part of the AU elements.  (Co-written by KathyG and Dreamflower.)

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 Rings belongs to New Line Cinema and to Peter Jackson. This story is not for profit, but is a gift for the enjoyment of those who read it.

Citations: In most chapters, there will be some quotations directly from both the books and/or the movies. Quotations from the 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: To our beta, Linda Hoyland, who has been of great help with this story.  Linda is a well-known and respected writer in the LotR fandom, who also posts on this site.

Chapter 6: Immortals

Song had followed song, and Kaylee had eventually slipped into dreams, blissfully unaware when her big brother picked her up and carried her to bed, followed by her sister leading a sleepy Joey by one hand and carrying a sleepy puppy with the other.  Suddenly, her eyes popped open. To her surprise, she was lying on a bed—one of the beds in the guest room that Lady Arwen had assigned to her and Joey.  Mairen was pulling her dress upward, and Jennifer was standing close by. Yawning, Kaylee raised her arms so that the Elf-nanny would be able to pull her dress over her head.  Moments later, Mairen had helped Kaylee to put on the snow-white nightgown that Arwen had given her.

Kissing her on the forehead, Mairen stepped back and removed the robe off the foot of the bed.  The little girl slid off the bed and wandered into Jennifer's guest bedroom to rummage through her older sister's backpack, looking for a book.

Yawning again, Kaylee dug L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz out of Jennifer's backpack, returned to her and Joey's guest bedroom, and brought it to her big sister.  As she approached the bed, she noticed that Lucy was curled up, asleep, in a little dog bed on the floor against the wall.  "Would you read to me?" Kaylee held up the book in front of her big sister.

Jennifer smiled. "Please."

"'Please,'" Kaylee echoed. "Please, Jennifer? Read to me? Pretty please?"

Jennifer chuckled. For the past three nights, she had been reading the children's fantasy novel to Kaylee every night at bedtime, and so she had brought it along to continue to read to her little sister while they were on their camping trip. She had packed it in her own backpack, along with several picture books that she also intended to read to Kaylee during their trip, before they had left for Wallowa Lake State Park. "Sure. Come on, we'll snuggle up together on the bed."

Kaylee crawled under the bedcovers, a rag doll that Lady Arwen had given her earlier that day in the crook of her arm, and Jennifer lay on top of the covers next to her. As the candlelight flickered next to the bed, she read aloud to her little sister Chapter 4: "The Road Through the Forest." Jennifer was forced to squint as she read the chapter to Kaylee because the candlelight was so dim. Kaylee listened intently as she looked at the illustrations, rubbing her eyes now and then and yawning periodically while she listened, obviously determined to stay awake during the chapter.

When Jennifer had finished Chapter 4, Kaylee laid her head on Jennifer's arm while suppressing a yawn. "Please, can we watch the movie tomorrow? We didn't get to watch one today."

"No, we didn't have time to today," Jennifer said. She removed her arm from under Kaylee's head and gazed down at her little sister. "But I don't know that we really need to watch The Wizard of Oz at this time, Kaylee. You know, as Kevin said earlier, we're having a very similar adventure to the one Dorothy had." Also, Jennifer thought, we need to save the batteries.

Kaylee smiled broadly. "Are we over the rainbow?"

Jennifer laughed. "Kaylee, we're not even under the rainbow! But we are in a very different land that we never expected to be in, just as Dorothy was. In fact, just as Kevin said earlier, we're in a fairy-tale kind of country, same as Dorothy was; we're living a fantasy story. And you know, we're much better off than she was, because we're all in this together, you and me and Kevin and Joey—and Lucy. Poor Dorothy had only her dog, Toto, for company."

Kaylee nodded. "Yeah." She grimaced. "I wish Mommy and Daddy was here," she said wistfully.

"'Were' here, Kaylee," Jennifer corrected her. She wrapped her arm around Kaylee's shoulders and hugged her to her side. "I wish they were, too, Kaylee. We all do. And I wish that Megan and Uncle Ryan and Aunt Janet were also here." She paused. "But you know, Dorothy didn't get to have her aunt and uncle with her, either. Not on that first trip to Oz, anyway. As I just said, we're living a fantasy story, and in fantasy stories, kids who go to other worlds don't get to have their parents with them. Not while they're in that other world."

"And now, Miss Kaylee, it is time for bed," Mairen told the child.

"Yes, Kaylee, it's time for prayers and lights out," Jennifer said, removing her arm from around Kaylee's back and glancing at her watch. Then she peered through the door to the opening to Kevin's guest bedroom, where Joey had been getting ready for bed. "It'll soon be time for Joey to be joining you." She smiled mischievously. "Don't think I haven't noticed you yawning and trying to keep your eyes open ever since you woke up in your bed earlier, Kaylee McCloud!" Kaylee giggled.

After Kaylee had knelt against the bed to say her bedtime prayers, Jennifer tucked her under the covers. Before she had a chance to do anything more, though, Kaylee screwed up her face in an evident effort to refrain from crying, and tears welled up in her eyes. "What's the matter, Kaylee?" Jennifer asked softly.

"I want my mommy," Kaylee whimpered, choking back sobs. "I want my daddy."

Biting her lower lip, Jennifer hugged her little sister to her side. Their mother was usually the one to read to Kaylee and put her to bed, although Jennifer sometimes did it in her stead. "We all do, Kaylee," she said softly. "You're not the only one. I know it's lonely without our mom and daddy, but we won't be here forever." She kissed Kaylee on the forehead and began to sing to her softly as their mother usually did.

"Jesus loves me, this I know.

For the Bible tells me so.

Little ones to Him belong.

They are weak, but He is strong.

"Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

The Bible tells me so."*

As Kaylee's eyes slid closed, Jennifer began to sing another song.

"Hush, little baby, don't say a word.

Daddy's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

When that mockingbird won't sing,

Daddy's gonna buy you a diamond ring…"*

By the time that Jennifer had finished singing that nursery rhyme to Kaylee, the little girl's breathing had evened out, and the expression on her face had smoothed. Rising to her feet, Jennifer straightened the covers over her sister and gently kissed her forehead again, careful not to wake her. "I will take good care of your little sister, Lady Jennifer," Mairen whispered.

Jennifer smiled her gratitude. "Thanks," she whispered, and then headed toward the bedroom door as a yawning Joey entered, followed by Kevin. It was his turn to go to bed now.

"I'll join you when Joey's asleep," Kevin whispered.

Turning around, Jennifer nodded. "Let me know, I'll be in my room," she whispered back.

"We can talk in my room," he answered. "That way, we won't wake them up."

-oo000oo-

"Kaylee and Joey are both asleep now, aren't they?" Jennifer asked Kevin in a low voice, after they had retreated to Kevin's room.

"Yes." Kevin nodded. "And I'm glad. It's real hard on Kaylee, not having our mom and dad around."

"It sure is. She was all right while I was reading to her, but she was close to tears when it was time for her to go to sleep. It is hard on her, real hard, being separated from our mom and dad like this. To be honest, it's real hard on all of us." Jennifer made a face. "And not just because we're separated from Mom and Daddy, either, although I do miss them terribly." She sighed. "I miss having electricity, Kevin. I really do. I miss all the tech and the Internet and stuff."

"I know. I do, too." Kevin grimaced. "We can't do most of the things we usually entertain ourselves with. For one thing, we should keep our using our devices to a minimum to save the batteries."

"Well, we've got replacement batteries and battery chargers in our backpacks, don't forget."

"True, but even with spares, we can't expect our players and flashlights and other stuff to hold out as long as we're here. We don't know how long we're gonna be here, don't forget. And even though most of our batteries are rechargeable, there are no plug-ins here to plug the battery chargers into. We're gonna have to save our batteries as much as possible." Jennifer grimaced; her brother was right.

"I guess we'll have to just make do with entertaining ourselves like the Elves do. The Hall of Fire was really interesting; it was like being at a live concert, sort of," she said.

"Did you kind of get the gist of the songs even though they were in another language?" Kevin asked her.

"Yes. But I was glad that Mr. Baggins translated that one song, the one that was so pretty, about a mountain and two trees…" She could not get that image out of her mind.

Jennifer leaned back against the chair next to Kevin's bed, her arms folded across her chest. "One thing I didn't understand," she said, after a moment. "I wonder what was so special about those trees. I just don't get it! What's so special about a tree, anyway? I mean, a tree's a tree." She shook her head.

Kevin bit his lower lip. "You've got me. And in the song, those trees gave off light." He snorted. "Trees can't give light! Only the sun can do that."

Jennifer nodded agreement. "That's right! Well, that and light bulbs. Only light bulbs haven't been invented here yet."

"No, they haven't. And anyway, they can't give out light the way the sun can. I would think that it was just, you know, a pretty metaphor or something, except that Mr. Baggins said most Elf songs are from their real history." Kevin shook his head. "There's so much about Middle-earth I just don't understand. We could ask someone, and maybe they would tell us more—maybe Master Elrond or Lady Arwen?"

Jennifer nodded. "Yeah, I'm sure they would. But would we understand it any better if they did?"

Kevin shrugged. "Only one way to find out."

Jennifer shrugged. "True."

Kevin continued, "I really wish we could get on the Internet, you know. Since Tolkien made up this place, there's sure to be a lot of Web sites about it on the Internet. And it might explain some of the stuff we don't understand. I wish we could just Google 'Two Trees'!"

"I know. If we were back home, we could. I would like to look them up. There's sure to be lots of books written about it, too." Jennifer paused. "When we get back home, I'm going to read that book Nicole recommended to me. Both books, in fact; Nicole has them both, so I'm sure she'll lend both of them to me. She already wants to loan me The Hobbit, as you know; I'm sure she'll also loan me The Lord of the Rings if I ask her. And I'm gonna see if Tolkien wrote any other books. I might want to read them, if he did." As Kevin nodded agreement, Jennifer folded her arms across her chest and scanned Kevin's guest room. "I want to look this place up on the Web, too, Kevin. I also want to text Nicole and let her know what's happening." She grimaced. "More than that, I want to text Mom and Daddy!"

Kevin smothered a chuckle. "Nicole'll never believe you, you know, if you ever do tell her what's happened to us."

Jennifer grinned. "No, I guess not." She shook her head. "I'm not sure Mom and Daddy will, either, or our aunt and uncle, not when we do finally have a chance to tell them. They're gonna want to know what's happened to us, you know, Kevin." She bit her lower lip. "How do we explain?"

"I don't know." Kevin sighed. "Right now, though, let's just worry about getting back to them. We can worry about how to explain things to them when we do get back. We can always show them the pictures and videos we're gonna take while we're here. That'll be our proof." Jennifer nodded agreement. Kevin added, "You know, Jen, somehow, we're gonna have to do without the electronic gadgets and stuff, just like Kaylee's going to have to manage without Mom and Dad. It's not like we have a choice, you know." He bit his lower lip and grimaced. He knew what they had to do, but he didn't like it, and neither did Jennifer.

"No, we don't," Jennifer agreed, scowling. "I hate that part." She shrugged. "Oh, well, at least we're together, and the people here are nice." She paused, furrowing her eyebrows, as a thought came to her. "I don't want to lose my baton skills, Kevin, so I'm going to have to find something to practice with while we're here. A tree branch, maybe. What about you? How are you going to keep up your basketball skills?"

"Good question." Kevin grimaced. "Unless I can find a hoop to nail to a tree or a wall outside, and a suitable ball to practice with—one that can bounce—I don't see any way to. And I don't see any way for Joey to practice his baseball skills here, either. So far, we haven't found any other kids here, so he's got no one to play baseball with."

Jennifer shook her head. "It's not just Mom and Daddy and Aunt Janet and Uncle Ryan we're gonna have to explain things to, then, is it?" she asked. Kevin made a face. "Guess we'll have to ask God to help us keep our skills, then, so we won't have to start learning them all over again when we get back home. There's absolutely no way our coaches or my baton corps leader and director are going to believe us, if we tell them we went to a fantasy-land while we were on our camping trip."

"No kidding," Kevin muttered, staring down at the floor, a troubled expression on his face.

Jennifer sighed. She, Joey, and Kevin had always loved to take part in P.E. and afterschool sports. Kevin had played basketball for the past several years, and he was a member of the high-school basketball team. Joey had been pitching for his baseball team in the minor league division of Little League baseball for the past two years; soon after his ninth birthday, he had been promoted to the major league division. Jennifer was the assistant director of the city's Optimist Youth Band Baton Corps, and she loved to take part in intramural sports at school. To let their sports skills become rusty because of an extended stay in Middle-earth, wherever that was, was simply unthinkable.

Jennifer sighed. She knew that God was with them, but how could He let them get stuck in another world? Why had He let this happen to them? Why would He send them to another world, one that apparently wasn't even in their universe? Surely, if there was a mission or ministry the Lord had in mind for them, as they had guessed earlier that day, they could perform it just as easily in their own world.

Please, God, she prayed silently, help us through this, and give us strength. If You have called us here for some kind of mission, please tell us what it is and help us to do it, so we can get back home. Help Kevin and me to be strong for Joey and Kaylee. And please help our parents and our aunt and uncle not to worry. In Jesus' name, amen. She sighed. I wish Mom and Dad were here, God, so they could pray. We need them!

There was a light tap on Kevin's door. Thinking perhaps it was Joey or Kaylee awake and needing something, Jennifer said, "Come in!"

But when the door opened, it was not either of the younger children, but Gandalf the Wizard. "I wondered if I might have a word with you?"

Kevin looked as surprised as Jennifer felt, but he politely said, "Uh, yes, sir. Come in."

Gandalf came in, and took the chair that sat by Kevin's bed. "I have overheard you children speaking together of God, who is in this world and time, too, and goes by the name of Eru Ilúvatar."

Jennifer felt a shiver run down her spine—not fear exactly, but a feeling of awe. She felt she was about to hear something amazing. She glanced at Kevin, whose eyes were narrowed.

"Is there some reason we shouldn't speak about our faith?" he asked, his tone a little angry.

Jennifer put her hand on his arm to calm him down.

Gandalf smiled. "It warms my heart to hear you speak so of our Creator, and yet there are some things that should remain hidden. Long, long ago, I was once privileged to be with Him when He sang our world into being. Seldom do I recall that time, before I was sent from the West to bring aid and a message of hope to the people of Middle-earth."

Exchanging stunned glances, Kevin and Jennifer gaped at Gandalf. "Are—are you an angel?" Jennifer gasped.

"An angel?" Gandalf stared at her in evident puzzlement.

"Well, yeah! You know—a messenger from God. He sends angels to give messages to people and protect people and stuff. The Bible speaks of them—it's the Word of God. The angels live in Heaven with God," Jennifer explained, and Kevin nodded agreement. He picked up his teen study Bible and held it up for Gandalf for a brief moment, and then set it back on the table. Jennifer added, "I have one, too. It's in my room."

Gandalf looked briefly thoughtful. "I suspect that you may be right, in a way. And yet I had to give up much of my power to come here. So now I am an Istar, a wizard. But if all goes well and I can fulfill my purpose in being here, I will once more serve as a Maiar, what you have named an angel. But in this form, I do not have all the abilities, or indeed all the memories, I had in Aman. The veil over my memories is lifted if there is something I need to know in order to accomplish my mission, as was revealed to me tonight when I overheard you speaking." He paused, looking from Jennifer to Kevin.

"The times your book speaks of are far distant from now, in the far distant future, and are not ready to be revealed to mortals, or to Elves." He stood up. "I know that I have given you much to think upon, but I trust the One to whom we look to guide you well in what you can and cannot reveal. I will leave you now to get some rest. You have had a very busy day." With that, he gave a nod and quietly left the room, closing the door behind him.

Jennifer and Kevin exchanged astonished glances. "Gandalf's an angel!" Jennifer said. "An angel sent by God!"

"Yeah!" Kevin shook his head, awe-stricken. "I can't believe it! But I'm so glad there's an angel here."

"Yeah! Me, too." Jennifer nodded, smiling broadly. "I don't know how much he'll be able to do, though. The way he talked, he left behind a lot of his angelic powers when he left Heaven to come here."

Kevin bit his lower lip. "True. God put him in a human body when He sent him here." He furrowed his eyebrows in intense puzzlement. "You know, Jen, I thought we were in another world. But the way Gandalf talked, it sounds as if we're in another time in our world. A far-off distant time, way in the past."

"That can't be!" Jennifer shook her head vigorously. "If there is such a time—or was—why doesn't the Bible mention it? Or our history books?"

Kevin shrugged. "You got me."

A yawn caught Jennifer off guard. It was bedtime—in fact, it was past time for her and Kevin to be going to bed. "Guess we'll have to talk about this tomorrow. I'm sleepy." She yawned again. "Good night, Kevin," she said.

"Good night." Stifling a yawn, Kevin turned toward his bed. Yawning yet again, Jennifer left his room to enter her own bedroom and approached her guest bed, where the nightgown and robe that Eledhwen had given her lay folded at its foot. She saw no use in putting on the robe now; as soon as she had her nightgown on, she was going to bed. She was too tired to read that night; the novels that she had brought with her would have to wait until the next day, when she had time to read. She would also have to make time to read her Bible the next day.

Mustn't forget to say my prayers first, though, she thought, as she pulled her dress up over her head. She smiled broadly. Thank You, God, for sending us an angel!

-oo000oo-

*A/N: "Jesus Loves Me" and "Hush, Little Baby" are both in the public domain.

Can you guess the origin of the title of this chapter? HINT: It follows the pattern of previous titles...





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