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Summary: In the spring of 2012, four American children find themselves thrust into an unfamiliar 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.
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 belong 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 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, Linda Hoyland, another well-known and prolific LotR fanwriter, whose many wonderful stories also grace this site.
Beginning Author's Notes: Two items of interest before you read: First of all, we just discovered a missing scene from Chapter 57: Nowhere to Go But Up. That has now been fixed, so if you wish you can re-read the chapter.
Second, in this chapter we will be moving one small event from the book up a few days in the timeline. We felt that for our purposes it would have a little more dramatic impact in this chapter. Thank you for your forbearance!
Chapter 63: Into the Unknown
Gail missed the presence of her little girls that morning when she woke up. But she knew that Lady Galadriel, as well as Mairen and Lassiel, would be taking care of the children. And she had no intention of leaving Steve alone to check on them, much as she wished to do so.
Kaylee and Megan are in good hands, she told herself silently, but she could not stop fretting about her daughters and missing them greatly. She firmly told herself a few moments later, I will not worry about them unless I must. She took a deep breath.
The day felt oppressive. She rose to find that someone had already been there to leave food in the pavilion, but she did not have much of an appetite. There was a teapot, still steaming, and she helped herself to a cup. She glanced into a tureen, and saw there some sort of broth, also steaming. That was likely meant for Steve. She would take him a bowl of that and some of the bread left on the table. There was also some fruit and cheese, but he had not been cleared for any of that by the healer yet. She took her tea and returned to her husband's bedside, but he had yet to stir. She had been told he needed as much sleep as he could get. She sat next to him and sipped her tea, and wondered what Kaylee and Megan were doing.
Kaylee rubbed her eyes and sat up. Where am I? she wondered; then she noticed the leafy shadows around her. She felt kind of funny, like things were a little scary today. I wonder how Daddy is? Then she remembered a little prayer her mommy had recently been teaching them to say in the morning. She closed her eyes and recited in a singsong voice:
"God in Heaven, hear my prayer;
keep me in Thy loving care.
Be my guide in all I do;
Bless all those who love me, too."
Then she added, “And take good care of everyone in our family, especially today, in Jesus' name. Amen."
She opened her eyes and glanced up to see the Lady Galadriel standing there, with a kind of a sad smile on her face. "Good morn, Kaylee. Did you have a nice sleep?"
Kaylee nodded. "Mostly. I had kind of scary dreams just before I woke up, though. But it's all right now that I prayed to Jesus." She smiled back at her hostess. "I never slept in a place like this before." She stretched out her arms to encompass the room.
Now the Lady smiled more, and not so sadly. "I am glad you enjoyed your bed here. This is the bower where my daughter slept for many years, and where Arwen slept when she visited, as well."
Kaylee looked around her. The night before, she had been too sleepy to pay much attention to her surroundings. It was kind of like a little porch, high up in the tree, and it was the shadows of the tree that she had noticed upon first awakening. There was a railing of interwoven branches and ropes to make it safe, and the bed where she and Megan were sleeping had a little canopy of gauzy white curtains, that also blew very slightly in the morning breeze.
Kaylee smiled. “I like treehouses.” Galadriel smiled in her turn.
"Would you waken your sister, Kaylee?” The Lady nodded toward Megan as she spoke. “Mairen will be in to help you both get dressed. There is someone at breakfast that you might be glad to see."
"Yes, ma'am—uh, Lady Galadriel."
The Lady gave a low chuckle and turned to leave, as Kaylee turned over to shake her little sister awake.
Mairen entered, with two of the white dresses that the little girls had been given in Lothlorien, and helped the little girls to wash up and get dressed. Megan was still very sleepy and somewhat cross, but it did not take very long to have her and Kaylee ready. Mairen escorted them into the large room where the children had visited the Lady with their mother, days before. One of the tables was laden with food much the same way as the table in the pavilion often was.
But the girls paid little attention to the table full of food. Instead, they raced across the room with their arms held wide.
"Radagast!" they both squealed in joy.
The Brown Wizard, who had been standing near the hearth speaking with Lord Celeborn, bent down to receive their embrace, and to return it with a warm hug as well. "I am also very glad to see you again, Kaylee and Megan."
He sat down on one of the beautifully carved chairs, and each girl clambered up on his knees, one on each side. Kaylee just quietly leaned against him, swinging her legs, but Megan chattered on at him, telling him bits and pieces of what had happened since he had left before the first of the battles.
After allowing the girls time to catch up with Radagast, Mairen steered them to have their breakfasts across the other side of the room, so that the Lord and Lady would have time to speak with the Wizard.
After breakfast, they all went down from the talan, for it was once more a momentous day.
"Why is it so dark?" Megan asked Mairen. She sounded frightened. Swallowing hard, Kaylee looked from her younger sister to Mairen and bit her lower lip.
"Some bad things are happening far away, little one," the nursemaid answered. "But fear not, for the Lord and Lady will keep us safe here."
The gathering by the fountain was smaller than the one during the third battle. But this time, Celeborn was by his wife's shoulder, and Glorfindel and Radagast stood a little behind them as well.
The rest of the people were scattered around the clearing. The two little girls felt safer near Radagast and the Lady, but they did not get too close, because it was clearly grown-up business. Still, the darker things grew, the closer Megan got, just a half-step at a time.
Kaylee didn't notice. She was too busy trying not to be frightened, and wishing her mommy and daddy were there. If she dared, she might run to them, but she knew that her daddy needed rest. A sudden yearning to stick her thumb in her mouth swept over her; instead, she took a deep breath and wrapped her arm around Mairen's waist, and then buried her face in the nursemaid’s side. Mairen wrapped a comforting arm around the little girl’s shoulder and patted her upper arm.
Like the other day, the Lady stood beside the Mirror, watching it with intense concentration.
Merry stood away from Faramir and Eowyn, so as to give them a little privacy. He smiled slightly to see them clasp their hands, but it was only a brief smile, for the sky was growing darker. They all seemed to be standing frozen in time.
Then presently it seemed to them that above the ridges of the distant mountains another vast mountain of darkness rose, towering up like a wave that should engulf the world, and about it lightnings flickered; and then a tremor ran through the earth, and they felt the walls of the City quiver. A sound like a sigh went up from all the lands about them; and their hearts beat suddenly again.
Merry drew a deep breath. His body felt like he had breathed no air for days; for an instant, he felt lightheaded, and then the dizziness passed, and he felt lighter and freer than he had since he awakened. He took a few steps closer to the couple, and they all gazed Eastward.
Now he could hear what they said, though he did not interrupt them.
“It reminds me of Númenor,” said Faramir.
“Of Númenor?” said Éowyn.
“Yes,” said Faramir, “of the land of Westernesse that foundered and of the great dark wave climbing over the green lands and above the hills, and coming on, darkness unescapable. I often dream of it.”
“Then you think that the Darkness is coming?” said Éowyn. “Darkness Unescapable?” And suddenly she drew close to him.
“No,” said Faramir, looking into her face. “It was but a picture in the mind. I do not know what is happening. The reason of my waking mind tells me that great evil has befallen and we stand at the end of days. But my heart says nay; and all my limbs are light, and a hope and joy are come to me that no reason can deny. Éowyn, Éowyn, White Lady of Rohan, in this hour I do not believe that any darkness will endure!” And he stooped and kissed her brow.
And Merry laughed aloud for joy. It was Frodo; he just knew it! Frodo and Sam had done it! That had to be what it was!
His laughter had drawn the attention of the couple, and both turned and smiled fondly at him, and Faramir kindly extended his arm for Merry to join them. The three of them once again faced East and watched as a wind blew forth from the West and the darkness dissipated and the Light began to return.
Jennifer and Joey, along with the others in the ward stared out the Eastward facing window into the terrifying darkness. Beyond the mountains, lightning danced among the ominous black clouds. Then there was a tremor.
"Is it an earthquake, Jen?" Joey spoke in a terrified whisper.
"I don't know, Joey," she whispered back, as she wrapped her arm around his shoulders.
For a few moments, the darkness mounted up into the sky, and everyone held their breath. But now it began to blow away.
Then everyone in the room turned and began to race out of the door. Healer Seregond made sure they did so in an orderly fashion, as they ran down the corridor and then the steps and then out of the building and into the streets.
They were joined by many other people, as the Shadow departed, and the Sun was unveiled, and light leaped forth; and the waters of Anduin shone like silver, and in all the City men sang for the joy that welled up in their hearts from what source they could not tell.
"Look!" shouted Joey, pointing his finger up to the top of the Citadel, where they spotted Faramir and Eowyn, and a great wind rose and blew, and their hair, raven and golden, streamed out mingling in the air. Everyone else began to follow their gaze, and other fingers pointed until it seemed like the entire City was watching as the Prince of the City and the White Lady of Gondor shared a kiss with the entire population of Minas Tirith looking on.
There was a great cheer! And hats were thrown into the air, and people began to sing, and the bells of the City began to ring out the midday.
And before the Sun had fallen far from the noon out of the East there came a great Eagle flying, and he bore tidings beyond hope from the Lords of the West, crying:
"Sing now, ye people of the Tower of Anor,
for the Realm of Sauron is ended for ever,
and the Dark Tower is thrown down.
“Sing and rejoice, ye people of the Tower of Guard,
for your watch hath not been in vain,
and the Black Gate is broken,
and your King hath passed through,
and he is victorious.
“Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.
“And the Tree that was withered shall be renewed,
and he shall plant it in the high places,
and the City shall be blessed.
“Sing all ye people!"
And the people sang in all the ways of the City.
On the battlefield of the Morannon, Legolas and Gimli searched grimly among the wounded and the dead for any that they knew, while the mounted warriors from Rohan and Dol Amroth chased away most of the remaining enemies. The Orcs and trolls had turned and fled like ants from a destroyed anthill when Barad Dûr had fallen. But the few Southrons and other men retreated in a more orderly fashion, turning to fight in what became a running battle.
"Have you seen any sign of Kevin or Pippin?" Legolas asked another group of searchers, but they simply shook their heads and went back to their grim task.
"We should never have let those two lads out of our sight!" Gimli growled in frustration.
"Let us keep searching. Elladan told me they would likely be near the Guardsmen of Minas Tirith."
The two friends searched beneath the broiling sun, becoming more and more dismayed. Gimli stopped to take a drink of water from his waterskin, when he heard Legolas give a shout.
"There!" he cried. "There are some Guardsmen!"
The two raced over to see three Guardsmen. One seemed to be slightly injured and was sitting to one side, while two others were trying in vain to shift an immense Troll.
"Look," said Gimli. "There!"
Beneath the Troll's vast and hairy midsection, two legs could be seen sticking out; one of them was small and ending in a large hairy foot. The other foot was larger, and it was covered by a boot.
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