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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 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 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.
Dedication: We would like to dedicate this chapter to our friend Kimbra, known as Frodo Baggins of Bag End on FFN, andalso known as febobe, who passed beyond the circles of the world this past week, due to complications of surgery for a broken leg. She was one of the bright spots of hobbit fanfiction and will be sorely missed.
Chapter 65: Live to Rise
Legolas raced along towards the area where the healers had set up their temporary camp. He could feel the fluttering of Pippin's fëa, faint and faltering. He hoped that he would find Aragorn here, or perhaps Elladan or Elrohir.
"Legolas!" It was Aragorn himself, and both his brothers were with him. "What burden do you carry?" Aragorn's voice was filled with dread.
"It is Pippin.” Legolas glanced down at the injured hobbit in his arms and gave Aragorn a sorrowful look. “He yet clings to life, but he is very hurt."
Aragorn and both his brothers raced to Legolas's side. Aragorn gently relieved the Elf of his burden. He held the hobbit close, placing his ear to Pippin's chest, as he carried him to the place where temporary pallets had been placed for the use of the injured. Legolas realized that not many of the wounded had been recovered yet—the battle had not been ended but for a short time.
They placed Pippin on one of the blankets and called for water. "He is drenched in black blood, but I see very little red blood upon him," said Elladan. "Look, some of the black blood is upon his lips; turn him to the side. How did this happen?"
"Pippin slew a troll. Kevin was with him, and also hurt, yet not so badly. It was Kevin who sheltered Pippin's body from most of the troll. Gimli is with Kevin and some other wounded warriors. Gimli sent one who was not so badly hurt to fetch help for Kevin and the others."
Elrohir, who had been bent over Pippin along with his brothers, stood. "I will go and find them." He stood and loped off in the direction from which Legolas had come.
Aragorn was rubbing Pippin's back gently as Elladan examined him. Pippin began to retch weakly, bringing up more of the black blood. "He seems to have been deprived of air for some time," Aragorn said.
"He also swallowed a lot of that vile blood. Can you help him bring up more?" asked Elladan.
Aragorn shook his head. "Only carefully. I dare not pound him; he has a broken rib, perhaps two, and he seems to be concussed—there is red blood on the back of his head, and some swelling." All the time he spoke, he was still gently rubbing the hobbit's back, and the trickle of troll blood increased.
Water had been brought by one of the healer's helpers now, and Elladan wrung out a cloth and began carefully washing Pippin's face. Then he began to run his fingers over him gently, feeling for other injuries. "His sword hand is broken. But I do not seem to feel any other breaks besides the ribs. He is significantly bruised," Elladan continued as he gently began to check as much as he could of the hobbit's body without pulling off Pippin's clothing.
Legolas had been listening, but staying back out of the way. He glanced up. "The Eagles are returning! Gandalf is with them." He stared more intently. "And they bear with them Frodo and Sam!"
There was the loud thrum of wings, and with a swirl of the dusty ground. Aragorn and Elladan slowly stood, yet remaining beside Pippin, but Legolas ran over to them, along with another of the healers' helpers. Gandalf was on the ground, relieving the Eagles of their unconscious burdens. He handed Sam to Legolas, and gently took Frodo in his own arms. They walked back to where Aragorn and Elladan awaited them, and the two were also placed on pallets next to Pippin.
Legolas wept as he looked down on Frodo and Sam. They were clad in rags; Frodo was nearly naked, although the Lothlorien cloak tied around him was in good repair; they were filthy with dirt and ash; they were as thin as rails; both were covered with cuts and bruises and welts and burns, and their lips were cracked and dry. And…Frodo's hand was covered in blood, and he was missing a finger. And yet there was hope, for he and Sam still lived.
Gimli stood. There were eight warriors running towards them. The one in the lead appeared to have one arm in a makeshift sling, but the others had blankets tied to spears made into two makeshift stretchers. Gimli recognized the one with the injured arm as one of the sons of Imrahil. Not the oldest, the one in the middle. Now what was that name?
The young man stopped before the Dwarf. "Lord Gimli?" At Gimli's nod, he placed his fist on his breast and gave a brief bow. "I am Erchirion, son of Imrahil of Dol Amroth."
Gimli gave him a brief bow in return. "Gimli, son of Gloin, at your service, lad. But I am no Lord; just call me Gimli."
The niceties observed, Erchirion and his men were swift in placing Kevin and Artemir in the makeshift stretchers, and one of the men offered Beregond an arm to lean on. They would of necessity be traveling quite slowly.
Gimli walked with Erchirion. "My father and brothers are with Lord Boromir, the Swan Knights and the Rohirrim, pursuing the remnants of the enemy. But I received a blow upon my arm. It is not broken, but at the moment it seems useless. Father sent me back and said to make myself useful. I thought helping with the wounded fit that description."
"Glad we are to have your help. 'Tis a far piece on foot, and with two of them unconscious, we scarce could have moved them." Then Gimli looked above. "Do my eyes deceive me, or do I see Eagles?"
Megan hugged Galadriel, and then she and Kaylee exchanged happy smiles as the three-year-old darted back toward her older sister. Memories of The Wizard of Oz suddenly sprang into Kaylee’s mind. The witch is dead! Kaylee thought. The wicked witch is dead! She started singing loudly:
“‘Ding, dong, the witch is dead!
“‘Which old witch? The wicked witch.
Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead.
Wake up, you sleepyheads; rub your eyes, get out of bed.
Wake up, the wicked witch is dead!
She's gone where the goblins go below, below, below, yo-ho.
Let's open up and sing, and ring the bells out...”*
She jumped into the air as soon as she had finished the song. “The wicked witch is dead!” she shouted gleefully. “Yayyy! Goodie! The wicked witch is dead!”
Galadriel laughed. “Yes, Kaylee, the evil enemy is dead. Sauron is no more. And now, let us go and tell your mother and father.”
Kaylee kept singing that song over and over again as, while holding her hand, Galadriel took her and Megan back to their pavilion, accompanied by Lord Celeborn, Glorfindel, and Radagast, who held Megan's hand.
Steve and Gail looked up, surprised to see so many, and to see the children as well. They had overheard Kaylee singing that song from The Wizard of Oz, which had also surprised them; Kaylee had stopped as soon as they had entered the pavilion. Both Kaylee and Megan rushed over to their daddy, although they stopped at the edge of the bed. Clearly, they wanted to hug him, but were mindful that he needed peace and quiet. He sat up slightly and held out his arms.
"You can hug me, princesses! Just be careful."
They both climbed onto the bed with him, and he hugged them. “The wicked witch is dead, Daddy! The wicked witch is dead!” Kaylee said softly.
"And what witch is that?" he asked, puzzled. Then he looked up at the adults who had accompanied the children.
"Frodo has fulfilled the quest," said the Lady Galadriel. Her face was glowing. "The Ring has been destroyed, and Sauron is no more."
"Daddy, Mommy," interrupted Megan. "Guess what? I saw Kevin and Jen and Joey inna water!"
"What?" Gail exclaimed.
"It is true, Gail.” Galadriel smiled. “Megan was standing near me as I searched the water of my Mirror, and she caught a glimpse of your elder children. It seemed to be a few years hence, and she saw the entire family together."
Gail heaved a great sigh of relief, and Steve squeezed her hand. "Praise be to the Lord!" she said quietly. She leaned in towards her husband, over the little girls' heads, and kissed him softly. "Our prayers are answered."
“Yes,” Steve agreed. His face, which had been tensed with pain and worry, seemed to relax a little at his wife's words.
"We needed to let you know that your younger daughters are now returned unto you," said Lord Celeborn. "For my Lady and I, and Radagast, must travel to the other side of the River. There we will join with my kinsman Thranduil to see an end put to Sauron's evil hold at Dol Guldur."
"Oh," Gail responded. "Is everything not over now?"
"We hope that it may be," Celeborn responded, "but that place is filled with evil. There still may be some enemies left, and it must all be cleansed. Lord Glorfindel will remain here with the retinue from Rivendell. If all goes well, we shall return ere it is time for your family to take leave of us and continue your own quest to reunite with your elder children."
Jennifer, Joey and their friends had been caught in the middle of the crowd of celebrators. It was some time before they could extricate themselves and head in the direction of the Houses of Healing. They had almost reached their destination when one of the other errand boys intercepted them. "There is a message for you, Jennifer, your brother, and Bergil to join Lord Faramir and the Lord Steward in the Steward's room. You are to go directly there."
The three of them farewelled their other friends and made their way to the part of the Houses of Healing where the Steward's room was located. It was much larger than most of the rooms. It was, in fact, the room belonging to the Master Healer over all the Healers. But he had moved into his office in order to give Lord Denethor his room.
Curious as to what the Steward wanted of them, the three of them made haste. It was easy to tell which the room was, for just a few doors away from the room Lord Faramir had been using were two guards. As soon as the children were spotted by the guards, one of them turned and opened the door behind him. "The ones you have sent for are here, my Lord," he said, and then turned to gesture the children into the room.
Jennifer was only mildly surprised to see that Éowyn was there, seated in a chair next to the Steward's bed, while Faramir stood behind her with one hand on her shoulder. Next to them stood Merry. He gave the newcomers a cheeky wink and a grin, before schooling his face to seriousness once more. On the other side of the bed, one of the apprentice healers stood close by.
Jennifer gave a slight curtsey, the way she had been taught in Rivendell, while both Joey and Bergil gave somewhat deeper bows. They were, after all, in the service of the Steward.
Lord Denethor was propped up by several pillows. "I suppose you are wondering why I sent for you?" Before he could say more, he was interrupted by a fit of coughing. The apprentice healer handed him a cup of water, and the Steward took a few sips and a wheezing breath. He sat quietly for a moment, as Faramir came to hover over him. Denethor flapped his hand dismissively. "I—" He wheezed. "—am all right. I assure you that it is nothing dire. We will be sending messengers and supplies to the Army across the River. Since you, Jennifer and Joey, have your brother there, Bergil has his father, and Master Meriadoc has his cousin, I would ask if you are willing to carry messages from me? Only Bergil is directly in my service, and Master Meriadoc has already volunteered. What of you, Jennifer and Joey?"
Before Jennifer could answer, Joey bowed again. "My Master is Lord Boromir, and I rightfully should re-join him."
"Yes," said Jennifer, "and if Joey goes, I go." She took a deep breath. She'd see Kevin again soon. She wanted so badly to make sure he was all right.
"I had—" Lord Denethor paused for breath. "I had thought...you might." He began to cough again, and this time he looked up at Faramir and nodded. He accepted another cup of water from his attendant.
"This is good," Faramir said. "You shall not set off immediately, for we will have messages from across the Anduin, to find out what is needed. Pigeons fly more slowly than Eagles, and messengers on horseback travel more slowly still. Yet also, I think you will likely leave between a week to ten days from now. You are all excused of other duties, save helping the Lady Éowyn and me in making preparations for the things you will be taking with you.”
Jennifer felt her eyes fill up, and she blinked the happy tears away. Even if they waited a whole week, it was still a lot sooner than she had hoped for to see her brother again. She closed her eyes briefly and sent up a wordless prayer of thanks.
*A/N: The song "Ding-dong! The Witch is Dead" was written by Harold Arlen, and currently, the copyright is held by Warner Bros.
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