Awful Mary-Sue: The Unsold Tales
Author: Jenn – tolkanonms at yahoo dot com
Rating: RR. This tale as a whole is rated R (which could mean rancid or ridiculous or reprehensible or rot-gut, depending on your locale and perspective). This particular chapter gets a second R because it takes place in Rohan.
Disclaimer: See the Prologue.
Feedback: Comments welcome -- constructive if possible, but nasty if you must.
Archiving: Edhellond, Gildor's Library. Anyone else: permission required, so I'll know where to send updates.
Author's note: OMG! I can't beLEEEEEV I'm riting anuther chappy alredy. But that's how it is with us rilly serious writers, u no: we haf 2 rit. We r, like, totally, um, ya know, um we haf to write. Yeah. N E who, here's smore.
And as always: SPEW WARNING!!
Chapter 10 - Strangers in a Strange Land
Well, I see you are eager to hear more of my tales, for you have returned promptly. And what have you to share with me this night? Ah yes, that will do nicely, thank you! Perhaps you'd see your way clear to wet my whistle, as well? Lovely! It is well you have arrive early. Our beloved Ninni has a lot of ground to cover, and therefore, so do we! Let us begin, then, eh?
Last night, we left our heroine, the lovely Menethôlwen, and Boromir, who seems to have recovered rather quickly from his untimely death, galloping across the plains of Rohan. Well, actually, it was Shadowfax who galloped: they were merely (or is that "Meara-ly?") passengers seeking to reach Meduseld, the Golden Hall where sat the once and seemingly not-likely-to-be-future-King of Rohan.
o o o o o o o o o o
The day before, after various adventures, Aragorn, Gandalf, Legolas, Gimli and the Hobbits already had arrived at the Golden Hall. Despite its name and its gaudy exterior, it was actually quite dimly lit inside, the folks of Rohan not being partial to skylights. Glass was hard to come by and not really in keeping with the aesthetics of the people of the Plains of Rohan.
Now, the informed reader will, of course, realize I am using the term "aesthetics" in a very generous manner, for in truth, we are speaking of folks who scarcely understood the use of a good hair comb, let alone the value of light and air and feng shui. The architects of Imladris had never ventured into these ruder parts of Middle-earth, and thus Rohan had never experienced an awakening of any hidden promise it might have had by way of style. Whatever the object found anywhere in Middle-earth, if it was big and shiny or dark and chunky, it was likely to be marked on the underside with the runes signifying, "Made in Rohan."
Ahem! Yes, well, as I was saying, the balance of our party of heroes had found themselves in this dark hall before a sorry scarecrow of a king shrouded in cobwebs who gasped and whispered from his dusty throne like something from beyond the grave. For, alas! the once mighty warrior had fallen under the spell of the wretched Gríma Wormtongue. (And upon hearing a name such as that, I trust we need not go into the details of how such a wicked spell was woven, for I know there are those among you who are a tad squeamish about such encounters.)
The one spot of beauty in the place, the Rose of Rohan, Éowyn, niece of the King, practiced endlessly with her sword, delighting in slicing the air in front of her should Gríma venture too closely in her direction.
Aragorn, Legolas and Gimli had despaired quickly of trying to reason with the senile old sod on the throne, and none dared venture near the Ice Maiden. They were now sitting around the table, putting back prodigious quantities of Roarhick Red Ale and playing cards with the once-vaunted Riders of Rohan, now grown fat and slow in the darkness of the Great Hall. Even Gandalf's efforts to effect an Istari exorcism had failed miserably: the White Wizard had failed to notice that one of the dogs of Rohan had used his staff in a most indecorous manner.
It was into this sad state of things that Éomer, son of somebody or other once important, but now dead (a common status for royalty of Rohan, due to their stubborn habit of riding into battle at the drop of a horse puck), also big brother to Éowyn, rode in with his company of Riders. Éomer was a good and honorable man, a proud warrior who wanted only for his King to be noble, his sister to be happy and his lands to be free of the varmint that Shadow had unleashed upon it. So, as you might imagine, he was generally quite miserable. For this reason, he spent as much time as he could away from Meduseld, taking out his frustrations on any lowlife of Middle-earth that had the misfortune to cross his path. His conduct had earned him the respect, even the adoration of his cavalry, the A-O Red Riders, who grew bored sitting around the dark hall listening to their wives and children whine all day.
But for now, Éomer had returned. Delighted to find visitors, he waved to his sister and plopped down next to Aragorn and the other remnants of the Ten Walkers to hear news of the world beyond the Plains.
"I know you! I heard about your merry little band --" he paused and glanced at the Hobbits, winced and added, "Uh, sorry, no offense meant, uh, with the "little" thing, you know."
Sam nodded amiably and replied, "None taken."
Relieved, Éomer continued. "So anyway, we were at the Rancid Rooster last week and heard about this global-village-type bunch of folks all gone walkabout together. You're really quite the sensation, you know? Biggest thing to hit these parts since, well, probably the last Age. Now don't tell me, let me guess. You're Aragorn Mortenstern," he said, looking at the Ranger, "and you're an Elf, so you must be Orlando Greenleaf. And you," he added, ducking under the table to look Gimli in the eye, "must be the Dwarf. Welcome! Good to have some new faces around here! Éowyn, sweetie, bring us all some ale, will you? And see what you can scare up in the kitchen. Our guests must be famished - I know I am!"
And so it was that all were far into their cups, bellies full and voices belting out the local folk music, Golden Oldies, when Menethôlwen and Boromir arrived several days later.
o o o o o o o o o o
The sun was rising above the mountain range as Shadowfax's hooves clattered up the rocky dirt path that served as the main thoroughfare. Hearing the slurred songs and merry-making from within, Menethôlwen leapt off the horse's back and ran up the steps, urging Boromir along.
"Hurry! I can sense there is great darkness within the Golden Hall! We may be too late!"
Now, Boromir had spent his fair share of time traveling as an ambassador for Gondor among the people of Rohan, so he failed to see the urgency: it was always dark in the halls of Rohan. But he owed this Ninni his life, so he simply followed her past the guards as she swung open the great doors of the Great Hall.
All looked up, squinting as the bright light of the sun poured into the hall, driving darkness into the farthest corners of the room. Théolden King squeaked and held his hands in front of his face, cowering.
Ignoring the drunken greetings from her fellow Walkers (who, at this point, could not have walked across the road to save their lives), she strode straight and tall toward the throne. Gríma leapt in front of her, meaning to block her path.
"The King is weary. Do not lay more troubles upon an already troubled brow. Be gone, I say! Leave! Bugger off! Get out! Shoo! Buh-bye!"
Menethôlwen stared at him for what seemed an eternity, seeing through the layers of self-deception, the insecurities, the over-weaning outward ambitions that masked the truth of what lay within his heart. She took another step forward, then called his name softly, at the same time giving him a deeply sorrowful look.
"Gríma Who Is Called Wormtongue, look into your heart grown gnarled and twisted by the words of Saruman the Deceiver. You need suffer no longer from the agonies of love unrequited. Let your love flow, like a mountain spring!"
The Hall fell silent as the strange little man stared at the ground for what seemed an eternity. Then, slowly, he looked up and turned his face toward Éowyn. A single tear ran down the long, harsh ridge of his nose and fell to the floor, shattering the silence... and the heart of the White Lady of Rohan. They stared across the room into each other's eyes and in that instant, they knew true love.
And at just that moment, the sun shone fully on the huddled figure of the once and future King of Rohan. The sight of young love blossoming warmed his heart so long held in the icy grasp of Saruman's sorcery. He seemed to grow younger by the moment. His rheumy eyes cleared. His teeth lost their yellow tinge. His hunched spine straightened as he rose from his throne. Surveying the room, he bellowed, "Where is my sword?"
Seeing his liege thus restored, his second rushed to his side and knelt before him, offering his own sword.
The monarch looked down at the warrior, slightly puzzled.
"Who am I, Gambling?"
"You are Théolden King, my lord."
"Oh right, yes, I seem to be a bit forgetful."
"Must be that nasty business about being possessed and all, mi'lord. Perhaps you might seek the counsel of Gandalf Greyhame? I hear he's good with such matters."
"Excellent idea, Gambling! All right, let's go get this battle over with, eh? What are we fighting for again?"
"Well, mi'lord, we're not actually off to battle this moment. There's a few other matters to be taken care of first."
Théolden King pursed his lips for a moment, then snapped his fingers.
"Oh yes, of course, the wedding!" Turning to his niece and his advisor, he beckoned them to him. He laid a hand on each of their heads and gave his blessing to their union.
There was a great feast in the Hall that night. Guests arrived from the outlying areas, bringing food and ale and all sorts of handicrafts stamped "Made in Rohan." The highlight of the evening came when Théolden King rose to toast the new couple and to bestow his wedding gift. There, before the assembly of his people, he gave to the happy couple the stewardship of Meduseld, which, as it turned out, they managed wisely and well for the remainder of their days.
But I am getting ahead of myself, for there are other things, things of great import, that also happened on that joyous night! However, this particular night grows late, and it is high time you were all in bed. So, move along, all of you. I shall continue my tale another evening.