Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of J. R. R. Tolkien, nor any of the various dramatic incarnations thereof. No profit is being made from this work.
Greetings. In a moment, you will come to the story and, if all goes according to plan, begin reading. But first, while I have your attention, let me say a few words. First off, I must confess that I'm still somewhat undecided about this website, and that this story is something of an experiment. In addition, I tend towards the antisocial. What both of these factors mean for you, the reader, is that this may very well be the only time you'll hear from me until the story is over. It may not be; if I decide that things are going in such a direction, I might give brief notes after each chapter. But if you don't hear from me, please don't take it as an insult.
Second, a few notes about the story you are about to read. I was introduced to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien in perhaps the worst way possible: in a movie theater in 1987, in a foreign language, while still in grade school. It is a testament to the power of Tolkien's story that I fell in love with it even under those circumstances, and in fact went on to read the books (in English) upon coming back from the theater.
Some readers (those old enough to know better) will guess right away who the mysterious kidnappers are. If you do guess, please don't tell anyone until the Fellowship figures it out for themselves. In the meantime, if you are so inclined and wish to follow all the connections as they are laid out, I heartily recommend poking around in the backwaters of the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), where you can find the most amazing fun facts. If you'd like, I will add a list of references when the story is done so you can check back. This would be by request only, though.
That about wraps things up here. Exits are located in the BACK button of your browser. Should the cabin pressure in the story begin to drop, a plot hole will open above your head and oxygen masks will fall. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times, and enjoy the show!
In Which Aragorn Finds Himself
Aragorn was dimly aware of motion. The world swirled and tilted, and it took all the strength and fortitude he possessed not to fall off. He dared not open his eyes for fear of losing what little control he had left. The world felt wrong, somehow, and Aragorn did not feel himself ready to investigate. Far better to stay here, in the dark realm between sleep and wakefulness, where he spun lazily and listened to far-off voices.
"I am beginning to worry. He should have woken by now."
"Hmph. He will wake when he chooses to wake."
"Still, I worry. I dealt him a sharp blow to the head."
"Indeed you did, my friend. One of his dimensions is difficult to subdue. Still, take courage. You have not harmed him. I believe he is aware even now, and merely chooses not to wake fully to the light of day."
"The light of day? The light of our day, you mean. Perhaps it is for the best that he does not waken, then. You saw what became of the other."
Aragorn listened intently. Was this other one of the members of their company? Had he been unable to save them, then? Which one was this other, and what had become of him? A third voice, gruff but not unkind, entered the unseen conversation.
"He lives. I believe he will accustom himself to our world shortly. And I have finally managed to wash my helmet clean."
The first voice, a raspy tenor, chuckled. "That is good. We certainly would not wish for it to smell permanently of vomit."
"Agreed. And that is why I shall leave you to your own devices when this one wakes, my friend."
Heavy footsteps approached. A rough voice whispered. "Aragorn, they're at it again!"
He was needed. Aragorn's eyes snapped open, as the First Voice turned towards him. "I haven't time for this," it said.
"Who is at it, what danger is this?" Aragorn asked, and winced as his eyes were assaulted by blinding swirls of color and light.
"Rest easy, friend," said the First Voice. "Your aid is not needed, even were you in a position to give it."
"He called for Aragorn," Aragorn said muzzily, shutting his eyes again. "I am Aragorn, so he must mean me."
"No. He meant me," the First Voice said gently. "I, too am Aragorn."
This was too much. Aragorn forced his eyes open a second time and stared into the face of the First Voice. It was a dark, battered face framed with lank black hair. The eyes, although weary, streamed kindness and wisdom. It would have been a face to be trusted, if there had not been something fundamentally wrong about it. It was too sharply defined, yet there was no depth to the face, no warmth to the skin. Aragorn had never seen anything like it in his long life. "You are Aragorn?" he asked. "Son of —"
"Son of Arathorn, yes," the figure replied.
"But how can that be? I have never seen you before in my life."
"I do not doubt it. But I and my companions have seen a great deal of you."
"Your companions?" asked Aragorn. A terrible premonition came over him. "Four hobbits, a wizard, an elf, a dwarf, and a second Man?"
"Precisely," The second Aragorn smiled. He called over his shoulder. "You and your counterpart were correct, Mithrandir. He is as intelligent as I!"
There was a shuffling, and then two faces peered at Aragorn. One was the familiar seamed visage of Gandalf. The other. . . was not. His shadowed eyes burned and a long, sharp nose peeked out of an enormous mass of snow-white hair. He was attired similarly to Gandalf, in long robes, but they looked wrong, in the same way as the second Aragorn. They were flat and dull. Aragorn had difficult focusing on them.
"Greetings, friend," the strange wizard said. "I am called by some Gandalf, although my colleague also lays claim to that name. Therefore, you may call me Mithrandir."
"Mithrandir," Aragorn repeated dully. He felt his gaze drawn inexorably back to the strange man who bore his name and claimed his ancestry. "This is not Middle Earth," he declared.
"Correction," Gandalf said, also gazing at his double. "This is not our Middle Earth,"
Mithrandir smiled amidst his bushy whiskers. "Indeed. It is our Middle Earth."
The second Aragorn moved to stand by Mithrandir. "And you are our prisoners."