Disclaimer: For those of you just now joining us, I still do not own anything that is recognizably Tolkien. (i.e., anything normal. The psychotic, schizophrenic character known as Katie is mine, as is the whacked-out raccoon and the clueless guy known as Brian.) Nor will I ever own them. My own pathetic attempt at genius comes nowhere close to the grand master of lore, J.R.R. himself.

Author's Note: Hear ye, hear ye! (Yes, I have always wanted to say that.) Congratulations and much heartfelt thanks to those of you who have endured the insanity, craziness, and unspeakable horrors throughout Meriweather's version of "The Fellowship of the Ring." You have all earned my respect for showing your talent in keeping up with all the confusing rules that belong to the Sue, and the madness will shortly continue. But before we all witness and mourn together the blatant butchering and maiming of "The Two Towers," I have some announcements. (Don't I feel important?)

Announcement #1: The reviews and dedication have henceforth been moved to the end of the fic, as I have received several suggestions to do it and personally prefer the style myself. I would have done it sooner, but I am a mysterious creature steeped in tradition, and once I started it that way in the beginning, I just couldn't stop. Anyway . . .

Announcement #2: I have a large collection of barf bags, tissues, blunt and sharp objects, and rocks of all sizes available at your disposals, so feel free to use any and all at will in this and future chapters.

Announcement #3: I do listen to and treasure all suggestions and criticisms, including more demands for Meriweather. Thus in this fic I shall be adding a few more different perspectives as we go along. I hope that you find them interesting and worthwhile. And please, if you don't like something, say so! I will also answer your questions too, so don't hesitate to ask even the silliest question, because I guarantee that it will help me understand where I am losing people.

Announcement #4: Well, I didn't want these things to take forever, but they've already started to, so I'm going to shut up now and get on with what I want to write, and what I'm sure you want to read . . .

TRAPPED AS A MARY SUE II

Chapter One

{Previews, previews, and *more previews*! Get on with the movie, already!} She sat in the darkened theater, drumming her fingers on the plastic armrest impatiently. Her best friend Sarah sat to one side, while Audrey, her other best friend, sat on the other. Both were downing the popcorn they had bought like there was no tomorrow.

Kathy sighed again, somewhat melodramatically as yet another advertisement flashed across the big screen. She was still mad at Brad, her boyfriend. He hadn't appreciated her thought of him in her great fanfiction. And he kept going off on some tangent about orange being his favorite color anyway. Why couldn't she have made him Temnaur the Orange?

Kathy wrinkled her nose at the very thought. Didn't he know that orange would clash with her character's outfit? Not to mention her violet eyes. Orange and violet definitely did *not* go together.

Sarah leaned over to Kathy and asked in a noisy whisper, "So are you gonna take notes on the movie or what? For your story, I mean." She licked fake butter off her fingers.

Kathy snorted, then tried to cover the indelicate sound by coughing. "Don't be stupid. I can remember everything perfectly without acting like a nerd. Everybody positively *loves* my story as it is anyway. I've got, like, thirty-four reviews! That's a lot, trust me. Most people's stories only get, like, two and a half."

"What did they think of Brad?" Audrey asked, now attuned to the conversation. "He's gotta be great, knowing how you write."

"You put Brad in?" Sarah squealed, letting out a laugh like a ground squirrel being run over. "That is so totally awesome! Hey, can we be in it too?"

Kathy glanced at Sarah, contemplating the idea. "Well, depends. Are you an Aragorn Admirer too?"

Sarah made a disgusted face. "Yeah, as if! Too dirty. I'm a Frodo Fan, that's me! Gimme Frodo any day."

"What, you don't want Meriweather to have any competition?" Audrey teased. Kathy glared at her friend, and she laughed. "Just kidding. I'm a Legolas Lover, no mistake. You're safe, trust me." She went back to munching on her popcorn as a preview for "Bruce Almighty" went by.

"So are you gonna do it? Pwease?" Sarah begged, giving Kathy puppy-dog eyes in the semidarkness.

Kathy thought about it some more. She'd been losing reviewer interest for awhile. They were starting to make idiotic comments like "ur repeating urself" and "ur a horendous m.s. i hope u dye" and other such nonsense. Kathy didn't even know what a "m.s." was, but she didn't care. Her story was entertaining her, and that was all she cared about. It wasn't hurting anybody to write it. Well, maybe her computer, as it sometimes seemed to freeze up and have fits at some points. The biggest aggravation was when it had went down right in the middle of the mountain scene-thing. And when she had got it back up again, it had mysteriously jumped right to Moria. Stupid computer.

Kathy was suddenly jarred from her thoughts by two pointy elbows catching her in either side. "It's starting, it's starting!" Sarah and Audrey screeched softly in unison.

As the first image containing great snow-covered mountains appeared, she leaned to either side of her and whispered, "Okay, you guys are in. You can be in my story." After all, Kathy told herself, it couldn't hurt anything, and it might add more interest to the fic. Smiling satisfactorily to herself, she settled back into her seat to absorb the great thing that was "The Lord of the Rings."

~*~

"Hold her . . . !"

"I am having enough trouble with him, Aragorn," Gimli's voice snarled. "Do not move, stranger, or I will make sure your head parts company with your body."

A red-hot poker seemed to be sticking Katie in the side as consciousness reluctantly returned. Her eyes snapped open and she tried to scream, only to discover that she was holding her breath and thus managed only a gasping croak. There was somebody in a green tunic above her blocking her vision, and their firm hands were pressing her upper arms securely to the ground.

"Aragorn, she wakes," Legolas, owner of the green tunic announced calmly, as if he held wounded people down in the middle of Uruk-Hai covered clearings every day.

"Do not let her move," the man said distractedly as he mixed a concoction of herbs together and ruthlessly purged the wound. Katie drew back at the pain and tried to twist to the side, her voice still refusing to come to her, though she had more than a few choice words to say to Aragorn. A weight had settled on her legs, however, and any movement seemed impossible.

"Katie?" A familiar voice demanded. "Katie, are you okay?"

Brian. He was back. Her little session with Meriweather and her subsequent triumph had restored him to Middle-earth.

{Well, of course it did. Meriweather's the main character, after all. She controls everything, since she's the author's main point of concentration. Therefore you command Brian's coming and going to Middle-earth. Neat, huh?} Her voice sounded rather proud of itself.

{That wasn't precisely the word I was going to use.} Katie tried again to force air into her lungs, and as the herbs Aragorn used dulled the agony, she ground out to Brian, "So to speak. I'm kinda wishing for a gigantic shot of morphine."

"Sit her up." Aragorn's command interrupted the conversation. Legolas eased his grip and assisted Katie in attaining a somewhat upright position as the man wrapped a bandage tightly around her midsection. Katie saw that it was Gimli who was holding her legs down, simply by sitting on them, while keeping Brian at axe-point. Brian looked as if he had been snatched from the middle of duty, dressed in his Navy uniform, his white sailor hat slightly askew on his head. She offered him a small smile, and he relaxed almost imperceptibly.

"Drink this," Aragorn said, handing Katie a small skin. She eyed it suspiciously, remembering the last time he had offered her something to drink. Had it truly been all the way back in Lothlórien? It seemed like such a small time had passed. Aragorn's gaze was grim, and Katie detected no trace of merriment. Indeed, the world seemed devoid of any happiness at the moment. She downed the contents of the skin obediently, managing not to spew the foul draught anywhere.

"Now we must tend the fallen," Legolas said, rising to his feet. His eyes flickered to the body of Boromir. "We cannot leave him lying like carrion among these foul Orcs."

Aragorn nodded to Gimli, who grudgingly got up and lowered his axe. "But we must be swift, if there is hope that any of our Company are living prisoners." He cocked a leery eye at the strangely-clad young man before him. "You are Temnaur?"

Brian straightened. "I'm Brian. Katie's . . ."

"Suitor," Katie put in as he fished for a Middle-earth equivalent word to 'boyfriend.' "But you're correct: he was Temnaur. Now he is free, just as I am." She fell silent, struggling slowly to a standing position, eyeing the carnage with the manner of a person who has survived something they had not expected to.

Aragorn and Legolas had moved off together, discussing possibilities of how to dispose of Boromir's body in a manner that would befit a man of Gondor. "We will send him to the Falls of Rauros and give him to Anduin. The River of Gondor will take care at least that no evil creature dishonors his bones," Aragorn said at last.

The three remaining Fellowship members set about gathering the weapons of the orcs together, that they might be added to the boat bearing their comrade's body. Aragorn discovered the swords of Merry and Pippin, resolving to all who would hear that he would return them if the hobbits still lived. Katie and Brian watched them from aside, feeling that they had no right to intrude upon the story as it unfolded before them.

It was only when Aragorn called for Brian to help bear Boromir's bier that either of them moved. The king of Gondor remained standing alone as Legolas and Gimli fetched the boats of Lórien at Parth Galen, reporting that the third was gone, confirming Katie's statement that Frodo and Sam had indeed departed.

Sorrow hung heavy in the air and it was with quiet ceremony and honor that the funeral boat was prepared. Katie and Brian watched from the shore as the three drew it into open water, casting it free at last. Mist rose from the swelling water, reaching for the peaceful figure of Boromir as the boat faded into the distance.

Two tears slipped hesitantly down the girl's face as she watched, but Katie couldn't bring herself to say goodbye. Brian silently put an arm around her shoulders, and as he did, strains of a song floated to them. Aragorn and Legolas sang for Boromir, a haunting yet strong melody. The notes faded on the winds as the boat slowly returned to where the two strangers were standing, awaiting direction.

"Why has he been brought here?" Aragorn asked without preamble, addressing his question to Katie.

"Because the evil that controls us wills it," she replied evenly. "He's another captive, just like me. He--"

"I can speak for myself," Brian interrupted. "Katie's been missing for two weeks in our world, Aragorn. And now I know where she is, but not why. It can't be anything you guys have done, but I'm looking for answers."

"We cannot give you what we ourselves do not possess," Legolas pointed out softly. "It is Katie alone who knows these things."

"I'll explain it all later," Katie said to Brian softly. "And then you can tell me what's been going on. Right now, Aragorn needs to decide what to do." The firmness in her tone caused the man in question to glance in her direction.

"My decision will be given when we reach Parth Galen. Legolas and I will travel there on foot, while you two accompany Gimli in the boat." Aragorn looked one last time over the gray swells of the Anduin, before turning his back and resolutely starting forward. "We cannot waste time, quickly!"

Katie and Brian followed the dwarf to the single remaining boat, shoving off and making good time easily. There was no conversation as Brian and Gimli paddled their way to where Aragorn and Legolas were already waiting.

"Well, so much at least is now clear," the elf was saying. "Frodo is no longer on this side of the River: only he can have taken the boat. And Sam is with him; only he would have taken his pack."

Brian leaped out into the shallows, dragging the boat ashore. Katie splashed through the water, leaving Gimli to bring up the rear.

"Our choice then," said Gimli as he waded up, "is either to take the remaining boat and follow Frodo, or else to follow the Orcs on foot. There is little hope either way. We have already lost precious hours."

"We will not all fit in the boat, Master Dwarf," Katie pointed out, gaze flitting to Aragorn's pensive face. Legolas too was regarding their leader, fingers resting lightly on his bow.

"I will follow the Orcs," he said at last. "I would have guided Frodo to Mordor and gone with him to the end; but if I seek him now in the wilderness, I must abandon the captives to torment and death. My heart speaks clearly at last: the fate of the Bearer is in my hands no longer. The Company has played its part. Yet we that remain cannot forsake our companions while we have strength left. Come! We will go now. Leave all that can be spared behind! We will press on by day and dark!"

Brian moved closer to Katie as the three members of the Fellowship fell to casting off all that could be left and concealing it beneath the remaining boat. "You haven't seen "The Two Towers" yet." It was obviously not a question, but Katie took it as such.

"Well, no duh," she hissed in a whisper. "I haven't exactly been home or anywhere near reality for a good month, give or take plotholes. Why?"

He shrugged. "I hope you're a good runner, that's all. Unless you can find horses, we're going to end up running all the way to Rohan." Brian tucked his white hat into his belt, rolled his shoulders as if to loosen them up, and took a few deep breaths.

Katie shot a covert glance at Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli, before performing her own set of stretches, thankful that the elves of Lothlórien had provided her with sturdy boots. This was sure going to be interesting.

Aragorn approached. "If you feel you can run no more because of your wound, say as much." Katie nodded stiffly, resisting the urge to make a snide remark. Something along the lines of, 'what if I just feel like I can run no more, period?' came to mind, but she squelched the thought.

Retracing Aragorn and Legolas' path, the man sought to pick up the Orcs' trail, which needed little skill to find.

"No other folk make such a trampling," said Legolas. "It seems their delight to slash and beat down growing things that are not even in their way." Indeed, the wide swath that the horde had cut through the lush greenery could have fit an entire host of the creatures, or so it seemed.

"But they go with a great speed for all that," said Aragorn, "and they do not tire. And later we may have to search for our path in hard bare lands."

"We have great faith in you," Katie put in, staving off anything Brian might have said that would have potentially given away the plot. She elbowed him sharply in the ribs, and he jerked back, face hardening resentfully.

"Well, after them!" cried Gimli, whose manner embodied impatience. "Dwarves too can go swiftly, and they do not tire sooner than Orcs. But it will be a long chase: they have a long start."

"Yes," agreed Aragorn, "we shall all need the endurance of Dwarves. But come! With hope or without hope we will follow the trail of our enemies. And woe to them, if we prove the swifter! We will make such a chase as shall be accounted a marvel among the Three Kindreds: Elves, Dwarves, and Men. Forth the Hunters!"

"Nice speech, really got my blood pumping," Katie muttered out of the corner of her mouth to Brian. Aragorn bounded away, almost like a deer.

"Save your breath," Brian advised as they hurried to follow. They couldn't afford to get lost, though their leader was swift and tireless, and his pace strenuous.

{C'mon girl, I know you've got the strength in you somewhere,} her voice encouraged. {Just picture Glorfindel in front of you, calling. That should work.}

{I'm already about ready to have hallucinations, thanks very much,} Katie retorted, glad that in her mind she had enough energy to form coherent thoughts. {Like I need an additional one distracting me. I can just hear myself chanting his name now.}

The woods had long since vanished around them, though none of the five had turned back to look at their progress. All their focus was forward as they pressed onward, strides eating up the land. At one point Brian stepped in an animal hole, and Katie misjudged the distance necessary to leap over a log and landed smack on her front (which did nothing for her dagger wound) but neither were willing to give up.

The sun toiled slowly across the sky as the land began to slope upward, the peaks dark and hard-edged against the rapidly rosying sky. Air was quickly becoming something to be valued, as the two strangers to Middle-earth were not conditioned to such running. Brian, having endured harsh Navy training, was much better suited to the activity than his girlfriend. He watched her gravely as she struggled on, unwilling to stop, her face frozen in fierce concentration.

Dusk came, and soon they were all grey shadows passing swiftly through a stony land. Distantly, mist rose in the faraway woods where they had first begun, and the fitful moonlight danced upon the shrinking silver ribbon of the Anduin. The sky darkened and stars began to peek out from behind the folds of night. The trail began to get harder to follow in the twilight, and the pace slowed, much to Katie's relief. She did not know where the strength to keep on had come from, but it had to have been no less than Eru Himself.

The land around them had turned rocky, almost bony as ridges like spines protruded from the rolling ground. They mounted one ridge, descended into a valley, and then rested for a brief pause. Katie wasted no time in throwing herself to the ground, breath still coming in panting gasps.

{If only my gym teacher could see me now,} she thought to herself, trying to get her heart rate back down and lung capacity to normal.

"You going to make it?" Brian asked quietly as Aragorn and Legolas discussed their course. He handed her a waterskin and she drank thirstily but sparingly.

"As long as Meriweather doesn't go poking more holes in me, yeah," she muttered. "What happened? How did you get here?"

He regarded her in the near-darkness, as the moon had set some time ago. "I don't know. I was on duty around midnight on base and then suddenly I was here. Well, not here, here. Stuck inside some idiot's head who thought he was a wizard. It was so wrong on so many levels, to put it one way. And I couldn't do anything, I just had to sit there and watch as he took control of my body. It's . . . I don't know, screwed up. You'd better have a darn good explanation for me, that's all I can say."

Katie's leg muscles had begun to stiffen, and she began kneading them with her fingers. "Well, have I got a doozy of a story to tell you when I get the chance." She would have continued, but the lack of other conversation around them stopped her.

Gimli cleared his throat conspicuously. "We will search northwards, Aragorn has decided."

Getting up somewhat wearily, they set out again.

~*~

"Oh my word, that was, like, so cool!" Audrey exclaimed as the three girls exited the theater. "You wanna go see it again tomorrow? For your story, I mean," she added as Kathy glanced at her.

"Nah," Kathy shrugged. "I've got a good memory, no worries! I just gotta figure out where I'm going to put you two."

Sarah sighed happily. "Well, as long as I'm with Frodo to make him smile and feel better, I don't care how you do it. You could have him rescue me from Fara-whoever or some orcs or something. Just as long as it's exciting!"

Kathy chewed on her bottom lip thoughtfully. "Well, I don't want the number of the Fellowship to be more than ten. And if *Gandalf*" she spat, "hadn't come back, then my plan would have worked. I mean, it's no problem for Audrey to fill Boromir's spot, but somebody else has gotta go."

"Hmm . . ." Sarah pondered the problem. "Well, those two other little hobbit guys, Pippin and . . . Murray? They can't be *all* that important, except for maybe the Ent thing. Just have the Uruky people kill one of 'em, and you're all set!" She grinned, proud of herself.

"Yeah . . . that's it! I mean, neither of them serve a real purpose, so I guess it's okay. And I've got the perfect place for you to come in, Audrey, just you wait . . ." Kathy giggled to herself and hoped that Audrey liked raccoons. She flexed her fingers, just itching to get them on her computer keyboard when she got home. Oh yes, great things were going to happen, if Kathy had anything to say about it.

[Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1954. Pages 405-411.]

[Author's Note: I'm dreadfully sorry for the confusion about the use of the term "Marty Sam" versus "Marty Stu." You must understand that I first heard it referred to as "Marty Sam" and so I apologize for my reflexive use of it. Please consider it a bit of artistic license and don't kill me!]

To Azi Took, my resident insane Hobbit lass: Hee hee, you've stuck with it a long time, and for that I'm very grateful. Your reviews always make me smile, and anybody who can survive the long haul with this fanfic and still find things to review about in every chapter has my respect. So, in return for your faithful reviews, funny comments, and encouragement, I hope you'll accept this chapter. And hurray for insanity, it's a writer's best friend!

Now that that's out of my system . . . it's thank you time!

Fly Without Wings: I know, I just couldn't resist such a great machine to work torture with.

Laura: I'm happy you're still with me, and if it ever gets too confusing, flame me or something. I don't ever want my readers lost! Hee hee, on a sidenote, thanks!

Rabia: Ah, I'm so sorry I haven't been able to get back to you sooner about the haiku. I positively *loved* it! I saved it and everything. (Nobody ever dedicates things like that to me, I was so honored, you have no idea!) Thank you for giving me that great piece of originality, I will treasure it like you wouldn't believe. I know the end was sudden, but at that time, I wasn't quite sure if I was going to keep going with the chapters or start another fic. You obviously see what won out, LOL. And your list of highlights . . . ah, it was great to relive some of those moments. You liked the raccoon? He he, good, because Kathy's got plans for that raccoon . . . I can say no more here, but readers beware!

Crimson Starlight: Y'know, I thought about what it would do to Sauron, but then I had to wonder if he actually had a body under all that armor with which to suck the life from? An interesting puzzle, to be sure.

Gate Keeper: Just make sure that he doesn't try and mind-meld with anything intelligent. It could have nasty results!

Su-Su: I've gotten many reports of sibling-scaring because of my fic. I do it too, but when I try to explain it, it only gets worse! Yes, "The Two Towers" is ready to be butchered, m'lady. Would you care for a front row seat? About Haldir . . . I believe that the book shall prevail on that matter. He lives!

Loz: Yes, I will continue to write this until such time as I am unable to or my computer crashes or . . . well, any extenuating circumstance I'm sure. If you tell me what was bad about it, then I will try to clear it up next time for you, and I apologize for any confusion I may have caused.

Ushmushmeifa: Ah, the voice. That's actually under debate now. It's either a representation of Katie's higher brain function, or there's an outside force at work . . . but what is it? Your guess would be as good as mine at this point. Oh, and the Inigo Montoya line adaptation was great! He he, I loved it.

Zula-chan: Genius is a strong word that applies to quantum theories and little old men with crazy hair, but I'm flattered just the same. I apologize about not getting back to your last email, but I think I will go ahead with the P.P.C. idea. You are a lifesaver!

Lotrmatrixstarwarsfan: I'm thinking about forming a Brute Squad out of all my similarly enraged readers to go after her in the end, actually. I know I could get enough people together to go along with it. I haven't gotten to use Legolas, Gimli, and the hobbits as much as I would have liked to, Gimli particularly. I hope to get into them a little more now that they're broken up and will get more attention individually. Thanks for your suggestions!

Fae: Ah, my darling dear hobbit chica. So you finally got your review, did you? LOL, you're shameless, m'dear. Thanks for the "School's Out" plug, since I'm way too shy to do it myself. I think I'm going to do another chapter for that tomorrow or the day after. Not sure yet. I think I might do some more pranks. Anyway, I promise I'll get the word out about "The Face" after you put up another chapter or two (reel 'em in, then keep running with it.) and maybe we can have a look at that nasssssty formatting, yesss . . .

AerinBrown: I know I said thanks in my e-mail, but I can't help saying it again: THANK YOU for reading "School's Out." And thanks for your vote of confidence for the sequel!

Heero Yuy: Actually, the machine means that you'll just die sooner. I think that's how it's supposed to work. The only human test subject died before any real results were achieved, so far as I understand it. Miracle Max did bring him back to life, but that's a rabbit trail we won't go into . . . and yes, Middle-earthlings beware, you're in for a scare of epic proportions!

Lady Moon: A separate fic, though I hardly need to tell you (whoops). And no, it's not going to be good at all. Would you care for a blunt or sharp object with which to beat up something (or someone)?

NightShade: It'd better not be, because I guarantee the Sue is going to incur a lot more torture along the way!

Rin: Yes, a year, much to my dismay. But when life gets you around the throat and hauls you away from the keyboard, there's not much you can do about it, unfortunately. I hope to be a bit more faithful about this fanfic. I do admit it took me awhile to get all my ducks in a row with starting the sequel, but that's just how it had to be. I will NOT give up, however. I'm going to finish this, I promise.

Zurizip: Yep, that about says it all. In a lot nicer terms than I would have used.

Babyface: I actually did read that in The Hidden Archives. Ah, poor Legolas, to be made to suffer so. Okay, enough with the poetics. I love CNell's and Bryn's work, and generally Mary Sue bashing in general. If you know of any more good reads, let me know!

Dazzle: Well . . . it's only twenty-two days later, is that soon enough? Probably not, I'd know I'd kill me for not updating sooner, so I'll understand if you hunt me down.

Kyae: I think some family members just don't understand our strange reading obsessions. I attempted to explain a Glorfindel reference the other day, and it just wasn't working . . . and when all else fails, blackmail 'em!

Katakanadian: Yes, I am now very embarrassed to read the introduction to the first chapter, but I also am too lazy to take it down and fix it . . . oh well.

DeeSarrachi: You're not the only one who's mad at her. I write about her and I get upset sometimes. (And my parents wonder why I talk to myself in angry voices . . .) Oh yeah, and it's a deal!

Europa: Wow, a raccoon the size of a dog. That would be pretty impressive. We were thinking about making the animal a beaver or something, but decided on raccoon just because some stupid person *cough*Meriweather*cough* thinks they're cuddly. At least it wasn't a unicorn or some really far-out creature.

Raphael the Andromeda: LOL, if you're still with me at this point, kudos, and I have a Perseverance Award for you!

Earendil: Oh dear, my head is inflating once again at your review. May I suggest some other great fics to you that I'm sure will take the place of mine in the 'Best LOTR fic' category? Maybe that'll help deflate my head . . . but all the same, I will continue, and thank you for your continued support.

Turelie: It is very possible that I could be mistaken about the Watcher. I've heard similar mythical creatures referred to as 'krakens,' so that's where I got it from. And please, feel free to utilize any and all insults you wish. They're just words, and I don't own them (I wonder if it's possible to own a word?)

Wellduh: Yes, O Great Taskmaster, I is going!

Kaitourei: Inspiration is a good thing, and a massive compliment (aside from the fact that you just sat down and read the *whole* thing . . .).

Starbrat: Don't we all wish she was dead? But oh no, death is too good for *her*. . .

Shiggity-shiggity: I don't remember ever giving Meri-Sue an age, but judging from typical Sueness, anywhere between eighteen to twenty-five. The machine doesn't mean you look older, it means you die sooner. Hope that helps, sorry for the confusion.

Chelsea: Wow, suggestions! I regret that I can't fulfill all of them immediately, due to where the story is at this point in time, but I promise more Meriweather is in the works.

C.L. Rhodes: Maybe a better question would be, what *won't* she screw up? I think she's got plans for Edoras, personally. At the very least, Helm's Deep will be, erm, interesting . . .