INTRUDER ON THE SET
(shrugs apologetically) No, I have no idea why I wrote this. It seems to be on my mind lately is all. Because really…wouldn't YOU be cross?
Lord of the Rings created by JRR Tolkein: Movies by Peter Jackson and New Line Cinema.
It is dark at the set of Helm's Deep, and the rain falls ceaselessly on the walls, the fallen, the cameras.
Filming is over for the night, and indeed it is almost dawn. Pale light is just beginning to leach across the sky. Under the glare of one single halogen lamp, two set gophers are busying themselves tidying up the corpses so that they may be used again tomorrow night.
The water makes a plinking noise as it falls on the armour, and one of the clean-up crew sighs and stops to swipe water out of his eyes with his sleeve.
"Damn this…can't they turn the sprinklers off now?"
"Bob said they have to purge the system so it doesn't rot," returns the other, picking up a rubber orc head and tossing it onto the pile with the other cast-offs. "Quit whining. We're nearly done. Here. Wear one of these if you're so worried about getting wet."
A discarded orc-mask hits the first man in the head. He rolls his eyes, but appreciates the point: the masks cover up everything. He slips it on, wrinkling his nose at the smell of it, and picks up a latex elf-head, covered in slick film gore.
"Say," he begins, hearing his voice sound oddly echoey inside the mask. "…don't you find any of this…you know…creepy?"
"What?" comes the reply from somewhere behind a pile of helmets. "Naaah."
"Well, neither do I," defends the first, feeling slighted, but he looks up in alarm when the sound of scraping abruptly starts up on the Deeping Wall level just above.
"Stu! Stu, do you hear that?"
"Hear what? I'm up to my ass in mud here, gimmie a break.."
The scraping noise continues. It has the distinctive ring of metal on metal, but sounds...fumbling…as of fingers struggling for a grip on a slippery surface.
Crew Member One carefully puts down the rubber corpse he was lifting, and his hand unconsciously closes around the hilt of a prop sword instead. He moves quietly and slowly up the slick stone steps, head cocked slightly within the mask to listen to the faint noises.
Scrape. Scrape. And then, very suddenly, clang, a resonating sound…and an orc helmet rolls down the steps, bouncing and clanging cheerfully in the pre-dawn quiet.
The crewman freezes as the helmet comes to rest, rocking gently, at his feet. There is a moment of utter quiet, broken only by his own breathing and the vague noise of Stu trying to shift a horse prop through the mud down below.
And then, from above, the sound of someone taking a sharp breath. The man stares, trying to pick out movement through the falling water and the poor light.
"Hello? Is there someone up there…?"
No reply. The crewman hefts the prop blade in his grip, and takes another step – and, he has to admit to himself at last, it is very creepy up here out of the range of the halogen light with the dribbling of water on the walls and the as yet un-cleared bodies.
His foot hits the top of the Deeping Wall, and he exhales quickly, to calm himself. Somewhere in front of him, in the shadows between crenellations, there is a figure standing. He can feel their gaze upon him, can hear now their laboured breathing.
"Hey," he says, feeling more confident now that it turns out they actually have an intruder rather than any of the more colourful fancies his mind had been providing him with. "Hey, you're not supposed to be up here…"
The figure takes a slightly unsteady step forward from the shadow. Golden armour gleams: a ragged sweep of red cloak catches under the figure's boot. Against the darkness, long hair as pale as barley seems to almost glow.
"No," says Haldir of Lorien, and his voice, although pained and weary, sounds very annoyed. "I am not."
Bright elven eyes flick to the sword in the crewman's hand, and slowly, despite an obvious wound in his forearm, the elf brings his own blade up to defend himself.
There is a moment where the crewman's perception of the universe tries to protect him from what stands before him – it tells him that this cannot be, that Craig is probably drunk, that the elf-sword is a prop, just like all the others. But there is something so shiny and sharp about the way the elf-sword appears as the intruder on the set makes a swipe with it – something so genuine in the way the intruder is favouring his injuries – that the crewman's protective perception melts before the spectacle of Haldir like ice before lava. He sees, now, the pile of rubber orc-bodies just behind the intruder, which seem to have been pushed up like a molehill, strewing them across the previously tidy set.
That's what the noises were…he dug himself out of the pile…
He also realises, in the next second, what a very stupid idea it is to be waving a sword at this point, and the replica blade drops from his nerveless fingers with a dull thud. Sadly, his insight fails to extend to the possibilities of the forgotten mask…
"Hey, man," he says, nervously, "I'm sorry you died. Really."
The elf-blade cuts a small nick out of his official crew jacket, and a shrill hiss of air escapes his lips as he begins to panic.
Haldir reaches up and wipes some blood away from the corner of his mouth with the edge of his torn cloak. "I did not die," he says, and his voice is hard, level.
"I can see that! That's a good thing, right?" Panic piques the man's voice. "Please don't hurt me…I'm not your enemy…"
Haldir's hand thrusts the sword forward, abruptly, and the metal length slides up through the man's neck with ease. The crewman does not even have the luxury of screaming, and his body folds to the wet stone almost peacefully, his final expression blessedly hidden behind almost an inch of brown latex.
The marchwarden of Lorien takes a moment to raise his head as the water cascades down from above. His eyes closed, he lets the rain wash his face of some of the mud and grime.
This done, he moves forward slowly, and the halogen lamp at the base of the steps catches his eye. He starts to stalk.
There is very little that escapes the notice of an elf-lord in high temper, and it will not be long before the name of his true destroyer reaches his ears. Even the anger of rabid Tolkein fans who railed against the removal of Glorfindel and Tom Bombadil will have nothing on the rage of an elf who has been buried in mud and corpses and left for dead…!