(Caution, If you haven't read the first two (Lord of the Rings:2003, and Lord of the Rings 2003:Back to M-E) go read them before you even START this one…just so y'all understand what's going on! )
An- Well…HERE WE ARE AGAIN! I know we said that we'd let y'all pick the girls' ending, but hey…we LIED! We honestly were just going to leave it at the second one, but then after the sequel was finished, the girls' story just didn't feel complete. People who write their own stories might understand what we're talking about…when a character's story just doesn't feel finished/complete it's hard to let it just stop. So here's the third and final part of The Lord Of The Rings: 2003 (which, with this one included, will be a trilogy…lol) story…hope you enjoy. Another big thing, is that all four of us are writing again (how long that lasts, I haven't a clue…by the end of the last one, Niori was writing all by herself). We feel that the development of characters is important and that this is a great opportunity to build up the characters and get to know them better before drawing the story to complete closure (Erin's words, not mine). It's going to be a darker story than the first two…and we kinda tweaked what really happened after the War of the Ring, For instance, Frodo did not go to the Grey Havens, instead he stayed in The Shire for his son, Elijah and to honour Erin's wishes. There's a few little things like that we've changed, but we hope you enjoy this story non the less…it's a whole new ball game in this one…and not everyone will come out of it alive…
Niori, Jane, Erin and Carla
" I wish," Erin whispered softly, " God I wish that I…that we, could see them again. I wish that we could all be together again…me and Frodo and Elijah…with all of our friends from Middle-Earth. I wish that you guys to be together with the ones you love again…I wish that we could feel like we belong again…"
A split second passed from when the words left Erin's mouth, and then there was a brilliant flash of white light…
Niori at first thought that her car had exploded as the blast of light engulfed her. She heard Carla, who was sitting in the passenger side beside her, give out a short cry of surprise as whatever happened, happened.
She grabbed onto the steering wheel tightly, trying to anchor herself from whatever had just happened. Niori opened her mouth to scream, but before the sound of fear could escape from her parted lips, it was all over…the light had subsided as suddenly as it had appeared, and Niori found herself still sitting on her butt, but this time not on the cushy leather seats of her Vett, but on the hard, cold and damp ground.
Niori's eyes flew open instantly as the light subsided, and frantically she looked around her. No longer was she in her car, sitting with her friends, but now she sat on the damp ground at the edge of a huge, expansive forest. Her heart leapt into her throat as her gaze wandered to the forest before her…God, it looked so familiar! Those trees…they looked so….
The thought was broken off as Niori realized one other thing that wasn't about her new scenery…the fact that she was all alone. Carla, Jane and Erin weren't here…though they had been in the car with her, they weren't here…
" CARLA!" Niori cried out, bolting to her feet and whirling around for some indication that her friends were there, " JANE! ERIN!"
There was no sound to answer her…only the beckoning silence that the forest responded with. It was so weird…not even any bird calls emitted from anywhere inside those creepy looking trees…it was like absolutely nothing lived inside that forest. The silence from inside it reminded her so much of what it had been like when, over a year ago, she had traveled through Fangorn Forest with the three Fellowship members, Jane and Carla…
Then it all hit her. Oh God…Oh God, the white light! The damn white that always flashed and appeared when somebody changed worlds…traveled between Niori's Earth and Middle- Earth…It hadn't been her car exploding at all…
" I can't be here," Niori heard herself whisper, running her palm down the base of a tree to see if it was real or not…this didn't just look like Fangorn Forest, Niori realized now, it was Fangorn Forest…" I have to be dreaming…none of this can be real. It's just another dream…"
She had been dreaming about Middle-Earth for the past year…dreaming about returning to the magickal world and then rushing into Legolas's arms and staying that way forever. Even though she didn't doubt that her (and the other three girls') decision to return home a year ago had been the right one, it didn't mean that she couldn't wish that she had stayed.
She felt tears sting her eyes, but she blinked them back. Damnit…she couldn't go through this! Not again! She had carried the pain of loss for the past year…and with every Middle-Earth dream she had had over the past year, that pain only got worse. It hurt so much to remember what she had lost…and the only thing that had really kept her sane this past year was Jane, Carla and Erin. They understood what she was going through…what she had lost…they were the only ones left in the entire world that could understand anything about her.
" Not again…please not again," she whispered to herself, taking her hand off a tree and wiping the tears from her eyes. She felt so weak whenever she cried like this…it hurt, but she highly doubted that anyone else (besides Erin, but that was obvious because she had lost her son too) burst into tears whenever they thought back to the memories of Middle-Earth.
Suddenly, she felt the edge of a pointed object poke lightly (just enough that she could feel it) into the small of her back. Her breath stopped short as she realized that a weapon was bearing into her back…and the fact she had absolutely nothing to defend herself with…her hand-to-hand combat skills left something to be desired. Niori's body went rigid, not from fear, but from the realization that if she tried to move to defend herself, she'd most likely die. And then after another moment, she realized that it was an arrow that was threatening her (which made her long for the protection her own bow provided).
" Don't move!" a silky, feminine and British accented voice commanded from directly behind her.
Niori silently cursed herself…she should have heard this person coming! It had only been a year, and because she had stopped using them, all of the skills she had learned when in Middle-Earth were rusty. She had used to be able to hear someone coming from half a mile away (when on guard, that is), but she hadn't been that aware of anything for a year…God, her weapon skills were probably rusty as hell too!
" How about," Niori forced herself to speak with an even voice that made her sound fearless, " you remove the bow from my back and point it somewhere else…or better yet, put the arrow away,"
The person behind her didn't answer…and Niori silently cursed again. Who the hell was this person! She waited in a somewhat fearful silence…what was this person going to do? Shoot her and leave her body laying somewhere on the edge of Fangorn Forest?
" Turn around," the voice spoke again, her voice cold and commanding, " very slowly,"
Niori, knowing she could do nothing else, slowly pivoted on her feet, making sure that her hands were within this person's sight. She made no sudden movements and when she had finally turned around and found herself facing her attacker, and she heard herself gasp.
Standing before Niori, her bow drawn tightly in Niori's direction was an Elf maiden. Besides just being an Elf, she had to be the most beautiful woman Niori had ever seen (and she had seen a few, Arwen, Gladriel and Eowyn among them). The She-Elf had a face that any fashion model would kill for; High cheekbones that made her face have an angelic shape, a small heart-shaped mouth that matched perfectly with the perfectly angular nose. Her eyes were perfect almond shapes, and were the most amazing sea colored eyes that Niori had ever seen, and the pale, creamy skin that she had only made these eyes stand out even more. Her head was covered in long, golden hair that cascaded down around her back and shoulders like a giant, golden wave. Sticking out from this magnificent hair, were the two, leaf shaped ears that all Elves had (which was a dead giveaway to their race). She wore a long, sea colored dress that clung to her perfectly curved body and brought out the rare color of her eyes. A small, silver quiver was attached to her back, and it matched the silver bow that the Elf held, drawn in her hand.
" Jesus," Niori heard herself whisper, not sure if it was the shock of seeing an Elf again or if it was from seeing this Elf's sheer beauty.
The Elf gave Niori a look over now that she could fully she her. As her sea colored eyes passed over Niori's jean Mini-skirt and Purple halter top, a look of suspicious confusion entered her eyes. As her eyes passed from Niori's clothes on to her face (which showed confusion and apprehension), she felt a cold certainty swell in her heart.
" Tell me," The Elf spoke, her voice seeming to drip with suspicion, " what kind of woman would wander around the edge of Fangorn Forest unarmed in times like these…"
Niori opened her mouth to reply, to tell the Elf that she had no idea how she had gotten here…that she was lost. Yet before the words could roll off Niori's tongue, the Elf spoke again and silenced her…her question had obviously been rhetorical.
" One who is either a simpleton or one who would wish to seem like one…to seem as someone not to fear," The Elf spoke again, a coldness in her voice like Niori had only heard once before…back when she was fifteen and her mother had told her she wished that Niori had never been born. It caused a shiver to travel up Niori's spine as the memories flashed back to her… " You are now my prisoner,"
Niori's mouth dropped open in surprise. What the hell was going on! Why the hell was this Elf treating her like some sort of spy…like the enemy! Last time Niori had been in Middle- Earth, there had basically been no 'enemy' left!
" I don't bloody well think so!" Niori spoke angrily, forgetting for a moment that she was unarmed and she found herself reaching for her (non-present) Elvish knife. As the Elf noticed Niori moving, supposedly going for some hidden weapon, she aimed her bow directly for Niori's heart…and at this range, there was no chance she'd miss.
Niori stopped short of reaching for where her weapons would have been (yet weren't…she still hadn't got used to not having them with her 24/7), realizing that this Elf maiden would not hesitate to kill her. Clenching her teeth together, Niori dropped her arms back down to her sides. She was not a battle she could win…it was either go with the Elf and get it straighten everything out later, or die here resisting her.
" You'll come with me to the assembled camp," The Elf hissed coldly, " Where you can be properly questioned. Now move!"
Gritting her teeth together, Niori let herself be led through the thick of the forest. They moved through the thick woods at a quickened pace, and Niori felt twigs and branches scratch her bare legs, arms and her face. The Elf moved behind her, making sure that Niori didn't try to make a run for it.
After about a five minute walk through the dark forest, Niori could see light breaking through the edge of the trees in front of her. They reached where the light was coming through and the two of them broke through the edge of the trees and Niori found herself out of Fangorn Forest and standing in the ruins of Isengard.
She felt her breath catch in her throat as her eyes rested on one of the many places she had thought she would never see again. As her gaze moved across it, she realized that it had all changed since she had been here last. The ankle deep water had receded since she was here last, and now the vegetation that Sauraman had once destroyed was growing back. Her skinny-dipping lake still remained at the far end of Isengard, and at that, she couldn't help but grin stupidly at it as she remembered her last encounter in it. She held up a hand to shade her eyes from the mid-day sun and let her vision go to Orthanc tower. Once huge and magnificent, now stood as crumbling ruins that looked like many of the ancient ruins of Niori's world. And now, dozens of tents stood erected in the lawn type place, and with those tents, were about three dozen people of every race (mostly Men though) were present, making their way around the camp like they had been living here forever.
She didn't have time to think about what all this meant. She only had time to let the thought 'Oh God…I'm really back' pass through her mind before the Elf maiden (who had replaced her bow mere minutes ago) pushed on the back of Niori's shoulder, sending her stumbling into the camp.
As she stumbled into the camp, the Elf came up behind her and continued to lead her further inwards. She spared no gentleness for Niori, in fact, the She-Elf was holding on to her arm as tightly as she could and leading her just as rough.
' Where the hell is she taking me-' Niori began to think, but the rest of the thought was broken as a voice called out.
The voice had called out suddenly, and as it's last syllable ended, the Elf maiden stopped walking and turned around, apparently the name was hers…
But she wasn't the only one who had stopped walking at the call of the voice. As soon as the voice had called out, Niori found herself frozen…completely unable to move. She stood perfectly still, her stance in mid-step and her breath and voice caught in her throat, the total uncertainty of moments ago crashing down around her as that one word was called out across the camp.
Oh God…she knew that voice! It was the very same voice that had haunted her dreams for the past year…the voice that she had imagined hearing every time someone had called out her name.
It seemed as though Niori's heart had stopped beating and she had to force herself to take a shallow breath as she slowly forced herself to turn around, from where the voice had called from. She felt another shock wave tremble through her body as her cerulean eyes rested on the person who had called out.
God, there he was…just as he had been on her very last day in Middle-Earth…just as he had appeared to her in almost every dream she had had since she had left.
" Legolas…" she heard whisper, not even realizing she had gotten the ability to speak back, and brought a hand up to her mouth from surprise.
Legolas, who stood near the middle of the camp and had called out when he had seen Lillianna crossing though the camp ( she had been blocking Niori out of his view as of then), also felt every molecule of his being stop moving when the woman who was walking with Lillianna, turned around to face the direction he stood in…when he realized that the woman was Niori…his Niori.
His mouth parted in a small 'O' of surprise as the realization hit him. It was really her…Gods, she looked almost exactly the same as he remembered her. The only difference between her appearance now than the day she had left, was now bright red streaks ran down through her golden brown shoulder length hair. She was still beautiful…and that was something that Legolas could not understand. After all this time, why had age not marred those beautifully crafted features?
Suddenly, the paralysis that had seemed to grip Niori's entire body was broken, and without so much as another moments hesitation, she rushed across the courtyard and closed the gap between Legolas and herself.
When she reached him, she put her hands on his chest and pushed him backwards until the Elf's back connected with a closest solid object (which happened to be the side of a tent which was only about a foot behind where he had stood) and when his back connected with it, Niori moved her hands off his chest, wrapped her slender arms around his neck and brought her lips up to Legolas's with a sense of urgency that was seeming to rip her apart. Legolas, for but a moment, was completely blindsided by this sudden re-appearance of the woman he loved, but that soon wore off as he felt her soft lips moving against his own. He brought his arms around Niori's lower back and pulled her body tighter into his by pulling her closer and lifting her off the ground.
A small moan escaped from the back of Niori's throat, and it was that small sound that brought both Legolas and Niori back to reality. Their lips reluctantly parted, and Legolas let his arms untangle from behind Niori and her feet once again landed on the ground. They stood there silently, staring into the other's eyes, wondering if this was really real or mayhap just another dream.
"God," Niori heard herself whisper, her lips already starting to swell from the sheer intensity of the kiss she and Legolas had just shared, "I must be dreaming…"
" Then don't wake up Niori," Legolas replied softly, running his fingertips down the side of one of her cheeks, "Because dream or not, I couldn't bare to lose you once again,"
Niori's lips parted to speak, but she didn't know what to say. She had waited a year for this moment…waited in vein for Legolas to find her once again in her time as he had promised, and here she finally was, but she couldn't think of a thing to say. She let the silence rest, knowing that it was not the kind of silence born out of awkwardness, but that of shock…shock of seeing someone you love again after so many years…
Before either could think of speaking again, someone beside them cleared their throat loudly. Niori and Legolas diverted their gaze from each other to the direction where the sound had come from.
Three people (two Elves and one Human) stood about a foot away from them, watching Legolas and Niori with mixed expressions. The one who had cleared his throat, was a male Elf, who looked on at the two with an amused expression and a twinkling in his clear eyes…and Niori realized that this other Elf and Legolas looked so much alike. Standing beside the Elf, a look of shock on his young face, was a human boy who looked to be about two years or so younger than Niori…and damn if he didn't look like a young version of Aragorn (Legolas had been talking to these two as Niori arrived)! Lastly, standing there with a face full of rage turning her creamy skin red, was the Elf maiden who had taken Niori as her 'prisoner' when she had forest arrived back in Middle-Earth.
"What is going on!" the Elf maiden cried angrily, her sea colored eyes full of both anger and confusion.
" Yes brother," the other Elf spoke, amusement shining in his eyes, " do introduce us to your…friend,"
Niori looked away from these strangers and back up to Legolas for some sort of confirmation of who these people were. Seeing the questions in her eyes as she gazed up at him, Legolas opened his mouth with a small smile, going to answer Niori before she spoke. Yet before the words could roll off of his tongue, Niori was whirled around violently out of his arms as Lillianna (the Elf maiden) gripped on to the girl's shoulder and brought her around to face her.
" What is your problem?" Niori cried angrily, forcing her shoulder out from the Elf maiden's grasp. Despite the fact that she was confused as hell, she was NOT going to let this bitchy Elf push her around.
" My problem," the Elf named Lillianna hissed at her, " is that you were just kissing my betroved,"
Her eyes squeezed shut against the blinding white light, Jane landed hard with a desolate 'thud' on the cold, hard forest floor. Behind her closed eyelids, she could see the light vanish instantly.
Wait a minute- forest floor! A split second ago she'd been sitting with Erin and taking to her friends! Speaking of which, where were they?
With this extremely uncomforting thought in mind, Jane uneasily opened her dark blue eyes…and was more than slightly surprised to find herself sitting in the middle of a dark, forest path, surrounded by tall dense walls of deep green vegetation, terribly alone.
As this drastically new scenery connected with her shocked, slow-moving mind, Jane found it within herself to get up before she got mud all over her new white capris.
"Oh my God, where I am?" Jane asked herself weakly, "I'm in a sinister, slightly creepy forest. Somewhere…alone. But I'm not in Middle-Earth"- She added quickly, forcing back the thought that had been tearing at her mind since the white light first appeared. Jane could honestly say she wasn't sure whether or not she really wanted to be in Middle- Earth. It seemed like there was nothing waiting for her there, but there was nothing for her in her world either.
"Maybe…maybe I'm in a coma! Maybe I got knocked out or something!" Jane tried and failed to convince herself, thinking that maybe a coma was a better alternative to actually being in that world again…but that thought was quickly wiped from her psyche as she heard a branch snap in the woods behind her.
Jane spun around, her right hand flying to her belt, as if expecting her sword to be there. She had been doing that constantly for the past year, every time someone startled her. I think during last year, when I was half-expecting to be stabbed in the back at any waking moment, my nerves got somewhat shot! Jane thought, wishing desperately she had her sword. It was actually hidden in her closet behind her bookcase (on which perched "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy) wrapped in her dress from Rohan-
"No! No! Stop thinking about Middle Earth! There's no possible way you could be"-
Another twig snapped, closer to her this time. Jane was beginning to feel extremely vulnerable without her weapon. Her heart was beating rapidly in her chest as the footsteps became clearer...they were directly in front of her….
A young man's head appeared between two trees. He seemed hardly older than Jane herself. Caught off guard, Jane lost balance, falling back onto the undergrowth. This time she didn't bother to get up.
The young man smiled awkwardly at Jane, holding out a hand to help her up. A bit embarrassed, she took his hand and he pulled her up.
Now that she was off the ground and could really see him, Jane realized that this guy had the most striking features she'd ever laid eyes on (counting Aragorn). He was only about as tall as she was, with an angular, contoured face and prominent cheekbones that Jane could have sworn she'd seen before. His head was topped with a mane of dark brown curls. He wore plain clothes of green and brown, and no shoes. His eyes- they were huge, and bright aqua blue.
He discreetly looked her up and down, his eyes pausing briefly on her clothes. Jane tore her gaze away from him (and prayed she wasn't drooling).
"I thought I heard a voice." the man said in a deep voice, and Jane thought she heard an English accent- something she hadn't heard in what felt like an eternity. Suddenly, it seemed to her that it didn't matter whether she was in Middle- Earth or not…Jane just hoped that her friends were here (wherever 'here' was) as well. And she also half-hoped that she wasn't hallucinating…this guy was incredible!)
"Yeah, uh, I have a bit of a habit of talking to myself." Jane smiled at him sheepishly, trying not to stare into his eyes for too long.
"You talk differently. Where do you come from?" He asked suddenly, a note of suspicion in his voice. Jane supposed it was her accent (or lack thereof).
"Well, actually I'm from um, Canada...but that's not important right now. The point is, you have absolutely no reason not to trust me, because I'm-", she showed him her vacant belt where her beloved sword did not rest, "-not armed. I have no magic powers, no…bloody…backup…and absolutely no idea where I am." She finished lamely, throwing her hands in the air and shaking her head in despair.
"You mean, you're lost? Well, I could take you back to the camp with me…" He thought, his eyes traveling over her again, probably sizing her up, guessing how much damage an unarmed teenage girl could inflict. When he thought of nothing, he nodded to himself. "Yes, you can come."
"I just have two questions before we go." Jane spoke holding up two fingers. "One," she held up one finger, "have you come across any other funny sounding girls like me around here?"
He shook his head.
"Oh damn. You're sure? Alright next question- Where exactly am I?"
He looked her questioningly, as if she was telling some sort of joke. "Why you're in Fangorn forest!" He motioned to an area far behind him, "We're just outside of Isengard."
Sighing, she nodded slowly, this information slowly trickling through her brain. She closed her eyes…all of this didn't really come as a surprise to her. Now the main question was - How the hell did she get BACK here?
"Yeah…I thought I recognized these horrible trees!" Jane grinned, opening her eyes and boldly taking his built, tanned arm. "Show me the way to this 'camp'!" She spoke.
It was at this moment as Jane looked down that she noticed the small sword that the young man had attached to his belt. It was a small Elvin dagger. With a gasp of realization, Jane remembered on who she had last seen that small sword.
"That- that's Sting…" Jane whispered. She let go of his arm and stopped walking- Jane doubted she'd ever be able to walk again. Her eyes wide with what felt like shock mixed with happiness, she looked at the young man, who was now staring at her cautiously.
"Yes...yes it is…but I thought you said you weren't from here."
"I-I'm n-not," She stammered, "But- Who are you? What is your name?'
"I should like to know your name before I tell you mine, miss." He looked mildly distrusting.
" Okay, well…I'm Jane."
"My name is Elijah."
Carla had been in the middle of a very amusing argument with Erin, something about why she(Carla) got the front seat and she had to sit in the back seat of Niori's car...when out of nowhere when a blinding white light exploded in her vision. At first she had thought that Niori had managed to be incredibly stupid and crash the car and she was now dead. But as soon as she opened her mouth to yell at Niori for killing her, the light faded and she found herself flying into a really hard, really big tree.
"Who the hell put that goddamned tree in the middle of the car!" Carla yelled…rubbing the back of her head where it had impacted with the tree. Opening her closed eyes she looked around. Somehow she had gone from sitting in the car to sitting on the ground in some creepy forest. Looking around some more she came to the realization that she was missing her friends... the had disappeared along with the car, the road, and the city they had been driving in. What the hell had happened?
Just then she heard a noise behind her and them voices. Standing up, Carla pressed her back against the harsh bark of the tree she had originally hit. Slowly moving to the edge of the tree Carla wished desperately she had her sword and bow... but noOOOOOoooo... just cause she had threatened some asshole who had tried to come on to her the time she had a headache and the time she had attacked that stupid prep from school after she punched (more like slapped her in the face) she wasn't allowed to carry around her bow or sword whenever she went out with the gang.
"Just because they don't think it's amusing to threaten people with weapons." Carla murmured quietly, listening as the two voices got closer to the clearing she was in. One voice sounded hauntingly familiar to her, it almost sounded like...no, it wasn't possible. For one she'd have to be back in Middle Earth and for two...it just wasn't possible!
Shaking the small amount of hope that was creeping into her heart and mind, Carla again focused on the approaching men, for some reason she had a feeling that she didn't want them to see her. Just then the two men pushed their way through the brush surrounding the clearing. The voice that had sounded familiar now definitely like his voice...she had to see, she had to know for sure.
Whirling around the trunk of the tree Carla came face to face to the one image that had never left her mind in over a year. She came face to face with the smiling visage of the one man she had ever loved...Eomer.
"Eomer?" Carla whispered to herself, disbelieving what she saw before her. "Please tell me it's really you and not a figment of my imagination." She said, slowly walking towards him while he stared back at her in apparent shock. He slowly began to walk towards Carla. Carla broke into a run and jumped into his open arms, hugging him with all her strength. Burying her head into the small nook between Eomer's neck and shoulder and wept. Carla couldn't contain her joy at seeing him again. Eomer hugged her just as tightly. Just then the rejoined couple was interrupted by the other man's voice.
"Um...father, who in the name of Valar is that?"
Erin had her eyes open as the light flashed brightly, she covered them quickly and let out a little scream. Before she knew it, the sensation that she was falling was taking over her body. The first part of her to hit the solid ground was her head. Besides where it had landed, the rest of the ground was full of long grass and in need of a trim but Erin wasn't complaining, the grass made the fall softer. The first word to leave her mouth was, "Ouch."
Her left arm was twisted painfully under her body and she slowly removed it. Her eyes were still closed and she could see circles of light beneath her eyelids, just like after you finished getting your picture taken. With a soft moan, she opened her eyes a little. She was expecting it to be extremely bright once again, but she was surprised to see she was under a huge tree. The shade was cool and she shivered a little as it seemed to wrap its arms around her bare shoulders. "What's going on?" She asked herself, looking around a little.
Despite the sudden jolt and flash she seemed pretty calm...for now. "Maybe we crashed and I flew into someone's yard or something. That's what it felt like, anyway".
She looked around a little more and realized that there wasn't a road anywhere near her and no cars either. "Something's very familiar about this place".
She looked around frantically now, hoping to see Jane, Carla, or Niori but there was no one at all. Just then she spotted some strange houses in the distance. Houses that were built into the ground...holes...hobbit holes! "No way, I must be dreaming or something".
Now she saw what looked like miniature people in their gardens, planting seeds and raking. With a sigh of realization, Erin put her hand to her head. Her forehead was bleeding and it stinged sharply as she touched it. She wanted to scream out to her friends, but she didn't want attention drawn to her. Instead, she crawled slowly in the grass, staying as low as she could. She did this for a few minutes before giving up. Sitting down in the sun, a scary thought came to her mind. "What if I was the only one who made it here? What if the others are still back home in the car, asking themselves how I just disappeared?"
She didn't want to be alone in Middle-Earth, it was the most frightening thought. The dangers here were magnified almost everywhere and she knew of course...but she was very thankful to have landed in The Shire. To her it was the least threatening place of them all.
Erin let herself fall back onto the soft grass and she closed her eyes again, realizing for the first time how exhausted she was. Sleep rarely came to her since the year she had left here. When she did sleep, her dreams were filled with Frodo and Elijah and Sam and everyone. All of the hard times they had here were all worth it in the end, just to know each other was worth it. Before Erin knew it, she drifted off into the first comforting sleep she'd had in a long time.
"Hello...Hello?" Said a hushed voice.
Someone was shaking her. She woke with a start and her eyes snapped open, taking in a hobbit about Frodo's age. He had long blonde locks and his eyes were just as blue as Frodo's. He wore green pants and a white shirt with a brown vest over it. He was one of those lucky hobbits who was very handsome and had a sort of mysterious gleam in his eyes. Erin started to back up a bit with her hands, "Who...who are you?" She asked, a little scared.
She knew she shouldn't be scared of hobbits but she didn't know what The Shire was like these days. "Don't be scared, please. I'm Berilac Brandybuck, I won't hurt you," He said.
Erin's mouth dropped open a little, "Did you say Brandybuck?"
"Indeed I did".
"Are you related to Merry?"
"Ah yes, indeed I am".
"Wow, he's...he's a good friend of mine".
Berilac nodded, "He's my cousin".
Erin thought about this for awhile, letting the silence set in. "What's your name, then?" Berilac asked, curiously, "You must be a human".
"My name is Erin and you are right, I am a human".
"But why are you here and where did you come from?"
"That could take awhile to explain..." Erin replied, with a faint smile.
"Well, come and have a cup of tea with me and we can talk for awhile," Berilac offered.
Erin was really intent on finding Frodo soon but she politely accepted. As she walked through the grass to the hobbit hole, she couldn't help but take off her plaid converse shoes and socks. The feel of grass from The Shire on her feet again felt amazing, almost dream-like.
Sitting across from Berilac in a chair that was a bit too small, Erin nibbled on a biscuit he had offered to her. She slowly explained to Berilac everything that had happened over the past couple of years. For some reason, she felt she could trust this hobbit one hundred percent. He was innocent and he listened intently, taking in every bit of my story she had to share. When she was at the end of the long story, the last bit of tea in her cup had turned cold from her neglection. To conclude the long tale, Erin said the last few words that she had wanted to ask from the very start, "Do you know Frodo?"
Berilac nodded eagerly, "Of course I know Frodo! He's a hero around here, he always has been! Along with the other hobbits involved. Frodo always talks about you, he's said only good. Everyone here always wanted to get the chance to meet you and I am so lucky I have. I am honored. As for Elijah...I was just talking to him last week actually".
Erin's eyes watered at the thought of her son. In that moment she wanted to know everything about him, all of the years she missed of his life, she wanted to make them all up to him with as much love as possible but first she knew she would have to ask Berilac what he knew. "Thank you. Do you know where he is right now?"
"Well, Frodo is at Bag End I would think, but Elijah...he set off for Fangorn forest a couple of days ago..."
Erin's eyes widened now, "Why?"
"I don't know, maybe just for something to do?"
She nodded in agreement, "Tell me, does Elijah ever talk about me? What does he say? Does he hate me for leaving?"
Berilac looked a little confused, "I can't answer those questions very well. I do know I've only heard him talk about you once. It was only a brief reference, not enough to let in to what he felt about you".
The glow in Erin's eyes faded at this and she felt the start of a frown begin to shape on her face. She got up quickly, as if something had startled her and managed a small smile towards Berilac, "Thanks for all of your help. I think it's best if I go and see Frodo now. I hope you will keep this discussion between us and I hope to see you again soon".
Berilac bowed his head and got up to kiss my hand before I left, "It's been my pleasure. I give you all of my respect and I wish you luck with everything".
As Erin walked on her way to Bag End, she got various looks from different hobbits. Some were curious, others looked knowing or concerned. She came to the rocky road leading up to the hole and she put her converse back on quickly. Erin was very nervous and she knew this wasn't something surprising when it came to her. She was the kind of person who got really close to a person and could act like herself but if she didn't see them for a long time and then got back together with them to hang out she would be shy all over again, it was like she just met them. Of course, the shyness didn't last for long and she would return to her normal self in little time. Erin really didn't know why she acted like this at all, it was very strange to her and she didn't know if it was common or not.
When Erin reached the door of Bag End she paused and took a deep, shaky breath. This wasn't the easiest thing to do. What would she say? How would Frodo react? Finally, after a few minutes to get herself under control, she rose her left hand and knocked on the door three times. No one answered and Erin tried to be patient, but after a minute passed she knocked again. Still no answer. Erin tried to turn the doorknob and found that it was unlocked. She turned it slowly and walked into the hole. It was very quiet and Erin couldn't help but feel a little uneasy at the silence. "Frodo?" Erin asked, in a normal voice.
There was no answer. Erin quickly looked in all of the rooms of the house, calling out Frodo's name as she did so but there was still no response. She finally gave up and decided to look around. First, she headed towards Frodo's old room. She walked in and saw that by the looks of it, it belonged to her son now. She saw what seemed to be a green journal of some kind on the desk near the window and she walked over to it quickly. She picked it up and ran her fingers down the binding. There was nothing on the cover to identify who owned it or what it was. Erin debated with herself whether she should open it or not, finally she decided on taking a peek. She did feel that she had a right to know what was going on lately. Slowly, she opened the book to reveal beautiful hand-writing that looked to be Frodo's but it was not. She saw on the other side of the cover that it did indeed belong to Elijah.
The first entry in the journal was dated what seemed to be a little over a year ago. Erin saw that there were some stains on the page of the entry and she recognized them immediately. It was impossible not to because she was very familiar with tear stains, almost every time she wrote in her diary they were present, lingering like the most dreadful of thoughts. Erin put her full attention into the journal and started to read.
"My Father got me this journal a few days ago. He thought it was a good place where I could release what I had been thinking about all of the time. Of course by that I mean my mother, Erin. I never got to meet her because she left when I was only a baby. I haven't even seen a painting or anything of her but Father has described her appearance as well as I could get him to and I made a few drawings of what I think she looks like. Father said they were very well done considering the circumstances. I am so intrigued by everything I can learn about her but I am also very angry. She shouldn't have left me and Father to live on our own. Why did she have to leave? Even though I've been told she loved me very much I still feel she hated me deep down inside. Why else would she have gone? Was she uncaring and self-centered? Father refuses to tell me anything about her character and he doesn't like to discuss her. When I do ask something, he ends up spending the rest of the day and night in his room with the door locked. I only gain small amounts of information at a time and I have to be very careful about what I ask so I don't upset Father. Maybe someday I will know the true story about her. Right now I can truthfully say I hate her for what she has done to us..."
Erin found she couldn't read anymore, she was so upset that she dropped the book onto the floor and soon collapsed right in front of it. She put her hands over her face and started to sob, the tears leaked out and fell to the ground. One actually hit the book to join the rest of the tear stains. She kept thinking more and more about the entry, especially how now she knew Elijah was very angry and that he hated her. "No wonder he doesn't talk about me, he despises me and he has the full right to," Erin thought to herself.
Quietly, Frodo came into the house where he knew Erin would be waiting for him. He ran into Berilac Brandybuck when he went for a short afternoon walk and he had told him that Erin had visited and that she went to Bag End. Now, Frodo walked around the house looking for her. He stopped abruptly when he saw her bent down on the floor of Elijah's room. He hid against the wall when he saw Erin turn around and he saw her for the first time in years. She was just as beautiful as he remembered. Her hair was streaked light blonde from the sun but nothing seemed strikingly different about her to the eye. Frodo took a deep breath and decided to go for it. He walked slowly into the room, careful not to give himself away just yet.
A set of firm hands were placed on Erin's shoulders and she let out a startled gasp. She turned around quickly and her heart dropped to her stomach. There, standing in front of her was the love of her life, Frodo Baggins. She didn't know what to say, his appearance caught her completely off guard. "Erin..." Frodo said, slowly, "My Erin...beautiful as always".
Erin sobbed into her hands once again, but this time it was not because of Elijah, it was because she never thought she'd see Frodo again. "Frodo!" Erin managed to say.
She looked up at him and saw that tears of amazement filled his eyes now. She instantly jumped up and wrapped her arms around him. They engaged in a long, passionate kiss. When it ended, Erin spoke, "Oh Frodo! This can't be real..."
They parted slowly from each other's embrace and stared into each other's eyes. "I can't let you go. I'm scared I'll lose you once again but...Erin...how are you here? I don't understand?"
They sat on Elijah's bed and Erin started to explain what had happened. "So you don't know where the others are or even if they are here, for that matter?" Frodo asked.
Erin nodded as more tears rolled down her cheeks. She looked down at the book she had dropped and started to feel completely miserable again. She wasn't wanted here...she knew it. "Erin, you shouldn't have been reading that..." Frodo said, sternly.
"Elijah hates me!"
"No...he doesn't really. He's just confused. I didn't let him in on the whole story. I didn't think he was ready".
At first Erin felt angry at Frodo for not telling Elijah much about her but then she realized in those few moments that there was a good reason. He was just trying to protect him from the painful truth that Frodo and Erin had to endure every day for a long time. "Frodo...I love you!" I cried, falling into his arms again.
"I love you too," He whispered in her ear.
An- And here we are…the end of the first chapter of the triquel (did I make that word up or is it actually real?)! The girls have each discovered something quite surprising…and hell, Erin isn't even in Fangorn with the rest of em! There's more surprises ahead for the girls…and to find them out, you'll have to wait until next chapter to find them out! Please review and let us know what you thought about this chapter! Until the next chapter,
Niori, Carla, Erin and Jane!