Disclaimer: I do not own the Lord of the Rings or any of the characters, places or events therein. Translation, I own no part in any way shape or form of The Lord of the Rings. I do however call ownership of Jaden, Leigh, Maylin, Jack and Sean
Author's note: I have done everything in my power to keep this fic from becoming cheesy, and there is an explaination in later chapters of how they arrived in Middle-Earth, so hopefully that should help a bit. There should be more of a Narnia feel to this story than a Kid in King Arthur's Court feeling. Enjoy!
The sun was beaming down on the scene below her with a sweet smile of gentle warmth from her caressing beams. The earth seemed to bubble with carefree happiness in mirror image to the humans who walked on it's surface above. Winds swept playfully through the grass, encouraging it to play and dance along with it, and wondering why the grass did not follow. A few ambitious clouds chased each other across the sky in a breezy game of tag. A daisy nodded at the field around it, as a king would nod in approval of his subjects gathered before him.
Jaden kicked casually at the hard packed dirt in front of her. The day was far beyond pleasant, but there was one thing that would make it perfect... She sighed and looked up as a pack of giggling fairies walked by, kicking up a floating cloud of dust in their wake. The low, rough, wooden bench was starting to become uncomfortable and she glanced about for another possible roost that she could perch on during her long, long wait. In agitation, Jaden fiddled with the laces on her hooded jacket.
"What's keeping her so long?" Maylin asked from the bench.
"Who knows?" Jaden shrugged. "Your costume looks nice."
It really did, too. MayLin had decided to go all out for her costume this time and it had paid off. Loose white sleeves fluttered around her thin arms in stark contrast to the deep blue of her knee-length cloak. For the first time in who knew how many years, she wasn't wearing a skirt but was instead clothed in trousers befitting a warrior. It had been unanimously decided that all of the girls needed a break from dragging the blasted skirts over all of the fair ground all day long. They also made it impossible to play some of the better games there.
"Hmmm," Maylin acknowledged. "Thanks. I haven't seen Leigh's yet, have you?" Jaden shook her head.
"Nope, have you, Jack?" she asked in turn.
"What?" the boy asked, jerking his head up from his close inspection of the ground.
"Leigh's costume," Jaden repeated. "Ya seen it?"
"I say that we should throw Jack into the jousting ring this year," Maylin mused.
"At least we know now that you're paying attention," she laughed. "Don't worry, I don't want to be thrown out."
"Good," Jaden said. "Neither do I."
"Our long lost friend has appeared," Jack said, nodding toward an approaching couple.
"She's WITH someone," Maylin arched an eyebrow, making her look like a Vulcan with her prosthetic points on her ears.
The young woman approaching waved at them as the wind picked up her full length cloak and played with it like a child's toy. Beneath the billowing cloak a duster-like surcoat was visible above a dark green shirt. She grinned and batted at her long hair that the wind now threw in her face in a kind of game.
"Maylin, Jaden, Jack," Leigh grinned.
"Leigh," Maylin replied a little tartly.
"Oh, don't be mad," Leigh insisted. "I was unavoidable detained."
"By a certain young man I take it?" Jaden teased. Leigh rolled her eyes.
"As a matter of fact, yes," she laughed. "We met in the ticket line to get in. He's a fellow LOTR junkie, and his pals didn't want to come so... I said he could hang out with us."
"A fellow junkie?" Jaden hooted. "You're my friend! I'm Jaden, the Elf is Maylin, and the guy is Jack."
"Pleased to meet you," the new-comer said. "I'm Sean Thomas."
"Oh, formal now are we?"
"Not really no," he laughed.
"Good," Maylin grinned.
"Formality makes us nervous," Jaden joked.
Leigh walked along in the cheerful sunshine beside Maylin as they trekked to the games area. This year's festival seemed to be even better than the years previous, of course that might just be the affect of the intoxicating sunshine and pleasant heat it distributed. Then again, it could be delight in her still new-come freedom as a first year college student. She glanced at her friends around her. Maylin was the oldest by three years, making her a grand, old twenty-one, Jaden was a senior in high school this year and owned an impressive seventeen years, and of course Jack, who owned a simple fifteen years. Then there was this Sean...
"You're not mad at me for inviting Sean to join us are you?" she asked Maylin concernedly.
"Nah," Maylin shrugged. "At least now Jack has a guy to hand out with, and besides, he likes The Lord of the Rings, he's gotta be a great guy, right?"
"Oooo! Look, look!" Jaden bounced, pointing to two guys dueling it out on a log with straw-filled pillows. "I wanna do THAT! Who wants to fight me?" She whirled around and scanned her companions to see if there were any raised hands.
Jack raised his. "I'll go!" he exclaimed.
"She'll beat you to pieces, Jack," Leigh laughed. "You're too skinny to go up against her, she's got some muscle."
"I'll take that as a compliment," Jaden sniffed as she paid the game-keeper. "Now, Jack... have at 'ee!" She swung her weapon around her in a wide sweep that was pretty much guaranteed to hit something, even if it wasn't her opponent.
"Hey!" Leigh yelled, taking cover. "Easy on the civilians!" Jaden didn't even bother acknowledging the command, she just kept swinging and ducking and trying to keep from being knocked off the log.
"Well those two have found something to do," Maylin said as she turned around to face Leigh and Sean. "What so we want to do?"
"Archery is always a fun game," Leigh pointed out. "But I feel like trying my luck trying to hit the fool this year."
Maylin grinned wolfishly, she had always wanted to hit the fool. He sat behind a large board that declared 'food on fool' which was rather self explanatory. Even without the board though, there were enough insults thrown into the crowd by the fool that pretty much everyone already knew what they were supposed to do with the nice, mushy veggies that were laid out for throwing. It was actually rather difficult to hit the guy though, due to the distance between the throwing line and the fool. "Sounds good to me," she agreed. "I owe him big time."
"Doesn't just about everyone?" Sean laughed.
"Too true, too true," Maylin agreed.
"Hey!" Leigh yelled at the dueling duo. "We'll be throwing food at the fool! Come there when you're done!" Jaden gave a slight nod, which Jack took advantage of to give her a solid whack on the side of the head.
A small crowd was gathered around the game. The cocky fool called out insults to passerby who turned to their boyfriends and demanded that they deal vengeance on the offending party. This resulted in a rather long line that very rarely grew short. It was a rather good marketing tactic actually.
"Hey! Blondie!" the fool shouted toward them. Leigh kept walking toward the throwing mark like she hadn't even heard him. "Oh, yeah, act like you don't hear me! I'll bet you..."
Leigh grinned with fiendish delight as the squishy tomato splattered across the fool's face, mid-sentence, which she was sure meant that at least some of it had gotten into his mouth.
"Vegetable vengeance!" Sean hooted.
Leigh grinned and wiped her hand off on the grass. "I've been practicing that for years," she laughed. "Looks like it all finally paid off."
"Hello again!" Jack called as he and Jaden walked up.
"Who won?" Maylin asked. Jack bowed his head and pointed at Jaden who whooped and pumped her fist in the air in triumph.
"Same question," Jaden asked. "Who won? You or the fool?"
"We did," Sean laughed. "I splattered him pretty good, Maylin nailed his forehead, and Leigh hit his mouth... while it was open."
"Oh, awesome!" Jack cheered, high-fiving each of the victors. "He had it coming."
Suddenly a cloud passed over the sun, blocking it's light and heat. Jaden shivered. Leigh looked up and frowned. She glanced at Maylin who returned her look with a frown.
"Um, did anyone else notice that it suddenly seemed to get... colder, like really fast?" Jack asked worriedly.
"Yeah," Sean nodded. "But's more than just cold... it feels almost... evil."
"You guys are creeping me out, here," Jaden said, trying to lighten the mood or at least change the subject.
"I'm creeping myself out," Leigh laughed.
"Who's hungry?" Maylin asked.
"Me!" Jack and Jaden exclaimed at the same time.
"Turkey legs or beef stew bread bowls?" Sean asked, moving off toward the food section.
"Hey, wait!" Jaden yelled. "I know a short cut!"
"You know a short cut that we don't?" Maylin asked.
"Yeah, I found it a year or two ago when I got here early."
"You got here early?" Leigh teased.
From the moment that they turned into the alley, all five knew that something was terribly, dreadfully wrong. The air seemed to drop far more than was natural and freeze their lungs with icy terror. There were only two entrances to the alley, the one they had entered by, and the one straight ahead... that was blocked by a fear inspiring creature shrouded completely in black. The thing raised what might have normally been its head except that... there was nothing there.
Maylin grabbed onto Leigh's arm, who stood staring blankly ahead. "Nazgul," she gasped.
"Run!" Jaden screamed, trying to pull her friends back out into the world that had been normal a few precious moments ago. But even as they turned, the walls literally closed in behind them.
Leigh grabbed for the knife that she carried in her hip-sheath. As her hand moved toward the blade, the Ringwraith raised his hand and called out in black speech.
The world, no, the universe went black, dark and cold. No stars, no moon, no sun, nothing to bring even a faint light into the dark that engulfed them. Jack could feel his friends around him and tried to reach for them, but they were like specters in a heavy mist, impossible to lay hold of. A dim light gleamed in the distance, and he moved toward it like a moth to the flame. As he reached it, he knew that the wraith was there, waiting for them to come to the light. But he didn't care, he had to reach the light, had to feel it shining on his face...
"Are we dead?" a blurry face asked beside Jaden.
"If this is Heaven," she moaned, "I think we got ripped off."
A gruff chuckle answered her comment.
"You need not worry about that," the chuckling voice grated in answer. "Welcome to Middle-Earth."
"Middle-Earth?... What the..." Sean gasped, sitting up to see the others doing the same around him. His jaw nearly reached his chest as he saw the creature addressing them: a large, especially ugly orc.
"Hey," the orc frowned. "There were only supposed to be four of them. Three women and a boy, our master said. HE," here he pointed at Sean with his sword. "Was not mentioned."
"An unexpected guest," another orc grunted. "What's the matter? Forget how we deal with unexpected guests?"
"No," the other frowned. "But our master said..."
"That the women and boy were not to be touched," the second pointed out. "He didn't say anything about any young men that appeared..."
"Oh," the first one grinned. "Well then..." he jerked out his sword and swiftly ran Sean through.
"SEAN!" Leigh screamed. She fought feverishly against the ropes tied around her wrists and ankles in an attempt to reach her wounded friend.
Sean didn't even blink, he had forgotten how. The pain was real, but it didn't make sense to him. He was getting sleepy and dimly remembered that it was due to severe loss of blood. Then he thought no more of his wound, or anything else.
"Oh, man, oh, man..." Jaden stammered, staring at the limp body that had so recently been a living, breathing person who she had spoken with.
"This isn't real," Jack muttered. "This isn't real."
Leigh and Maylin looked at each other in mutual horror. They both knew the truth. This was real, they were the prisoners of orcs, and Sean had just died.
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