hand waves from under massive pile of assignments

I apologize for the long wait between updates, senior year has caught up with me and is now proceeding to swamp me with work. Thank you everyone for all the support I've received!

Disclaimer: I do not own LOTR, that belongs to Tolkien; the white paralt and the Kartoolian paralt belong to the wonderful Steven Erikson. I do own Cassie, and my friend owns Alla. Unfortunately, the Sue in this chapter also belongs to me. beats head on wall Where she came from, I really don't know, but if you want her, you're welcome to her.

Rating: PG-13 for swearing and mild violence

"What's the assignment?" Alla asked.

Cassie picked up the printout and read a few lines, then folded it into a paper airplane and threw it to her partner. "One of the usual code 10s. Let's go to Rivendell…even though we'll have to sit through a bastardized Council…" She got up, then began checking her satchel. "Cards, pipes, headphones…"

Alla scooped up her own satchel, flipping through the inducer's settings. "What do you want to be this time?"

"Whatever you want. You pick, I've gotta check my weaponry. It's a warrior Sue."

"She."

"No, it. She's got a high enough testosterone count for me to justify calling 'it' an It."

"So that makes her… XXXY then?"

Cassie straightened from digging in her cupboard and gave her friend an odd look. "You never took biology, did you?"

"Physics."

"Oh, right. Either way, wrong genotype, or she'd be male, with lots of interesting defects." The Protector grinned. "Aneuploidy in humans can produce some very interesting results. Including spontaneous abortion."

"Riight. Too much genetics for you." Alla shot back, checking her poison complement. It was, as always, full and very complete. She slipped it into her bag and glanced at the printout. "Damn, another Legomance…oh Eru, she's got Boromir on the side too. Why?"

"Possible threesome?" Cassie guessed, and saw her partner turn green. "Kidding. Hopefully, anyway."

"Hopefully." Alla keyed their disguises, looked at Cassie, and frowned. "What on Ear—" she reconsidered, and then said, "What in the name of Grima's greasy arse are you wearing?"

Cassie blinked at the creative epithet, then replied, "Leather armor. Boiled, oiled leather. It'll block most blades till I can kill their wielders." Cassie picked up her bag, set the portaller, and opened a portal. "Come on."

Thankfully, nobody at the Council noticed the two orcs hiding themselves in the bushes.

"You compiling, or me?" Alla asked.

Cassie stretched out in a patch of sunshine, looking like a very content… orc. "Mrrr."

"Guess that means I'm doing it." Alla pulled out a battered notepad and a pen, then settled in for a long wait.

When the Sue appeared, both Protectors rolled their eyes simultaneously. "Clichéd." Cassie whispered, voice close to a purr.

None of the men could take their eyes off her. She was Willow Foxblade, the crown princess of Lothlorien, with ankle-length auburn hair, violet eyes, a spitfire temper, and a misterious personality.

"Yep, misterious all right. Transparent, shallow, and insubstantial."

Gimli broke the silence with a gruff cough. "Who's the wench?" he demanded.

In the bushes, Alla applauded silently.

Willow jumped to her feet, trying to look incensed but only succeeding in petulant—but Legolas leaped to his feet, glaring at the Dwarf, then went into the standard stupid-Naugrim-don't-you-know-who-she-is rant.

Cassie plugged in a set of headphones, shutting her eyes and determinedly losing herself in her music.

The Council went on—albeit with a glancing reference to 'Elrond's daughter' that made the Protectors wince—until Gimli shattered his axe on the Ring.

Willow stood up and waved a hand over the pieces, restoring them to wholeness. Alla muttered something under her breath, jotting it down on the notepad.

From beside her, Cassie opened an eye. "Did you get the non-canon race charge?"

"Why, what is she?"

"Uh, let's see," Cassie narrowed a yellow orc eye. "Half elf and half… are there male dryads?"

"Not within my knowledge, and definitely not of mallorn trees."

"And she thinks Lady Galadriel would cheat on Lord Celeborn…" Cassie shook her head, suppressed anger gleaming in her eyes. Protectors tended to behave oddly when characters high in their favor were messed around with, and Galadriel happened to rank highly on Cassie's list. As a survivor from the First Age, her bloodline was generally considered inviolable by most Protectors, and woe to the authors who dared to change it. "Bint. She'll get what she deserves."

"Soon, Cass. Wait for the charges to tip the scale, and then we move. Try to think of some creative way to off her." Alla checked the Words and kept scribbling. "Damn that 'unbearably beautiful' voice."

The Council went on with as the movies dictated, although with a Tenth Walker—Aragorn still looked unimpressed with Willow, much to Cassie's delight, but when he tried to voice his opinion, Boromir jumped in, growling, "How would you know? You're just jealous that you don't even have a chance with her!"

Aragorn jerked back as if stung and Cassie let out a near-inaudible snarl. "Put that one down." Her fists bunched for a beat, then relaxed. "He wouldn't want you anyway, ya airheaded, incompetent, pathetic excuse for a fighter."

The Sue frowned. "Did you hear that?"

"No, what?" Boromir glanced around uneasily, while Aragorn rolled his eyes.

"And now she hears things nobody else does. Wonderful choice of a traveling companion." the Ranger murmured softly.

Hiding in the bushes, Cassie and Alla high-fived, then checked the Words. "How long more to do we have to stand this?"

Cassie raised her panpipes and played a few notes, then snagged a passing plothole. "Come on, let's plothole ahead to Hollin. She's making them arrive there in a day and then meet her cute animal friend, anyhow, so we can off her—ohshittimejump—"

The Protectors were sprawled on the forest floor again. "Aw, shit…headache…" Alla muttered.

"I still have the plothole. Wanna go?" Despite the rough landing, Cassie had managed to keep her grip on the plothole, but nearly lost it when the Author's Note thundered through their heads.

i kno im bein a b 2 Aragoarn but who cares? i mean, like seriously, hes dirty and disgusting…legolas and Boromir r like sooo much hottr…teehee buhbye!! Plz R&R!!

Alla loosened her grip on her head and glanced at her partner. Cassie was covering both ears with one arm, while her other hand held onto the plothole with a white-knuckled deathgrip. Her eyes were icy. "That little—" she added a string of uncomplimentary Chinese words, then finished the sentence. "—she's gone too far."

The taller Protector cast a nervous glance at Cassie. All Protectors were dangerous when their favorites were insulted, slandered, or otherwise messed with—and Cassie was no exception. Calling Aragorn 'scruffy' was not an issue, since she used that term for the Ranger with great affection, but 'dirty and disgusting' would definitely incur her wrath.

"Come on, the plothole's trying to escape." Prying Cassie's fingers loose, Alla hastily hauled her through the plothole before her partner committed homicide too early.

"How long do we have to wait?" Alla asked, calmly pulling out some knitting and settling in at an oak's base.

"A few minutes." Cassie raised her pipes and began playing some unidentifiable tune. "They'll be here shortly."

In that time, the Protectors made adjustments to their personal arsenals, and in Cassie's case, evaluated creative forms of justifiable Sue murder for painfulness.

The silence was abruptly broken by a voice that sounded like 'liqud honey'.

"Sticky and gooey?" Alla wondered aloud.

Cassie played a mocking little trill as an evil grin spread over her face.

"You've thought up a way to kill her? Or rather, it?"

Two notes in an 'uh-huh' pitch.

"Painfully?"

Again, the two notes, only with a half-pained, half-amused look that clearly said, "What were you expecting?"

"Good, let's go then."

Rising, the two Protectors made their way toward the Fellowship (plus one).

Willow let out a little shriek as two heavily armed orcs appeared from the bushes. Of course, Legolas and Boromir leapt forward to defend her, bow and sword raised respectively.

One orc sighed. "Now we have to deal with them, too? Anyway… our business is with the girl."

Shaking, Willow stepped forward. "What do you want?"

"Willow Foxblade, you are hereby charged with causing character rupture, causing logistically improbable and canonically impossible romantic liaisons—a bad idea when it comes to Galadriel—causing lovestruck-fool behavior twice over, creating nonexistent offspring, slandering Dwarves, slandering Aragorn—a really bad idea because of my partner—Tenth-Walker charge, disrupting the Fellowship, creating non-canon races—dryads are all female and mallorns don't have them—and messing them up in the process, time compression, causing three-millennia-year-old elves and mature men to act like spoilt human teenagers, using magical Mary Sue powers, giving inappropriate names to OCs, having an unbearably beautiful voice—"

"Don't forget 'annoying PPC agents'," the other orc growled. "Namely me."

"Yes, that, and being a Mary Sue. Therefore, you must die. Any questions?" Alla grinned ferally at the gaping Mary-Sue, who currently bore no small resemblance to a fish out of water.

The Sue finally found her voice and screamed, "Sky, defend me!"

A hawk shrieked—the squawk was abruptly cut off as the second orc seized a dagger from Willow and threw it. Feathers fluttered down around them. "Didn't want to do that." the orc muttered, then turned to Willow with a nasty grin. "Come, you. Judgment calls."

Boromir and Legolas both lunged at the orcs, but they moved too quickly. The first orc kneed Boromir in a part of the body where no male should ever be kneed, making him fold up with a whimper, while the second one slammed a dagger hilt into a certain spot behind Legolas' pointed ear. As the elf collapsed, it added, "Sorry."

Stepping over the unconscious elf, the orc grabbed Willow none too gently by the hair. "Let's go."

Dragging Willow, the orc stepped through a shimmering hole in the air, with the other orc close behind.

"Whew, that's better." Cassie shed the orc shape and stretched, all without letting go of Willow. "When we get back, remind me to brush my teeth." Reaching into her bag, she pulled out a vial—calmly stepping on Willow's hair, she eased open the vial and dipped a knifetip into its contents.

Alla frowned at the vial her friend was now resealing. "Where did you get that, and can I have some?"

"Last week, I met up with two friends who work in Erikson-verse. They brought me white paralt, Kartoolian paralt, and the beasts to produce both. The animals are back in the office, the poisons are with me, and I'll get you some when we get back." Cassie jerked her head at the portaller. "Take us to Zirak-zigil."

Her partner did as requested—Cassie unceremoniously yanked Willow through.

It was cold atop Zirak-zigil, but the Chinese Protector was whistling as she tied Willow up with chunks of the Sue's hair, then calmly gagged her. "Now, your punishment."

Kneeling atop a thrashing Willow, Cassie used the treated knife to cut a heart in Willow's arm, then carved 'Aragorn & Arwen' in its center. The knifetip came away bloody.

"See, there are two different types of paralt poison," she told Alla conversationally, turning her back on Willow. "White paralt comes from the snake—it kills in a couple seconds." Over an odd noise from Willow, she continued. "Kartoolian paralt, on the other hand, comes from the spider, and takes much longer to kill. The legend says that the spiders breathe their victim's living, pumping blood. Even if the legend's not true, it's still a nasty hemotoxin, and near-indistinguishable from white paralt. I sure can't tell the difference."

Cautiously, Alla glanced at the Sue. "Uh, Cass, she's dead."

"Ah, then that must've been the white paralt." Cassie carved a glyph into the stopper with a boot knife, cleaned the poisoned one on Willow's corpse, then sheathed both knives. "Pity."

"Show me the animals." Alla commanded once the two were back in the office.

From a dark, cool cupboard, Cassie produced two glass tanks, once containing a snake and the other containing a spider. She whistled softly—the snake lifted its head in answer. Putting her arm in, she pulled the snake out and milked its poison gently, then replaced the snake and repeated the process with the spider.

"Once a day. Milk, then feed." The Protector tossed a fist-sized chunk of unidentifiable meat into the snake tank and a huge locust into the spider tank. Both animals pounced and began tofeed as Cassie watched with a proud-parent expression.

"Your maternal look in relation to those beasts is… disturbing."

"Quit it, they're cute. Aren't you?" Cassie cooed, tapping the spider's tank. Pausing in its feeding, the spider reared onto its back four legs and chirped. Chirped cutely, at that.

Alla stared at the spider in utter shock. Just as she was about to say something—

BEEP!

Cassie smoothed her newly-acquired auburn scalp, grinning as her partner glared daggers at the speaker.

And another Sue bites the dust. makes mark on tally board and paints a kill silhouette on computer Hopefully, this kill wasn't as rushed as the first one. Please review and let me know what you thought!