A lone woman sat upon a secluded bench in the middle of a bustling city reading serenely one of her favorite books. She blended into society well and that was just the way she liked it. She had no outstanding features and had no desire to dress in a way that made her noticeable to any passer-by. All in all, she blended in. Her mid-back length black hair was not straight, but not wavy either and her bangs were swooped down in front of her emerald eyes and hid them from view. Her slim legs clad in regular jeans were crossed at the knees with an old book set on top that was worn at the binding from too much use. Holding the book there were two long slim hands that bore only a ring upon the right ring finger. The torso of the woman was plain clad only in a simple blue t-shirt and a black vest that covered her bust.
Her eyes scanned quickly over the pages of the rather thick but small book as her sneaker clad feet bounced slightly as she tried to regain feeling in them. Needless to say, the woman had been sitting there for countless hours trying to read in the noise of horns, footsteps and screeching tires braking on the grey pavement. Normally she wouldn't go out to the park unless it was a little later for peace and quiet, but today she felt it would be nice to read under the beauty of the tall trees and the song of the birds. Another loud horn from a nearby car spooked her out of her reading and she sighed in irritation then stood and decided to go deeper into the trees for more peace and quiet.
Now, looking at this woman you'd think she was the all original British woman, but getting to know her more you'd understand that this was not the case. Unlike most women in good o' England, she was blessed with the unfortunate gift of clumsiness. She hardly kept her eyes on where she was going and often tripped on various things including her own feet. In fact, the only things she could really keep her eyes on were her books and her choice of clothing.
As the woman tried to find a nice shady spot within the trees she marveled at the beauty of them. Her mind was not on her book anymore nor was it on the fact the little bushel of trees did not go out so far. The park was big, but not that big. She failed to notice that the sounds of the city were now nonexistent and how she had dropped her book some few meters behind her. She did notice, however, that the trees she was now walking through were taller and looked old and dying as their many dead leaves fell from them and how the birds had stopped singing their beautiful song. The crickets didn't even chirp, nor the bees buzz. All was silent. Even her footsteps couldn't be heard on the crunchy leaves beneath her feet. She wondered briefly if she had gone deaf, but soon dismissed the thought when she heard voices ahead of her. She quickened her pace her feet still not making any sounds on the ground and finally she saw the tree line. She sighed in relief when she realized she was still in the city and that the small forest in the park had grown.
Her relief was short lived when she caught a root on her foot and she went tumbling out of the trees and down into hard rock covered grounds. Rolling over large and small rocks had her body aching in pain and when she finally stopping it was only because a rather large boulder had stopped her decent. In other words; she crashed ungracefully into a giant rock and smacked her head against it pretty hard.
"Ow…" She grumbled and coughed slightly trying to regain the air that was knocked out of her. She rolled onto her stomach and groaned in pain. Soon she heard hurried footsteps coming closer to her and relaxed slightly. Her body ached too much to be tense. Suddenly someone gripped the back of her shirt and turned her over so she was on her back. She cried out in pain, her back hurting the worst and her attacker immediately let her go. She coughed again, her face contorting into one in pain and groaned again.
"My Lady?" asked a voice her right and she grunted in response, thinking he said 'Hey Lady' not 'My Lady'. "Please, do not move. You are injured."
"Yeah, like I can't tell by the pain," She grumbled out sarcastically. Her eyes were clenched shut and he took deep breathes to make sure she was getting air. With each breath, though, her back cried out in protest. Suddenly a hand was on her forehead and someone the mumbling words she couldn't understand. Soon she didn't care for some of the pain coursing through her body vanished and though there was a slight ache left she felt so much better. Huh, she thought, I didn't even feel them inject the morphine. Damn these paramedics are good.
The pressure on her forehead left as the hand was removed and the crunching of stone gave her the impression that someone was moving to stand from a crouch. She sighed and relaxed even more as the ache lessened a little more leaving a dull throb in her back and the back of her head where she hit the boulder. She opened her eyes then and what she saw surprised her. Before her stood four men, a hairy midget and four little kids. All of them were dressed like they just came from a renaissance fair wearing cloaks, tunics, breaches and even swords and bows were with them. The old man even had a staff and a huge wizard's hat. Suddenly she wished she hadn't been found by a group of wackos.
"My Lady," said the man her right and she recognized his voice as the one she spoke to before. He had dark wavy hair that went to his shoulders and a scruffy moustache and beard. Under dark brows he had blue, slightly grey, eyes that seemed so kind. His clothes where all dark save for his shirt under his tunic that appeared to be a cloudy misty blue. "Can you stand?"
The woman nodded and he held out his hand as he stood to help her up. They may be crazy, but they sure are friendly. She took his hand gratefully and without much effort he hoisted her from the rocky ground and to her feet. She swayed slightly at first and the man put a hand around her back to keep her steady. She nodded to him when she was able to stand on her own and he let her go. She took this chance to look everyone over.
Behind the man that helped her up was another man similar to him. He had long wavy hair to his shoulders too and a scruffy moustache and beard too only his was a dirty blonde and his features were squarer with a heavy jaw. His eyes shone a light blue in the sunlight as did the intricate designs of a white tree on his clothing.
Next to him was a rather young looking man, about her age, with long mid-back length blonde hair that was braded and pulled back at the sides of his head by braids revealing his rather odd pointed ears. He had no hair on his face save for his matching blonde brows that loomed over sparkling ocean blue eyes that looked so innocent. His clothing was more elegant than the other men's as his did not have a long cloak or a sword at his hip. Feathers of arrows, the end of a long bow and hilts of what the woman guessed to be knives were visible by his head. His tunic and breeches were the colors of a forest with silver designs snaking along the chest.
The hairy midget behind him held an axe almost the same height as him. His long red beard reached down to below his chest that was clad in rather bulky looking armor that probably weighed more that the man did himself. A heavy helmet was on top of his head that covered most of his hair that most likely reach to his mid-back as well. Heavy red eyebrows almost hid his brown eyes.
To the woman's right was the old man with wise green eyes framed by an old wrinkly face adorned with a long grey mustache and beard. Under his grey wizard's hat was long grey hair that went a little lower than his shoulders. He wore a grey cloak that covered his entire body and went down to the ground where it dragged. In his right hand he held a long staff that was taller than himself and was brown like it was a thick stick pulled off a tree.
Huddled around him were the four children. One was blonde and rather large with brown eyes. Another had dark brown hair with large blue eyes that held so much stress that even a banker would look like a kitten. The other two looked similar with dirty blonde hair. One with brown eyes, the other with green. What all of the children had though were pointed ears and large hairy feet. Why the hell didn't they wear shoes? Are they crazy?
Her examination done she looked at all of them warily as they looked back at her. She fidgeted nervously with the hem of her shirt as the old man stepped forward, but not close enough to make her more nervous.
"Allow me to introduce ourselves," he said his voice low and lilting in wisdom. "I am Gandalf the Grey. My companions are Aragorn son of Arathorn, Boromir of Gondor, Legolas of the Woodland realm, Gimli son of Gloin, and Merry, Pippin, Sam and Frodo of the Shire." As he said their names he gestured to them, Legolas and Aragorn bowed their heads in greeting, but the others just stared at her. "May I ask your name, my child?" Gandalf continued.
"Um—I'm Kail," she said quietly almost a whisper. These men and children had odd names and they seemed quite confused at hers as well. Before they could say anything she continued. "Where am I?" she asked.
"You are in Hollin," Gandalf replied seeming confused.
She shook her head and narrowed her brows also confused. "I've never heard of it. I should still be in the park."
"Park, Milady?" butted in Aragorn and she nodded.
"Yes, I was taking a walk through the trees in the park when I tripped over a root and fell down here. I had no idea that the trees went so far," she said. For the first time after she stood up she looked at her surroundings. Passed the rocks that she and the men were standing there was open field and behind her a great mountain peaked with snow. Her jaw fell open in astonishment and she had the feeling she was no longer in England. But how?
"I was not aware there was a park so close to Hollin," Aragorn wondered turning to look at Gandalf whose face now looked tired.
"There isn't," he concluded and Aragorn and Kail looked at him curiously. Gandalf shook his head and turned. "Come. You will come with us until we find somewhere to send you off safely. Here is not a good place." He waved for everyone to follow him and they did obediently. Boromir immediately stormed up to the old man and started arguing in hushed whispers for Kail not to hear.
Kail, on the other hand, was utterly confused. How had she come to this place? Was she not in England ten minutes ago? She looked around at everyone else who were stealing glances at her out the corner of their eyes. Lowering her head and crossing her arms in front of her chest she moved on watching the ground to make sure she wouldn't trip over anything. Going around the rocks the group settled around a fir pit where there were packs and a brown pony standing not too far away. While the group of nine circled around the fire Kail sat off to the side to be out of their way, but it wasn't long before Gandalf called her over.
She slowly rose and went over to sit next to Gandalf where she sat silently until he started to try and make conversation. She answered their questions on what she remembered even though her memory was limited. She herself didn't know where she came from and Gandalf suggested that based on her odd clothing that she not only came from a different realm, but a different world entirely. At first the idea was laughed at by all, but the more Gandalf spoke of it, the more they began to consider it until all agreed.
After the discussion was over and no more questions were thrown in her direction they began to converse amongst themselves. Kail sat not speaking to anyone and tried to figure out just how she had been switched worlds. In her frustration she continually ran her hand through her hair and brushing it behind her ears where she discovered that her ears were no longer rounded at the top like all humans, but pointed like Legolas'. She had found out after a short while that Legolas was an elf. Did that mean she was an elf now two?
Someone else must have noticed her ears because the next thing she new Pippin was at her side, no longer wary of her, and staring at her ears. "You're an elf?" he inquired causing Kail to yelp and jump slightly. Everyone looked at them, all conversation halted, and Pippin just smiled at her.
"I—I don't know," she said quietly.
"How do you not know?" said Merry who had come up next to Pippin.
"Well," she started, "I always thought I was human."
"Well, then it seems the Valar has given you the gift of what you would truly be were you born in Middle-Earth," Gandalf said, not sounding at all surprised and Kail nodded. So she was an elf. That was interesting. She thought that if she was a human in one world that surely she'd be on in another, but apparently not.
Soon everyone fanned out to do their own thing. Boromir was off to the side with Merry and Pippin teaching them how to fight while Aragorn watched throwing out random hints and advisements. Frodo and Sam sat eating their lunch whereas everyone else had finished. Gandalf sat on a high rock smoking something and a pipe, Gimli wouldn't stop going on about dwarves and Legolas walked around scouting. Kail just sat off to the side under a rock overhang. She had declined any food saying she wasn't hungry when she actually didn't want them wasting their food on her. Gandalf had insisted that she eat something, but she declined again. In the shot time that they new her, the Fellowship had warmed up to her, all except Gimli who, after finding out she was an elf, ignored her. Apparently elves and dwarves didn't get along very well.
She was broken out of her thoughts when Aragorn's voice cried, "Hide!" She blinked in surprise and looked around to find everyone in a frenzy, gathering their packs, putting out the fire and running to a hiding spot.
"What's going on?" she asked loud enough to be heard over the scuffling.
"Crebain," Legolas called back before jumping off a rock and hiding under a bush. Kail didn't know what a Crebain was, but hid as Aragorn had instructed. She crawled back into her spot and as he passed Aragorn tossed her a cloak for her to cover herself with. Grateful, she huddled up in a ball and covered herself. She would have been fine with just being in the corner, but the cloak provided extra protection and by the danger everyone seemed to sense she thought it was better safe than sorry.
Soon the sound of crows, and lots of them, approached them and minutes passed as their cries filled the travelers' ears.