Nine Men And A Little Lady
By Kielle (kielle@subreality.com)

Co-Writing Note: Kerrie Smith (kerrie@subreality.com) is responsible for Sam's poem (though she'll swear otherwise) and the closing journal entry. If you like those especially, let her know.

Disclaimer: Tolkien's is Tolkien's; Mary Sue belongs to the ages, but is apparently running rampant in the wake of the first LOTR movie. Which is what prompted this story. It starts out slow, but bear with me -- it rapidly gets weird and more than a bit silly. Do not archive without my permission. Feedback is adored. NOTE: Mary Sue's many names and disguises came purely from my own mind -- if you see one of yours here, it's your fault being predictable! ;)

Thanks: To Finduilas at http://fin.go.wifl.at.org/index.htm for clarification on dates/events; to my handy-dandy 1977 edition of the Silmarillion for those especially fangirlish touches; to Fanfiction.net's horde of plot-impaired Legolas-lustbunnies, for the agony they have inflicted upon an unsuspecting world; and to my wunnerful betareaders (Tapestry, Falstaff, Kitarra, and the Dogfather). Double thanks goes to Kerrie Smith, for reasons mentioned above...




Compiler's Notes

Many songs have been sung and many sagas have been written of the Fellowship that withstood the final rise of Sauron. Even as the history of the Third Age fades and fragments to make way for the cold clear reality of Man's new world, the legends are retold. They shift with the passing of generations, but they always quite clear on one point: they were nine. Nine Walkers to counterbalance the Nine Riders. No more, no less, until the abyss of Khazad-dum and the breaking of the Fellowship in the wilderness beyond the fading glory that was Lothlorien.

It appears, however, that the legends are wrong. Certain historical documents, fragile as the tales that vanish in the dawn of the Fourth Age, have come to light -- journals and notes believed to be records kept by the legends themselves. And as the examination of these papers progresses, a disturbing fact has come to light...a scattering of conflicting reports that nonetheless whisper of a terrible evil, an insidious canker mysteriously expunged from the myth.

Whispers of a Tenth Walker.



Elrond's Journal
Rivendell, October 26, 3018

I have failed.

My vigilance has come to naught; indeed, I must admit with a heavy heart that I was unable to protect the Last Homely Home from this unforeseen curse. I truly believed our hidden vale to be safe...and yet It is here.

Only through the intervention of Vilya upon my hand can I perceive the infiltrator for what It truly is. Yet I can do nothing. My people lie under Its spell, and perceive not the contradictions that mark this foul blemish as It walks the halls of my home. Some say that It was here all along; my own daughter greets It as an old friend, and the pair appear content to simper and giggle over every male to cross their path.

Others say It rode in bearing the wounded Ringbearer in its arms, a similar wound in Its own arm, having single-handedly defeated the Nazgul at the Ford. I have heard It referred to as an elf maiden, as a half-elf such as myself, as a "Lady Dunedain," as a beast of myth in human form, even as a visitor from a far-distant world.

None of these explanations holds true under even a moment's scrutiny. No two stories match. And yet...and yet the creature is accepted without question. Even...adored.

And It has joined the Fellowship.



Aragorn's Journal
Rivendell, December 25, 3018

Something is wrong. Lord Elrond seems uneasy, and not merely because today we set forth on a perilous journey. He seemed particularly concerned over Kaszia...or is it Kirthia?...but I can understand his concern. After all, she IS Galadriel's daughter, whom he practically raised as his own...

Wait. What am I saying? How foolish. She's my own twin sister Aragwen, of course. I taught her to fight myself, though my men scoffed at the idea of teaching a woman to fight. She was always better than I...

No. No, that can't be right either. Rangers do not care whether a true fighter be man nor woman...and I do not have a sister. Do I? Yet there she is...more beautiful than Arwen...

Okay. That's definitely wrong.

What was I saying a moment ago? Argh! I can't remember!



Legolas' Journal
Western slopes of the Misty Mountains, January 2, 3019

It's happening again! Why can't anybody else SEE it?! She's watching me. Constantly. I can feel her eyes on the back on my neck, trying to get into my head -- any day now I'm going to wind up brooding in a tree and reciting love poetry. Just yesterday I was forced to save her from a random orc -- yes, a random orc. They tend to pop up around her. I had no choice! If I hadn't, she would have thrown herself in front of it and incurred some sort of nasty injury that would "require" me to nurse her back to health.

Ugh! I wonder if I could "accidentally" shoot her in the head the next time we get into a scrap. No...no, thanks to all the showing off I've already done with the bow nobody would believe that. Maybe I should bring Gimli into my confidences? Perhaps he would help...what am I thinking? Gimli doesn't even LIKE me until sometime past the middle of this book.

I don't know if I can hold out that long.

Augh! I'm chewing my right braid again. Bad habit. But...she's staring at me. Her eyes are violet tonight, and her hair is flame-red -- the colors clash, but on her it looks stunning...almost...irresistible...

Must not think that. Must not give in. Must not...be strong, man, be strong...



Sam's Journal
Below Redhorn Gate, Caradhras, January 9, 3019

A strange thing happened this morning. Although I could swear that blasted ring was tucked under about five layers of clothing, Master Frodo managed to almost lose it in the snow after one particularly nasty tumble, and that shifty Boromir got his hands on it.

I'm not ashamed to say that it was a bad moment, an' that's a fact. I didn't think he was going to let it go! Thank goodness Strider had it just about in hand...but that's when Tanja -- no wait, I meant Jeriah...well, you know who I mean, SHE -- jumped in to fetch it back, dramatic speech an' all. (She's good with those. We get the latest version of her origin story every night around the fire.)

Now here's the truly strange thing: I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure she made a special point of giving the ring back to Master Frodo, barehanded, without so much as a wince. I wouldn't be so surprised if we'd seen Tom Bombadil's little "look at me play with the One Ring with no effects, tra lalala" routine, but seeing as we gave him a miss I'm quite surprised indeed. It's most unnatural. And rather annoying.

Well, as the Gaffer always says...no, wait, Gimli threatened to stuff me headfirst into a sack if I mentioned the Gaffer again. Right. Note to self: staple ring chain to Master Frodo's shirt-collar.



Bill The Pony's Journal
Back gate of Moria, January 13, 3019

Sorry, Sam ol' buddy, but I'm outta here an' not a moment too soon. I ain't just talkin' about the horrible fishy stink blowing offa that-there lake, neither. If that girl-shaped-thing got all touchy-feely "I can talk to equines" with me one more time, I was gonna bite her fingers off.



Gimli's Journal
Great Hall of Moria, January 15, 3019

That was bloody pointless. I mean honestly, there are nine -- ten, okay, ten -- of us, and a million orcs, and a whopping great cave troll, plenty of good old-fashioned axe-fodder to go 'round, but then Little Miss "I'm Part Unicorn" goes all echo-y voice and "holy light" and off they bugger. Every last one. How's a proper Son of Aule supposed to avenge his kin when some poncy chick in chainmail decides to show off how wonderful she is and hog the lot?

I don't know WHO she's trying to impress. The elf is skittering around all bug-eyed like she's gonna eat him for breakfast, and the so-called king can't seem to decide if he wants to snuggle her or be valiant in front of her. Either way, I'm right sick of it. Gal has absolutely no taste anyway -- she's never looked at ME twice. I'm not sure if I'm insulted or bloody grateful...

Feh! The latter, I'd wager. Too much leg on her anyway. All tits, no muscle. Give me a nice brawny dwarf lass any day of the month. Why does everything revolve around HER? There's more important matters at hand--

??? I smell smoke. Brimstone. And Miss Prissy is going all fainty-evil-approachy -- as if we can't tell for ourselves? FEH, I say. Later. Fightin' to do.



Gandalf's Journal
Western slopes, January 17, 3019

I fail to see the point of a prophesized death if Certain People insist upon saving one from it at the most dramatic moment possible.

I DO know what I'm doing, you know. I may just be a minor god, but I AM still a god thankyouverymuch, and you'd think I could avoid Certain Death myself if I wanted to, right? So you'd think perhaps there was a reason for the whole dramatic production. Hello? Goodbye grey robes, hello white? Important plot reasons, m'lad, important plot reasons.

But then Somebody Who Shall Remain Nameless But Who Violates All Rules Laid Down By Eru Himself gets delusions of heroism and drags yours truly back from the brink of Certain (Albeit Temporary) Death. Hrumph! At this rate I'm going to have to fall on Glamdring if I want to get any dying done this week.



Aragorn's Journal
Western slopes, January 17, 3019

Terrible, terrible news. Mithrandir has been cruelly taken from us. I...I'm not quite sure what happened, but...as we descended the foothills he tripped, and...and he seems to have fallen on his sword.

Selina -- or is it Tathalia? no, maybe it's Rilliana -- is heartbroken. We had to physically drag her away from his body. Gimli was muttering something about her wails of grief "upstaging the halflings," and considering how Pippin can sob like a smashed alecask that's saying quite a bit.

She has silver hair today, and crystal-blue eyes, and said something about being "a teenager from Earth." I'm so very confused. Is this wrong? Is this right?

And did I just hear Legolas shriek like a little girl? No...couldn't have been. They look so happy together now.



Legolas's Journal
Lothlorien, February 5, 3019

Aie Iluvatar! I was almost lost for there...she had me. I was in her clutches, and I was enjoying it. Yet as we pass beneath the first beech branches of the Lady's wood, my head clears, and...aie! I'm wearing the beast's "class ring" around my neck on a thong! When did...?!

Ooo...wait. I remember. And I remember reciting love poetry to her, too.

Aieee! Galadriel, sweet Lady of the Golden Wood, protect me!



Boromir's Journal
Lothlorien, February 6, 3019

Didn't sleep much last night. Aragorn's fault. Draw your own conclusions.

Agh! Don't like this place. Never thought I'd be happy to be on the road to Mordor, but the sooner I'm out of this forest the better. The elf witch gives me the creeps...almost as much as Berel does. Or is that Ravyne? I can't keep her name straight. Has nobody else noticed that her hair keeps changing color, too...?

Worst of all, she keeps giving me these...looks. Pitying looks. Like she knows something. Damn her! It's getting hard enough to sleep around that damn Ring without her acting like I have a terminal disease. Just because SHE can "touch the Ring without it affecting her" and rubs my nose in it at every chance she gets...bitch!



Sam's Journal
Lothlorien, February 13, 3019

My, but we've plenty of time to rest up. The Lady gave me this lovely box of dirt -- hey now, I like dirt -- and everybody else got nice presents too, but nobody else knows because that scene got cut out to make Frodo look more special. Ah well.

I've had time to work on my poetry, though! This is my newest piece. I think I'm getting quite good. What do you think?

Myrishna (or was it Aelithea?) had eyes like stars,
Or maybe emeralds...or were they pale?
But her hair was like mithril!
Or night...or sunshine...or maybe ale.
But she's good with a sword!
Whack, slash!
And she never even snored!
Snort! Grunt!
She's so beautiful she gives me a twitch,
It's really too bad that she's such a--

[Page is too blurred beyond this point to transcribe.]



Galadriel's Journal
Lothlorien, February 15, 3019

Today the Fellowship moves on. A great evil passes from my domain, and a vast dank shadow lifts from the hearts of my people.

Oh, and the One Ring is leaving, too.



Merry's Journal
Eastern shore of the Anduin, February 26, 3019

A month ago, if you'd asked me to describe the worst day in my life, I'd have told you that positively nothing could surpass the time Farmer Maggott's dog took a chomp out of my rump right before my surprise 24th birthday party. (That may sound funny, but it sure didn't feel funny!) And a week ago, I was still having screaming nightmares about Weathertop, so that would have been your answer.

But now as I sit here with my feet tied together, cold and hungry, surrounded by great big friggin' huge orcs who look like they want to either pick their teeth with my bones or make me their girlfriend, with Boromir's death replaying over and over in my poor aching head... Yeah. I should be gloomy enough to say "Worst day ever? Betcha it's tomorrow."

Yet, strangely, I'm feelin' okay (all things considered). These monsters aren't all bad. Sure, they think it's awfully fun to play "Whip The Hobbit To Make Him Run Faster," but none of them have tried to ruffle my hair, or make weird nudge-nudge comments about me an' Pip, or chat me up about Frodo, or try to hide behind me whenever she...no, that last bit was Legolas...

But now that we're away from the Fellowship, it seems so obvious! Nothing about her made sense. Nobody's that perfect! It was bad enough when she was chasing Aragorn or Legolas like a mink in heat, but when she wanted her some sweet, sweet hobbit-lovin' -- gah! I'm shaking just to think of her "sweet yet brave Shire-lass" routine. At least she usually went after poor Frodo...there was this one night where Pip an' I had to stand guard so he could get some sleep...

Yep. There IS an up-side to being dragged off by orcs to certain torture and death. At least the plot's back on track.



Pippin's Journal
Eastern shore of the Anduin, February 26, 3019

Ow. Ow. Ow. Had a truly rotten day. Don't feel like writing. Say look, a talking tree--



Gimli's Journal
Western shore of the Anduin, February 26, 3019

I could have told you Boromir was doomed. It's always the redundant character that bites it, and we already HAVE a brooding human male who HAS to make it out alive or the name "Return Of The King" wouldn't make any ruddy sense now would it?

Aw hell. I kinda liked the guy. Shame really. Still though, that's how it goes. In fact, I had to personally sit on our resident Irresistable Love Interest to keep her from trying to resurrect him with her tears or something horribly sappy like that. What else could I do? She had that "Here I come to save the day" look in her eyes (they're "emerald-green" right now) and it didn't look like anybody else had the good sense to sit on her.

"Good sense," mind you, is something this group hasn't seen since we left Lothlorien. In short, What's-Her-Face managed to weasel her way into sharing a boat with Legolas. Poor lad didn't stand a chance; by nightfall he was head-over-heels in love with the sticky little tart. There's no way he's getting loose this time -- she's keeping him wound around her pinkie-finger by hamming up the "rebellious runaway half-elvish princess" routine.

Eh, at least it keeps her busy. I, for one, am quite willing to sacrifice elf-boy's dignity if it buys enough time for Aragorn to snap out of it and think our way clear of this mess. I'll make it up to him at Helm's Deep.

Hang on -- where'd she go...? If she's gotten herself dramatically injured again...



Legolas' Journal
Western shore of the Anduin, February 27, 3019

...ooo...feel funny...must write love poetry...with modern English rhyming scheme...

...wait...

Okay. Okay. Breathe. Think. Arrows gone. Dead orcs. Blood all over me, but...I'm not hurt, I think. Something happened. Something...

Aragorn said something important. We're...hunting orcs? Right. Because they kidnapped...somebody. And somebody...died...

Pull yourself together, man!

It's still hard to think clearly, but as I write this the fog is lifting. Her foul presence is gone, and my mind is once again my own! My worst fears came true. The boat! She trapped me, trapped like an animal--! I shudder to think what...

...

...oh no. I have a vague impression of passionate declarations of True Love under starlight, and I...I found lipstick. (Do we even have lipstick in Middle-Earth?!) On my cheek. Probably lower too, but I'm too terrified to look yet.

Gimli's been smirking at me all evening.

That does it. First trailbreak we get, I'm flinging myself into Aragorn's arms. Perhaps THAT will keep her at bay...if she returns. Which she will. Of course she will. *shudder* It never ends.



Frodo's Journal
Emyn Muil, February 28, 3019

You know, at one point I think I was supposed to be the star of this story. Hello? Ringbearer? Volunteered to walk into certain doom? Me? I don't mean to sound selfish -- I'd honestly rather be home with a good meal on the table, who wouldn't? -- but it would be nice to actually get some cooperation in anything that doesn't revolve around HER. A little focus would be nice.

Well, to heck with 'em all! Sam and I can handle this on our own. One -- all right, two hobbits stand a much better chance of sneaking into Mordor than a pack of noisy, armor-jangling tallfolk any day of the week. We can do this. I know we can.

Except...there's only one problem.

She followed us.



Mary Sue's Journal
Emyn Muil, February 28, 3019

Still not sure if I made the right choice -- this is the tough spot. Like, there are three different plots to follow and all of them are SO kewl! I mean, should I get all kidnapped an' stuff by the orcs so I can bravely protect Merry and Pippin while the dreamy guys try to rescue me? Or should I help 'em hunt down the orcs so they can all see how brave I am "for a mere woman"?

Ooo! I could get injured again, that would be great! And then there's all that stuff in Rohan and Gondor to help out with...I mean sure, if Eowyn can do the whole "dress-up-like-a-man-and-slay-evil" thing, why can't I? I practically invented that shtick! And hey! Can she shapeshift? Huh! I thought not.

But then I thought, hello, take the ring to Mordor right? Gotta do that. Big important stuff. I'd have to help carry the ring, and get captured trying to save Frodo, and get tortured, and angst a lot. Yeah! And then there'd more injuries and stuff, but I could still save the day (who needs Gollum anyway? he's so not cute), and maybe afterwards Aragorn would personally nurse me back to health. Or Legolas. Or both. Yummy!

And in the end everybody would be happy because I came along and fixed everything. God, it's good to be me.

Ooo! I can't wait to meet that Sauron guy! I think he just needs a hug.



Gollum's Journal,
Emyn Muil, March 1, 3019

Ooooh, my Precious, I can feel you closer and closer. Gollum can't wait to find you and take you from the nasty hobbitses and have you all to himself. Then we can hunt for pretty pretty fishies and live for happy ever after.

Oh, Precious, we have been following Baggins for so many days, and we were so very very hungry. And then we found something else...something else that was chasing the Baggins, too. She said she was looking for her Precious, too, but I don't think she meant you.

But we can't take chances, can we, Precious?

We think we're going to stop and take a little break now...our tummy doesn't feel so good.

Must've been something we ate.


-30-