Protector of the Small

A Lord of the Rings Fanfiction

A/N: Greetings! I have no allusions about what this is. Shamelessly unlikely and unoriginal plotline, though with any luck you'll find it an enjoyable read all the same. EomerOC. LegolasOC. I reply to all reviews at the beginning of each chapter, so please do get in touch!

Disclaimer: It is evident that I don't own Lord of the Rings. I would be richer. Also, "Protector of the Small" is a turn of phrase used in Tamora Peirce novels.

Prologue: The Prophecies of Arda

Gandalf ran his thumb over the worn cloth that protected the bundle in his arms. Months of searching and study in Isengard, and he had finally found it. Proof that the One Ring had returned to the realm of men, and proof that it could be destroyed.

Frodo would have to be warned. But first, there was a prophecy to circumvent.

Gandalf hadn't been to Rohan for some time. Theoden was a gracious host, of course. But he clearly sensed that all was not well. Eomer and Theodred sat on either side of their king. Gamling remained his leige's shadow. Gandalf nibbled on some dried fruit, and Theoden took a swig of his ale before speaking.

"So," Theoden started, "what could the Kingdom of Rohan possibly do for Gandalf the Grey?"

Gandalf gave Theoden an appraising look. "It is more a matter of what I can do for the Kingdom of Rohan, old friend."

"The wizard speaks in riddles," muttered Grima, who emerged from the shadows in an unnerving kind of way. Gandalf resolved to keep an eye on that one. He sensed danger. Treachery.

Without speaking, Gandalf revealed his package to the men. Worn cloth, string. He untied it, pulling back the cloth gingerly, revealing an old tome.

"Prophecies of Arda, pertaining in particular to the Third Age." Gandalf said by way of explanation. He rifled through the dusty pages until he found the passage he sought. "Ah. Yes. The arrival of the Chosen Ones."

Gandalf looked up and smiled. Theoden and his kin were not overly impressed, the men of Rohan rarely favoured the way of the scholar.

"This book foretells the coming of two saviours." Gandalf explained. "Individuals of great potential, though this book would suggest that they will be initially helpless."

"What have these people to do with Rohan, Gandalf?" Theoden asked cautiously. "I hardly think you rode all the way from Isengard to tell tall tales."

"You are quite right." Gandalf said. "I am here because Edoras is the safest place for them. Rivendell is too secluded to serve any purpose. Gondor is under the control of Denethor, who I would not trust with a fish let alone a human being, and is far too close to Mordor for my liking. The logical conclusion is that they should stay here, under your protection, Your Grace."

"Why exactly are we in need of saviours?" Theodred asked brashly. "I see no danger. No armies massing."

"There have been whispers of a great shadow being cast over the realm of men. Mordor is stirring." Gandalf leaned back, producing a pipe from his ample robe. "I do not intend to sit idly by and wait for Sauron to unleash his wroth. This book – these people – they will tip the balance in favour of all that is good and green. Rohan will need them, before the end."

That ominous sentiment hung in the air for a moment. All four men looked grim, if not a bit sceptical.

"You wish for me to grant them board in Edoras?" Theoden finally asked. Gandalf nodded, and Theoden allowed himself to relax. "Where are they, then? I would not refuse you this, old friend. Your allies will always be welcome in the Golden Hall."

Gandalf knew that the most challenging part of this negotiation was now before him. "You are very gracious, Theoden-king. But I fear the tome tells us a great deal more about these individuals."

Everyone was listening intently, now. Not just Grima. Theoden waved for him to continue.

"They are not of this world, these chosen ones." Gandalf began. "They have lived in a dream world all their lives, a bizarre world, and I believe that they will soon slip from it's grip. This very eve, if I am correct."

"Why is that a problem?" Theodred inquired.

"They will not be familiar with our ways. They will likely speak above their station, and will be difficult to control. But these are minor concerns, my lords, I have more pressing issues to discuss with you."

"Such as?" Grima Wormtongue asked, eyes alive with curiosity.

Gandalf's eyes flickered to the spectral man for just a moment. "They are women."

General confusion followed. Theoden and Eomer in particular doubted the use of two girls in bringing about victory on the battlefield. Gandalf had feared as much.

He raised a had to stop their chatter. "My lords, I must insist that you trust in the truth of prophecy. This book foretold the coming of the Ring of Power, the fall of Isildur... It has not been wrong before. I simply ask that you give these women board, that you indulge their curiosities, and above all else, keep them safe."

Gandalf then proceeded to rife through the pages of his tome once more. He presented the page he sought to Theoden and the others.

The page was dusty and yellowing, but the illustrations could still be made out. On one side there was an image of a statuesque woman with golden hair. Her face was exquisitely beautiful. In one hand she held a single arrow. "Protector of the Small" - was written in elvish script below.

"Asha, Protector of the Small," Gandalf said with a wry smile, "she will have much to learn and overcome. But the book speaks of great potential, and a true heart."

The second illustration was of a slighter girl with dark hair. There was a certain strength to her build which made the sword in her hand seem almost a part of her. This girl had angular features and bright green eyes.

"Becca, the Wanderer," Gandalf explained, "she will be harder to cage. She will not want to stay here. You must find a way to contain her. The book is clear – if she wanders too far, too soon, she will die."

"Fine, we shall keep them here," Theoden eventually relented, "it is no trouble. But I cannot believe that two mere girls will have much bearing on events to come. Besides, they are supposedly trapped in another realm. How is it you even intend to bring them here?"

Gandalf smiled. "An excellent question, Your Grace. I do not intend to bring them here, they will bring themselves." He glanced out at the moon. "And if I am correct, they will do so very soon. The stars are going out."

Sure enough, the night sky grew dark. One by one, little lights winked out, until only a big bright moon remained. Black wispy tendrils began to creep along the floor of the Golden Hall. Privacy had been requested, so no servant bore witness to the remarkable sight. Grima jumped back, and both Theodred and Eomer had their hands on their swords.

The dark tendrils rose, forming two pillars, and began to disperse. As they cleared, two figures could clearly be made out. Gandalf gave the two disoriented girls an appraising look.

He immediately identified the taller girl on the left as Asha. She was not incredibly lovely, but she had a pleasing symmetry that indicated potential. Her eyes darted around the room, widening as they took in the bizarre surrounds.

The second girl looked more like her picture. Becca's hair had a reddish tinge, but still unmistakably brown. She was toned and strong, Gandalf noted. Her eyes were bright green and her skin was a shade darker than that of her companion. She too exhibited obvious disorientation.

They will serve. He thought gravely.

There had been a physical struggle. The girls were confused and afraid. Eomer and Theodred were called upon to restrain them. Their predicament was explained, and then, begrudgingly, Gandalf took his leave of them.

They were in Rohan's hands now. He had a hobbit to visit, and a ring to destroy.

A/N: First chapter to follow soon, and by soon I mean imminently.