My name is Alexandria Millicent Fournier, though you may call me Millie. I never really liked the idea of being called Alex, or Lex, or anything like that. Millie sounds nicer, and perhaps more feminine. It makes my name sound far more simpler than it actually is. I know it's not exactly original - you know, a teenage girl who hates her name. Shocker.
But who the hell names their kid that. I mean, Millicent? Possibly the most grandma-sounding name ever.
But hey, my mum was French, and the French are mental. They love their long, French sounding names. That's why my last name is Fournier. It doesn't mean beautiful rose or anything like that. I think it means baker, or oven. I know, how exotic and exciting.
I should probably get on with the story, now that you name my name, and that I am half French. Or I was, I don't really know what happened to my English/French heritage once I came here and I- no, we'll get onto that. First you need to know what my story is about. I suppose I'm taking a leaf out Bilbo's book, by writing about the journey - the adventure.
I'm giving away too much. We'll introduce Bilbo later, once more of my story has been told. I need to start from the beginning again, introduce myself properly, you know?
My name is Alexandria Millicent Fournier, but please, call me Millie. Perhaps you know my name, perhaps you have heard whispers of me. Even if you have heard of me, you will not know my story as entirely as I do. Only a few others know where I come from, for it is a secret that I shall not tell to those that I do not trust. It would have caused alarm, had I ever told it to the wrong person.
It was easier to tell only a few, and let everyone else think that I was simply strange. Now though, I will write it. My secret, my story, will be on paper, and I will pass it along.
When my story began, I was nineteen years old.
'You are a pain in the ass, Alexandria,' yelped my mother. The statement (insult) made by her only sounded more dramatic in her thick, French accent. Despite having lived in the United Kingdom for nearly twenty years, her accent was still strongly apparent. I doubt it will ever leave her. She would not be my mother without it.
'I resent that comment,' I stated simply, and pushed past her, missing the glass that I had accidentally knocked off of the counter. It now lay on the floor in pieces. 'You'll have to clean it up, mother dearest. I have to be at school'. My mother, with her short black hair, sent me a furious glare and waved me away, to which I simply smiled, threw my bag onto my shoulders, and turned on my heel and out of the room.
That was the last time I ever saw my mother. No last words, nothing that would indicate my abrupt departure. How could we have known what would happen to me, that I would never touch or talk to her again?
That day had started normally, as it always would have. I attended a University in my town, in the East of England. It was a modest University, nothing special, like Oxford, say. I studied Textiles at a degree level, and despite studying it and being quite good at it, I wasn't passionate about it. I didn't dress with quirkiness, it just wasn't me. It was easier to do something that I knew I was good at, rather than something I enjoyed. It was sad, but true.
I had planned on going travelling before University, but my complete lack of money had destroyed that dream. I'd always wanted to go Australia, America, or New Zealand.
That morning was different from other mornings. Normally, I would walk out of my house that I shared with my mother and father, I would make my way down the pathway, past the cat that hissed at me with disdain, cross the road, and then wait patiently at the bus stop opposite my house. From there, I would catch a bus to my University to go to my lecture of that day, then come straight home, and carry on with any work that I had. I might even meet up with my friends and get blindingly drunk.
Every story needs a beginning, and this is mine. Things never go well in the beginning, and I suppose that is why things went so horribly wrong in mine. That day, as I crossed the road, I forgot to stop, look and listen. I would always stop, look and listen. Perhaps something was pulling me toward that car. It wasn't going fast, or driving erratically, the whole accident was my fault, and mine alone. The car didn't hit me though, mind you. I was walking across the road, saw the car driving toward me, and I panicked, therefore falling backwards onto the pavement and smacking my head on the curb.
I guess that this is what happened, anyway. I just remember stumbling backwards and then falling, so hitting my head seems like I reasonable explanation as to why I fainted. How cliche.
The one thing that I remember of that morning, is how fast everything happened. I had woken up late, so time with my mother had been short. I'd dressed quickly, so my attire consisted of jeans, a shirt and a hoody. I had not seen my father, as he had left for work before I had woken up. I never got to say goodbye. My world was torn away from be so quickly, that I never really got to appreciate everyday, mundane things like a electricity, roads or normal, human people.
Nor my height. That's something that I'll always miss.
When I landed from my fall, I did not land on concrete, but on dirt and grass. As well as that, the sound of cars was gone too. I didn't really wake up, either, I just sort of opened my eyes, and stared at the blue sky above me, and the canopy of trees that shielded the sun from my eyes. It's kind of a blur, because my mind was in overdrive and I'm pretty sure I was having either a heart attack, or a panic attack. Or both. Because as I sat up, I was greeted by the outline of a tree inhabited wood (obviously), and a dirt road.
So, you know, understandably...I kind of yelped, stumbled to my feet and just stared, I guess.
I remember being scared, but my fear only multiplied upon hearing humming coming from behind me. I remember turning, and I remember seeing an elderly looking man, with a long grey beard, and identical hair. His head was bowed, and most of his face was covered by the long, pointed hat that he wore. His frame seemed even larger, covered by the grey, baggy robes. I guess it's kind of stupid now, but at the time I'd assumed I'd been transported into the world of Harry Potter. I'd never been a fan, but heck, this guy looked like Dumbledore at the time.
I called out to him then, my hands fiddling with the sleeve of my hoody, which seemed longer than I remembered it being. 'Hello?'
Tall-Old-Guy stopped humming and looked up quickly, and it was only then that I noticed the long staff that he clutched onto. Tall-Old-Guy tilted his head, and stopped about five feet in front of me, considering my form. I'd never seen someone who was that much taller than me, and it startled me a little.
'What is a she-dwarf doing this far out into the wild? The road can be a dangerous place, my dear,' he mused, bringing his staff forward and resting both hands on the end. Tall-Old-Guy had nice blue eyes that I guess I trusted, but you've always got to be wary of any stranger you find, especially after being thrown from one place to another. I was still in shock about that whole scenario. It then registered what he had said, and I'd blanched a little.
'I get that you're tall, dude, but there's no need to call me a dwarf. I mean, I'm average sized, you're the one who's, like, tall,'I retorted, adjusting the strap of my bag. For some reason, it dragged heavily against the floor, when once it would have reached my hip. Looking down, I saw that my jeans were too long for me too, as well as everything else that I wore. Well, that's a little odd, admittedly.
He'd sent me a near baffled look, and looked at me kindly. 'Or perhaps you are an especially short Woman?'
I had never been so confused. 'Well, if we're going into the basics, then yeah, I guess I'm a short woman...' Tall-Old-Guy was being really weird, and all I wanted to do was get him to tell me where I was, and why the hell he was so tall. Because seriously, the guy was huge.
But then again, my clothes had shrunk.
Tall-Old-Guy seemed to be waiting for me to say something, so I blurted out. 'I'm Millie'.
Tall-Old-Guy replied with, 'A pleasure, my lady. I am Gandalf the Grey'.
I paused, opened my mouth, stared, and continued to pause. I think something registered then. The guy that looked like a wizard, me being in a wood, me shrinking, Tall-Old-Guy thinking that I was a Dwarf. 'Holy guacamole'. Gandalf tilted his head yet again, and his bushy brows rose into his hairline. He was waiting for me again. 'Where are we?' I squeaked.
I'd never been a fan, why did this happen to me? I'd never seen seen all of the films, let alone read the books. And didn't a new one come out recently? Oh God, what the hell was going on?
Gandalf smiled brightly. 'Why, you are just outside of Bree, quite near The Shire, I believe'. Despite my disinterest in anything Lord of the Rings, I knew of the The Shire. It was the place where the little people lived, with curly hair and big feet. That guy lived there, the one with the big blue eyes and really nice skin. Oh god, I didn't know his name. I'd jokingly - and frequently - refer to him as Brodo- Frodo! That was the guys name! Was Gandalf going to see him?
'I'm pretty sure I'm hallucinating right now,' I declared, gazing up at this Gandalf. He looked at me in mild interest, his head tilting even more. Seriously, he was going to get a crick in his neck if he continued doing that.
'Are you really?' replied Gandalf.
I nodded firmly, pursing my lips. 'I must be, yes. That's the only reasonable explanation,' I told him. 'Because if this is real, then it means I've-' Lie. 'I've been sent back in time,' I finished lamely. Heck, that was more of a believable explanation, better than I've been transported into a fictional world, anyway.
'Well,' sighed Gandalf, pulling away from his staff. 'You're having a far more interesting day than I am, in that case'. He peered at me. 'Judging my your, may I say, odd attire, your accent, and your complete bafflement at being here, I can conclude that I believe your far-fetched story, despite the many faults in it. Please, follow me to The Shire, and tell me your story, Lady Millie. I could not live with myself if I left you out here alone'.
I considered this, then nodded. What the hell else did I have to do? I was lucky that fuzz-face here believed me. If he hadn't, I would have been super screwed. I was still partially freaking out at how tall he was, and how baggy my clothes had become. Before walking, I'd had to roll up the ends of my jeans, tuck in my shirt, roll up the sleeves of my hoody, and shorten the length of my bag.
Gandalf was the first of the few people who I told my story. He was a likable man, and that made it easier to tell him of what had happened to me, but instead of saying 'car', I simply said 'vehicle'. No point in explaining battery powered devises to the...wizard.
'Gandalf?' I asked, pushing my sleeve further up my arm. 'When you first saw me, you called me 'dwarf'...what did you mean by that? I think I know, but that's kind of-' I struggled for a phrase. 'Messed up,' I settled with.
Gandalf paused, and then said, 'from your time, are there races of Men, Dwarves, Elves and Hobbits?' I shook my head with a stubbornly confused expression. 'Well then, that explains your complete loss of knowledge of your own race. How tall were you in feet?' I paused, then shrugged and said something along the lines of 5'6. 'Then I can only assume you were of the race of Men. Lady Millie, my dear, in this time, it would seem you are of the race of Dwarves'.
Embarrassingly, this is when I started crying.
My throat tightened, my eyes welled up, and I pursed my mouth stubbornly. I hated crying in front of people, it made me feel silly and childish and weak. 'Nobody wants to be a Dwarf!' I yelped, scaring away from birds in a neighboring tree. 'Why couldn't I be a human, or just not come here at all!' I was having a tantrum, and I knew it. But I was frustrated - how would you feel, after being thrown somewhere that should not exist?
Gandalf whacked me firmly around the head with his staff. I looked at him, mouth agape, but he simply straightened up and coughed lightly. 'I understand that there are some parts of your story that you are failing to tell me, because if you had been 'sent back in time', then you would at least know of the races of your history. You would also know that Dwarves are a respectable, honorable bunch, my dear'.
He'd been right, of course. And soon, I would know that.
After much whining from me, and Gandalf comforting me with stern words, we carried along on the road. Gandalf explained briefly to me where he was going (The Shire), and that he was meeting a band of friends who were also on their way to a 'Hobbit Hole' located in The Shire. The Hobbit who lived in the Hobbit Hole was named Bilbo Baggins, and once Gandalf told me this, I yelped an 'Oh!'
'Is there something wrong?' inquired Gandalf.
I paused, then shook my head, deciding not to tell him anything. I knew that name. And I also knew what film story I was acting along in. The newest one, the one that I knew (quite literally) nothing about. I didn't know how it ended, how it began, or who featured in it, or the book. All I knew was that Gandalf was in it, and so was Bilbo Baggins.
Bro- Frodo's dad or Uncle or something.
'Why do you think I'm a Dwarf?' I inquired after fifteen minutes of silence. Gandalf grumbled out of his musings and glanced to the right, at me. 'I mean, I could have just stayed human- Man, whatever. But why a Dwarf?'
Gandalf was silent for a moment. 'It amuses me,' he said. 'How you ask of that, but not why you were sent here. Perhaps it is the will of the Valar that brought you here,' he paused, then peered, then continued to stare at the road ahead. Around us, winding fields had begun to appear. I'd admired the beauty while Gandalf spoke.
'We all have a kind of destiny, I believe. Or even multiple destinies. Perhaps this is the form you would have been born into, had you been born and raised in Middle Earth'. Middle Earth, right. 'I have been debating asking you this question, Lady Millie, and I have now decided, upon hearing your story, that I will ask it'. His tone had suddenly taken on a business-like air. 'I will talk it through with my companions, but how would you feel about accompanying me on the quest I have mentioned to you?'
That morning I had been late for University, now I was being invited on a quest.
Gandalf nodded. 'Indeed. I will accompany thirteen Dwarves - and hopefully a Hobbit - to the Misty Mountains, where they will reclaim their Dwarven Kingdom under the Lonely Mountain'.
I'd blinked at him, nodding slowly. 'I just understood, like, twenty-five percent of what you just said. Reclaim it from who?'
Gandalf puffed out his cheeks lightly, stalled, then said, 'his name is Smaug, though I suppose it would be proper to refer to him as a what rather than a who. Do not be alarmed, my dear, but Smaug is, in fact, a dragon. Judging my your reaction, I can suppose that dragons are not a common thing where (or when) you are from,' he added.
I had wiped the startled expression from my face, replacing it with a defeated one. 'I don't know what I expected, honestly'.
Gandalf smiled and waved his staff. 'That is the spirit! I cannot guarantee your safety, remember, and I will have to tell Thorin that I will take full responsibility if anything-' he caught my eye. 'If anything may happen to you,' he carried on, tone lighter. 'Not that anything will. We will be accompanied by many fine, warrior Dwarves'.
'Indeed, thirteen. Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Nori, and Ori, and the leader of the company, Thorin Oakenshield'.
I looked at him, then ahead of me, trying hard to retain as much information as I could. 'That's a mouthful,' I piped up, rubbing my chin. 'They're all Dwarves, like...like me?'
Gandalf nodded, his face softening. 'Yes, although I must warn you, they will not be as believing as I have been. Dwarves, although honorable, are a sturdy and stubborn lot. Because of the few Dwarven women that exist, they are kept away in the mountains where Dwarves reside. I must say...' Gandalf trailed off. 'If it were not for your height and your average sized feet, I would suppose you a Hobbit, Lady Millie'.
I would later learn that Gandalf was right. Although my hair was thicker than before, my height shorter, my ears a little bigger (but not comically so) and my whole form more sturdy, I was different from other Dwarven women. To this day, I blame it on the fact that at heart, I am still a human.
I said yes, if you're wondering. Somehow, I could not turn down the offer that Gandalf had given me. It was unexpected, yes. All of this was, but I couldn't give up what had been offered to me. An adventure, an opportunity to live the life that others would die for. I'd seen the online fandoms, and holy hell, some people really would die to be in my position.
So, that's when it all began. It began with a question, and an answer.
I hope you enjoyed it! If you would drop me a review, I would very much appreciate it. I know that Dwarven women are meant to be hairy and deep voiced, but in the film they're portrayed as short women, so I'm going with that one, sorry. I've given her Dwarf traits though, such as a sturdier build, the ears, the thicker hair and, obviously, the height.
This chapter was to get the feel of Millie being in Middle Earth. I mentioned it briefly, but she's writing the story as Bilbo did, like a book. I just wanted to clarify that!
Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed!