Rachel: Three Cool Characters
You know how in movies there's that cliché where something outrageous happens and a character says "Pinch me, I'm dreaming"? But when you dream on your own nothing is ever real enough to warrant a pinch.
Today was different. Today I needed a pinch to wake me up from this dream. It couldn't possibly be real…And yet, it was.
I should backtrack. My best friend Kristen had never seen Lord of the Rings. Never. Which is a travesty for someone like me and my other best friend Claire, who worship the Tolkien World. We had just finished our last exams of the semester and we needed a celebration. A celebration that included Bacardi and a trilogy marathon.
But the problem is, Bacardi makes me really sleepy. And by the end of The Fellowship of the Ring, I was totally zonked. Just as Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas came over that hill chasing the Orc party with Merry and Pippin in tow…
I woke up. And not pleasantly. That rum really did a number on me. Someone was shaking me awake and my head felt like it was splitting in half. "What the hell?" I muttered, rolling away from the shaking hands and clutching my temples in frustration.
"Lady of Rohan, we do not mean to disturb you," an English accent said. An English accent that was incredibly familiar.
I opened my eyes ignoring the sting of the bright sun and right in front of my face was…
Nope. No, it couldn't be. Damn Bacardi. I closed my eyes again, pulling my jacket up over my eyes.
"She wears such strange clothes," another voice said.
"Perhaps she is a rider. Trousers are more efficient than a dress."
"If she's a rider, then where is her horse?"
I pulled down the jacket, looking at the other voices and standing above me were Aragorn and Gimli. I sat up, utterly confused. "What the hell?" I asked again.
"You have a wound on you head," Legolas said, reaching out to me. I recoiled. He may be the heart-throb of my generation, but I wasn't going to let a fictional character examine my skull.
"Legolas is a good healer," Aragorn said, bending down to my level. "How did you get hurt?"
I looked between the three of them. "I don't know," I answered. "How did I get here?"
"We found you laying on the ground, lass," Gimli said. "You had that nasty cut on your eye."
I reached up to my forehead and felt a sharp sting. "Agh!"
Legolas had pulled some kind of salve from his pocket. "Please," he said. "It will help with the pain."
Reluctantly I nodded and let him apply it to my head. Instantly the pain was gone. I guess the headache was from the cut, not the rum.
"Perhaps you can help us," Aragorn said. "We track a party or Orcs headed westward from here. They carry two Hobbits with them, our companions."
Merry and Pippin. I decide to keep the details to myself. I know where they can find them. The Orcs made camp at Fanghorn Forrest, wherever that is. I may know locations of the story, but I don't know where they're actually located. And if I have all the answers that may look suspicious.
"I'm sorry," I tell Aragorn. "I haven't seen any Orcs."
"Might you tell us how you ended up here?" Gimli asks as Legolas finishes with my head. "And in such interesting clothing. Do all the people of Rohan wear that garb?"
"I'm not from Rohan, I'm from…somewhere else." I say, catching myself. I look down at my clothes. It's the same stuff I fell asleep in back home. Khaki capris and a purple tank-top with a red hoodie over it and sneakers. Thank god, I fell asleep in sneakers.
"I have never seen clothes like yours," Aragorn says, poking at one of the drawstrings on the hoodie.
"I—I made them myself," I covered.
Legolas's head shot up then, and he turned around, looking over the edge of the hill. Aragorn gets up beside him and slowly I rise as well.
In the distance, a large group of horses mounted by men travel in our direction. The Riders of Rohan.
As we wait for them to catch us, I contemplate my situation. I fell asleep drunk with Kristen and Claire at the beginning of The Two Towers and now I'm here with my favorite characters, stuck in my favorite movie series. So what the hell am I supposed to do now? I would tell myself that this is a dream, but I know it's not. It just doesn't feel like it is. And yet, I want someone to pinch me awake.
But I have to admit, a little part of me is curious. I kind of want to stay here with them and adventure a little bit. And honestly, what could be the harm?
I stand beside Aragorn as the riders get closer. When they are within earshot, he calls out "Riders of Rohan! What news from the mark?"
The riders turn their party towards us and soon, we're surrounded, their spears pointed at us. "What business does an Elf, a Man, a woman, and a Dwarf have in the Riddermark?"
I try to contain my excitement. This is just like the movie! And there's Eomer! One of my favorite characters! Eeep!
"Speak quickly!" Eomer demands.
"Give me your name Horsemaster," Gimli counters. "And I shall give you mine."
Eomer hops off his horse and looks down at Gimli. "I would cut off your head, Dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground."
In the blink of an eye, Legolas's bow is drawn, an arrow pointed right at Eomer's head. "You would die before your stroke fell," he threatens, as the spears of the riders all point to him in response.
Aragorn pulls Legolas's arm down, giving him a look of warning before turning back to Eomer. "I am Aragorn, Son of Arathorn. This is Gimli, Son of Gloin and Legolas of the Woodland realm. This girl here is a traveler we've just encountered. We are friends of Rohan, and of Théoden, your king."
Eomer takes off his helmet. "Théoden no longer recognizes friend from foe. Not even his own kin." The riders all lift up their spears. "Saruman has poisoned the mind of the king and taken lordship over these lands. My company are those loyal to Rohan and for that, we are banished." Eomer steps closer to Aragorn. "The White Wizard is cunning. He walks here and there, they say, as an old man hooded and cloaked and everywhere his spies slip past our nets."
"We are no spies," Aragorn defends. "We track a party of Uruk-hai westward across the plain. They've taken two of our friends captive."
"The Uruks are destroyed," Eomer says. "We slaughtered them during the night."
"There were two Hobbits," Gimli says. "Did you see two Hobbits with them?"
"They would be small," Aragorn says. "Only children to your eyes."
Eomer solemnly shakes his head. "We left none alive." He points behind him. "We piled the carcasses and burned them."
And suddenly, I can feel the moral around me sinking, like a disease. "Dead?" Gimli asks. I look between the three of them. Merry and Pippin aren't dead. They're in Fanghorn Forrest, but of course no one knows this. I decide to wait until the Riders of Rohan have left before saying anything. This fall of moral is depressing and I'm only now starting to remember how awful this story can get. The death and pain and suffering.
And the Ring. I totally forgot about the Ring.
"I am sorry," Eomer says. Then he whistles. "Hasslefeld, Errod, Theybrush!" he calls as three horses come out of the crowd. None of them has a rider. I remember how in the movie, he only gave two away. Here he gives three. One must be for me. "May these horses bear you better fortune than their former masters."
Eomer climbs back on his horse and looks down at us. "Look for your friends," he says. "But do not trust to hope. It has forsaken these lands."
And with that, the riders disperse, leaving me with the three guys. Aragorn turns to me, handing me the reins of one of the horses. "We leave you here. I do not know who you are, but I have covered for you with the riders. You should be safe in the Riddermark."
He begins to mount his horse. "Wait," I call. "I don't know these lands. Maybe I could come with you."
"We do not even know your name," Legolas says, helping Gimli mount their horse.
"My name is Rachel," I say. Aragorn looks at me for more. "Daughter of John."
Gimli chuckles as he sits on the saddle. "What strange names. And you wear those strange clothes. You talk funny."
"I don't talk funny," I defend.
"You have an odd dialect I've never heard," Aragorn says. "And I've traveled all over Middle-earth."
"Maybe I'm not from Middle-earth." But the men just look at me funny. I roll my eyes. "Please," I beg. "I don't know my way around Rohan. I don't know my way around anywhere. I'm not sure how I got here, I just ended up in the middle of the Riddermark."
"How can we know to trust you?" Aragorn asks.
I take a deep breath, hoping that my next words don't put an arrow through my chest. "Because I know where to find your Hobbit friends."