Of UNO and Thunderstorms

Chapter 24

Of UNO and Thunderstorms

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN LORD OF THE RINGS OR ANYTHING ELSE THAT I REFERENCE! NATALIE AND FRANCESCA OWN THEMSELVES! I ONLY OWN MYSELF AND MY OCS!

Chapter Twenty Four

Natalie's POV

When I woke up the next morning, Merry was still sleeping and Pippin was sitting next to a small waterfall near a barrel. He was drinking water from a small drinking bowl, but I was more concerned with glaring at the barrel. The Barrels! They're in Middle Earth too! I don't trust you barrel. I thought. Pippin gave me a look that told me I was being weird. I didn't really care, I'm always weird.

"Good morning, Natalie!" he said cheerfully. "Morning Pippin. Did you sleep well?" I asked. "I did actually. I had a dream where Merry and I had a big barrel of pipe weed, and we smoked all of it! And then Merry was sick. How did you sleep?" Pippin replied. "I slept pretty well. I didn't have crazy dreams about smoking or anything. I had a crazy dream that my cats Layla and Sherman could talk, but they could only speak Spanish. And then Olympia showed up out of nowhere with an army of squirrels that were riding tacos. Then Sherman started eating the tacos and had an epic battle with the squirrel whose taco he was eating." I answered. "That's interesting. What are tacos?" Pippin commented. "I was going to say weird, crazy or just flat out psychotic but that works too I guess. Tacos are basically corn shells filled with meat and lettuce and cheese and stuff. It's a type of food from my world." I shrugged and sat by the waterfall with my hobbit buddy. I picked up the other drinking bowl thing that was there and drank some of the water.

Merry woke up soon after that and started walking around. "Hello? Treebeard? Where has he gone?" he asked. "I had the loveliest dream last night. There was this large barrel, full of pipe weed. And we smoked all of it. And then…you were sick. I'd give anything for a whiff of Old Toby." Pippin commented randomly. Merry smiled a bit as Pippin said this. Then there was the strange groaning sound that trees apparently make.

"Did you hear that? There it is again. Something's not right here, not right at all." Merry said as the noise sounded again. Pippin stood up and made a weird groaning sound, sort of like the trees. I stood up also and found myself making a smaller noise similar to that. What the hell?! I thought. "You just said something, Treeish." Merry looked over at Pippin with a surprised expression.

"No I didn't. I was just stretching." Pippin replied, and made the noise again. Merry walked over to Pippin and began studying him closely. "You're taller." Merry observed. Pippin looked back over to me for a second. I walked around so that I could see them better. I had a feeling this would be funny. "Who?" He asked. "You!"Merry replied. "Than what?" Pippin raised his eyebrows. "Than me!" Merry continued. "I've always been taller than you." Pippin laughed. "Pippin, everyone knows, I'm the tall one. You're the short one." Merry responded. "Please, Merry. You're what? Three-foot-six? At most? Whereas me, I'm pushing 3'7." Pippin said and burped out a weird tree sound again. "3'8!" he exclaimed and quickly took another drink of the water. So this stuff makes you taller huh? I don't need to be any taller. Maybe I should bring some to Olympia! Naaah, she'd be mad. I thought and found myself laughing for the first time since Boromir died.

"Three-foot-eight. You did something." Merry stared at Pippin. Pippin grinned and tried to nonchalantly put down his bowl. Merry noticed, took the barrel from him and tried to drink from it. "Merry, don't! Don't drink it!" Pippin pleaded. Merry grinned and ran away with the barrel, trying to block Pippin as he took another drink. I started laughing openly. This was just too funny! "Merry, no! Treebeard said you shouldn't have any!" Pippin said.

"No he didn't! Treebeard hasn't been back here!" I retorted between laughs. "I want some!" Merry added. "It could well be dangerous! Give me it back, Merry!" Pippin yelled as he chased Merry around the small clearing. Merry climbed over some roots of a nearby tree, causing the barrel to fall. Merry and Pippin soon became trapped as the tree closed around them. I stopped laughing and ran over to the tree, trying to avoid being trapped but also trying to help my hobbit buddies. I wasn't doing a good job.

"What's happening?" Pippin asked, panicked. "Aaargh! It's got my leg!" Merry yelled. The hobbits struggled, trying to free themselves. It didn't work and the tree drew them in further. I hopped off the tree to avoid being trapped. "Help!" we all shouted. I was about to run out to try and find Treebeard when the Ent in question appeared out of nowhere.

"Away with you, you should not be waking. Eat earth, dig deep, drink water. Away with you, go to sleep." Treebeard scolded the tree. The tree released the hobbits and they scrambled away from it. "Come, the forest is waking up." Treebeard told us. The Ent then picked us up and began walking into the forest. We climbed up into his branches and sat there as Treebeard walked. "It isn't safe; the trees have grown wild and dangerous. Anger festers in their hearts. Black are their thoughts; strong is their hate. They will harm you if they can. There are too few of us now, too few of us Ents left to manage them." Treebeard explained.

"Why are there so few of you when you have lived so long? Are there Ent children?" Pippin asked. Treebeard looked down sadly. "There have been no Entings for a terrible long count of years." Treebeard answered. "Why is that?" Merry asked. "We lost the Entwives." Treebeard stated. "Oh, I'm sorry. How did they die?" Pippin told him. "Die? No. We lost them, and now we cannot find them. I don't suppose you've seen Entwives in the Shire?" Treebeard asked. "Can't say that I have. You, Pip?" Merry answered. Pippin shook his head. "What do they look like?" Pippin asked. "I don't remember now." Treebeard answered. "I'm sorry Treebeard. I haven't seen the Entwives either." I added.

*Olympia's POV*

"Olympia! Legolas! Wake up!" I heard my sister yelling and someone laughing in the background when I woke up the next morning. I made a face and opened my eyes. I blushed when I looked up to see Legolas just beginning to wake up. Sometime during the night I had curled up next to him and was using his chest as a pillow while he had wrapped his arm around my shoulders. I heard the distinct laughs of Kate, Gimli and Aragorn and moved back as Legolas sat up. "Oh how I wish I had a camera! That was adorable!" Kate squealed. I rolled my eyes. Gimli and Aragorn exchanged knowing looks and were beaming at the two of us.

"Alright, alright. I'm up." I grumbled as Legolas and I stood up. Kate opened her mouth to say something. She had a devious look in her eyes. "Whatever it is you're thinking of asking, I'm not going to tell you." I pointed at her and glared. This sent all three of them into another fit of laughter. Gandalf was getting the horses ready to go, but I'd be willing to bet he heard all of what we'd said. I decided that my hair would annoy me if I didn't do something with it, so I pulled it into a tight French braid down my back. Kate and I had been able to brush our hair last night when we stopped; she had braided hers back before going to sleep. As soon as everyone was bright eyed and bushy tailed, we mounted our horses and set off for Edoras.

"Alright, now spill your guts. What exactly happened last night?" Kate asked as we rode. I put my forehead into Kate's back and she laughed. "I, uh, I talked to Legolas last night." I answered. "That doesn't explain why you two were all cuddly this morning. That was adorable by the way." Kate pointed out. I didn't answer her for a little while and found myself looking over at Legolas on Arod not far from Braylla. He smiled and mouthed 'I love you' to me. I grinned and mouthed 'I love you too' in response. "Awww." Kate gushed in an oh-so-very-fake, overly girly voice. "I'm going to assume you caught that." I responded. "Yep, and I'm glad you two finally admitted that you love each other. Did you kiss him?" Kate asked in a much lower voice than she'd previously been using. I blushed furiously. "Well, technically speaking, he kissed me. But seeing as I know you don't really care about technical stuff when you ask these kinds of questions, the answer's yes." I stated. Even though I couldn't see her, I knew Kate was smirking and rolling her eyes at me.

We had been riding for about an hour when Gandalf stopped and we all looked at the city of Edoras, perched on a hill a few miles from where we stood. "Edoras, and the Golden Hall of Meduseld. There dwells Theoden, King of Rohan, whose mind is overthrown. Saruman's hold over King Theoden is now very strong. Be careful what you say. Do not look for welcome here." Gandalf told us. And with that, the wizard led us into Edoras. As we approached the gates of the city, I watched as a flag with a white horse on it fluttered to the ground near Aragorn. When we entered the city and followed Gandalf, I felt as if everyone in Edoras stopped whatever they were doing and stared at us. I rolled my eyes in annoyance, shifted uncomfortably and briefly toyed with the idea of saying something very, very sarcastic. I quickly decided against it as Kate turned to glare at me out of the corner of her eye. 'Don't say anything stupid' she mouthed. Sometimes, I think my sister can read my mind. I looked up to the Golden Hall of Meduseld and saw Eowyn standing there, watching us.

"You'll find more cheer in a graveyard." Gimli commented. "Amen to that." I muttered. We soon got off our horses and walked up to the Golden Hall. As we reached the top of the stairs, a man with red-brownish hair and a whole bunch of guards came out to meet us. Oh this should be good. I thought as Gandalf smiled at them.

"I cannot allow you before Theoden King so armed, Gandalf Greyhame. By order of Grima Wormtongue." The man whose name I couldn't remember said to Gandalf. He looked as if it pained him to take orders from Wormtongue. It would have pained me. Gandalf nodded to us and we all began taking off our weapons. I took out my knives, and flipped them so their handles were out and held them out to the guard. He gave me and absolutely dumbfounded expression and gawked at me for a second. I raised an eyebrow and he took the knives. I handed him my bow and quiver as well. He still looked completely shocked. I looked over at Kate next to me as she handed her weapons over and the guard who took them had a similar expression. My sister looked at me and we exchanged 'I'm not amused' looks. I know these people don't let women fight but do they really have to do this when it happens? They act like it's the strangest thing they've ever seen! And I know that there are stranger things in this world than women who fight. Okay maybe not to these people…but still! I thought, thoroughly annoyed.

"Your staff." The man with red-brownish hair stated once all our weapons had been confiscated. "Hmm, you would not part an old man from his walking stick." Gandalf replied. Kate and Gimli looked very amused and I tried to pass off my laughter as a nasty coughing fit. Kate patted my back and gave me a look that said plainly, 'Shut up.' The guards let us pass and Gandalf looked back and winked in our direction. Aragorn smirked as Gandalf leaned on Legolas's arm in addition to his staff to make it seem like he really did need the help and we walked into the hall after the guard. I looked around and saw King Theoden sitting there on his throne. To put it bluntly, he looked older than dirt and the only way I knew he was breathing was because I know what happens now. Next to him sat the snake himself, Grima Wormtongue. In my opinion, he was beyond ugly and looked like he'd never showered in his life. All of us, except for Gandalf, looked back as the door creaked shut behind us.

"The courtesy of your hall is somewhat lessened of late, Theoden King." Gandalf announced as we walked nearer to Theoden. I looked around and noticed a group of menacing looking guards glaring at us. I saw Grima lean over and whisper something into the King's ear. I gave him my most intimidating death glare. I took notice of Gimli, Kate, Aragorn and Legolas doing the same. If looks could kill, he'd be dead at least a thousand times over by now.

"Why should I welcome you, Gandalf Stormcrow?" King Theoden croaked. "A just question, my liege." Wormtongue told the king. I rolled my eyes. The snake then got up and walked towards Gandalf. "Late is the hour in which this conjurer chooses to appear. Lathspell I name him. Ill news is an ill guest." Wormtongue continued. I balled my hands into fists and took a deep breath, trying my hardest not to go and punch him in the face.

"Be silent. Keep your forked tongue behind your teeth. I have not passed through fire and death, to bandy crooked words with a witless worm." Gandalf snapped and raised his staff up to Wormtongue's face. I grinned broadly and just barely suppressed another laughing fit. I couldn't have said it better myself. "His staff; I told you to take the wizard's staff!" Wormtongue whined. The menacing looking soldiers from earlier all moved towards Gandalf. Yeah, I don't think so. I thought as the rest of us started to fight them off. A lot of the guards totally ignored Kate and I, not willing to attack a woman. This is, until I decided to be a real pain in the ass and go completely ninja on them.

I smirked and punched one of the guards in the gut, before grabbing his arm, putting him in a wristlock and using him as a shield against one who was aiming a punch at me. I turned and the other guard ended up knocking out his friend who I had in a wristlock. I dropped the first guard and roundhouse kicked the second one in the jaw, successfully knocking his lights out. Another guard came at me and I just moved to the side, put a hand on his shoulder and pulled forward with that hand as I swept his legs backwards. This resulted in the guard face-planting into the floor, me doing a forward roll over him and punching another guard in the gut, then pushing him to the side.

"Olympia, move!" I heard Kate yell. I looked over and saw her about to judo throw a guard. I moved to the side as Kate threw the guy, who landed with a thud. I turned away from him just in time to block a punch to the face. I pulled his arm forward, turned around and judo threw him onto the guy Kate had thrown. I didn't mean to throw him onto the other guy, but hey, sometimes you can't help it. I glanced to Legolas just in time to see him throw a back fist behind him and hit one of the guards square in the face; without even looking. Once all the guards were either unconscious or had given up, Gimli stepped on Wormtongue's chest, pinning him to the ground.

"I would stay still if I were you."Gimli growled at Wormtongue. "I would listen to him if I were you." I commented upon seeing this. I soon walked over to where Kate, Aragorn and Legolas were watching Gandalf break the curse that was on Theoden. "And you say I am the show-off." Legolas leaned over and whispered to me. I looked at him with an eyebrow raised. "Yes, because you are." I whispered back. "And you are not?" He argued. "I never said that." I smiled.

"Hearken to me! I release you, from the spell." Gandalf said to Theoden as he raised up his hand. Theoden laughed at Gandalf. "You have no power here, Gandalf the Grey." He mocked. I couldn't see Gandalf's face but I knew he looked pissed off. Gandalf threw off his grey cloak and white light suddenly filled the semi-dark room. "I will draw you Saruman, as poison is drawn from a wound." Gandalf said and thrust his staff forward, throwing Theoden back in his chair. Eowyn ran into the room and saw this happening. She rushed towards her uncle, but Aragorn grabbed her arm and held her back. "Wait." He told her.

"If I go, Theoden dies!" Saruman began to speak through Theoden's body. Creepy. "You did not kill me. You will not kill him." Gandalf responded, moving closer to Theoden while still holding his staff. "Rohan is mine!" Saruman hissed. "Be gone!" Gandalf said, pushing Theoden back in his chair with his staff again. Theoden began to slump forward and Eowyn rushed to him to stop him from falling and they kneeled on the floor. I watched in amazement as Theoden's face changed and he looked a whole lot younger than he had previously. He had less wrinkles now, and his hair was shorter and better kept and had a pale blonde color to it. In short, the King of Rohan was himself again.

The King looked up from Eowyn and at Gandalf. "Gandalf?" he asked. "Breathe the free air again, my friend." Gandalf said. Theoden, with a great effort, stood up again. "Dark have been my dreams of late." Theoden stated and looked down at his hands, flexing his fingers. "Your fingers would remember their old strength better, if they grasped your sword." Gandalf told him. One of the guards brought Theoden's sword to him. Slowly, the king drew his sword and stared at the blade. Then he turned towards Wormtongue and glared at him.

Author's note: And yeah, I'm really ending the chapter there. Sorry, the chapter was too long for everything else that was in that particular scene. I'll try not to leave you with this awful cliffhanger for too long! READ AND REVIEW PLEASE!

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