Of UNO and Thunderstorms
DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT OWN LORD OF THE RINGS OR ANYTHING ELSE I REFERENCE! NATALIE AND FRANCESCA OWN THEMSELVES! I ONLY OWN MYSELF AND MY OCS!
Chapter Twenty Five
I stood outside the Golden Hall and watched with Kate, Legolas, Gimli and Eowyn as two guards threw Wormtongue out of the Golden Hall and he tumbled down the stairs. I flinched slightly. As much as I really, really don't like this guy, that fall had to hurt. King Theoden walked down the stairs after him with his sword in his hand, stumbling every so often because he hadn't walked in who knows how long.
"I've only ever served you my lord." Wormtongue made a pathetic attempt at defending himself and crawled backwards down the stairs, away from the king. Theoden continued to walk forwards towards the snake. "Your leechcraft would have had me crawling on all fours like a beast!" he exclaimed. "Send me not from your sight!" Wormtongue begged. King Theoden then raised his sword as if to kill Wormtongue. Aragorn rushed up to the King and held him back. Damn it!
"No my lord! No my lord. Let him go. Enough blood has been spilt on his account." Aragorn told Theoden. Aragorn then held his hand out to Wormtongue to help him get up. Wormtongue spit on his hand, scrambled to his feet and pushed through the crowd of people that had gathered to watch screaming, "Get out of my way!"
"Hail Theoden King!" one of the guards shouted and everyone kneeled to Theoden. Kate, Legolas, Eowyn, Gimli and I just stood where we were and I watched Wormtongue ride out of Edoras on a black horse. Meh, we'll take care of him later. I thought as I glared after him. King Theoden looked back at the people who had been in the Golden Hall when Gandalf freed him. "Where is Théodred? Where is my son?" he asked.
Théodred's body was carried through the city and to his tomb by six guards who were followed immediately by King Theoden, then Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Gandalf, Kate, me, then some of the people of Rohan. The rest of the men were standing on the sidelines watching. We walked down to the tombs where the women stood. Eowyn started to sing in the language of Rohan as the six guards laid Théodred's body to rest in the tomb. I bowed my head in respect and said a silent prayer for Théodred and the many other brave soldiers who died to defend the freedom of the people of Middle Earth.
After Théodred's funeral, I went back to the Golden Hall with Kate, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli and Eowyn. We all sat down and ate some of the food that was brought out for us. I don't think I have ever appreciated cheese and crackers more in my life. Yep, that's really all I ate out of all the food that was there. Soon, Gandalf and Theoden came back with two small children, boy and a girl. Both had blonde hair and the boy looked to be the older of the two. Even then he couldn't have been older than twelve, if that. Eowyn quickly sat them down and gave them some soup, which they practically attacked, and sat with them. I didn't exactly blame them for attacking the food; they hadn't eaten in days and the boy had only been half conscious when they were brought in. I felt bad for them.
"They had no warning. They were unarmed. Now the Wild Men are moving through the Westfold, burning as they go. Rick, cot and tree." Eowyn said after a few minutes. "Where is Mama?" the little girl asked. Eowyn hushed the child and wrapped a thick blanket around her shoulders.
"Did you hear that Kate? That was the sound of my heart breaking." I whispered to my sister. "Mine did too." She whispered back and patted my shoulder.
"This is but a taste of the terror Saruman will unleash; all the more potent for he is driven now by fear of Sauron. Ride out and meet him head on. Draw him away from your women and children. You must fight." Gandalf told King Theoden, who was sitting on his throne with his face in his hand. "You have two thousand good men riding north as we speak. Éomer is loyal to you. His men will return and fight for their king." Aragorn added. Theoden got up and started walking towards the children.
"They will be three hundred leagues from here by now. Éomer cannot help us. I know what it is you want of me….but I will not bring further death to my people. I will not risk open war." The king replied, looking at Gandalf. "Open war is upon you whether you would risk it or not." Aragorn stated. I saw Eowyn give Aragorn a warning look. Theoden turned to Aragorn and took a few steps towards him. "When last I looked, Theoden, not Aragorn, was King of Rohan." Theoden told him. Suddenly, Gimli burped loudly and wiped his mouth, looking embarrassed. I couldn't decide whether to roll my eyes, laugh, or totally ignore it like everyone else. Ah, who ever said I was like everyone else? I laughed softly and rolled my eyes. "Then what is the King's decision?" Gandalf asked. King Theoden decided to lead the people to the refuge of Helm's Deep.
I could tell everyone was more than annoyed as we left for the stables to pack our things and get ready to go. "By order of the King, the city must empty. We make for the refuge of Helm's deep. Do not burden yourself with treasures. Take only what provisions you need." We heard one of the guards say as we made for the stables, after of course, getting our weapons back. I smirked at the look on King Theoden's face when he saw Kate and I putting our weapons back on before going to attend to something that needed his immediate attention.
"Helm's Deep." Gandalf grumbled. "They flee to the mountains when they should stand and fight. Who will defend them if not their king?" Gimli commented. I shrugged. "He's only doing what he thinks is best for his people. Helm's Deep has saved them in the past." Aragorn responded as we walked into the stables. Am I going to be riding with Kate again or am I getting my own horse? I wondered randomly as Kate walked to Braylla and began to prepare her horse for the ride to Helm's Deep.
"There is no way out of that ravine. Theoden is walking into a trap. He thinks he is leading them to safety. What they will get is a massacre. Theoden has a strong will, but I fear for him. I fear for the survival of Rohan. He will need you before the end Aragorn. The defenses have to hold." Gandalf explained walked to Shadowfax. "They will hold." Aragorn assured him. Gandalf walked to Shadowfax and stroked the horse's nose, muttering something to himself. I wasn't paying attention anymore.
I did, however, pay attention when Gandalf rode out of the stall at a very fast pace and Legolas pulled me out of the middle of the hall so I wouldn't get hurt. Once Gandalf had left, I gave Legolas a quick hug and a kiss on his cheek before looking over at my sister, who was talking to Eowyn. We hadn't been properly introduced yet, so I assume that's what Kate was doing.
"Hi Kate!" I said as I walked over to the two of them. "Hi. Eowyn, I would like you to meet my sister, Olympia. Olympia, this is Eowyn." Kate introduced me to Eowyn. "Hello Eowyn. It's nice to meet you." I smiled. "It is a pleasure to meet you as well, Lady Olympia." Eowyn smiled. "Eowyn, you do not need to call me Lady. I really don't like formalities." I told her. She nodded. "Anyway, I have to ask you something Eowyn. See, Olympia rode with me on Braylla here and I wanted to know if there were any horses Olympia could ride so she doesn't have to ride with me this time." My sister turned to Eowyn as she said this. Typical Kate. I guess being able to read someone's mind is what happens when you know them their whole lives. I am now convinced of this. Why? Because it seems that way with my sister and I and stranger things have happened.
"I am sure we will be able to find a horse for Olympia." Eowyn replied. "Really? Thank you!" I grinned at her. Inside I was jumping up and down and dancing like a lunatic. "Yes. If you would just follow me." Eowyn smiled a little upon seeing me bouncing on the balls of my feet and led me to a stall of a light-colored horse with a black mane and tail; the horse also had black fur about halfway up its legs. "I do not believe this mare has a master. You may ride her if you wish." Eowyn told me as she petted the mare's neck. I smiled to myself and slowly approached the horse, petting her nose. She nuzzled my hand and Eowyn laughed softly. I smiled and petted the horse's neck as well.
"I believe she likes you." Eowyn pointed out. "She's beautiful. Does she have a name?" I asked. "No, she does not have a name at the moment." Eowyn answered. "Can I name her?" the next question came out of my mouth a split second after my first one was answered. Eowyn smiled at my apparent enthusiasm. "Yes, you may name her." She told me. "Arya. I'll name her Arya." I said, deciding to name the horse after one of my favorite fictional characters. In case it isn't obvious; I am a very avid reader of fantasy books. "That is a beautiful name though it seems a bit strange to me." Eowyn replied. I smiled. After showing me how to brush Arya and put a saddle on her and all that happy crap, Eowyn left to go do something else in preparation to leave for Helm's Deep. After of course chuckling in response to my many 'Thank you' speeches and saying she was happy to help me.
Soon enough, we mounted our horses and left the city of Edoras behind us as we made for Helm's Deep. My heart went out to these people. Watching them leave behind everything they've ever known, not knowing whether or not they'd come back or what they would find if they did. It was a truly heartbreaking sight. The fact that I knew many of them wouldn't be coming back broke my heart even more. I urged Arya forward and rode between Kate and Legolas. Gimli was riding another horse that was being led by Eowyn.
We had left the Black Gates some time ago and were now walking through a forest along a river. "Olympia, would love it here." I commented. "I'm sure she would." Frodo commented. Holy crap. He spoke. Frodo hadn't been talking much and seemed a bit depressed. Sam nodded in agreement. "I can just see her sitting up in one of those trees and laughing at something ridiculous that we were doing. She's done that before you know." I continued.
"I can't say I am very surprised at that." Sam commented with a smile. "Oh yeah. There was one time when we were in second grade. Olympia, Kate and I were at her house, playing in the yard. We hadn't met Natalie yet. We were laughing and goofing off, a lot like we do now and she decided to climb a tree and talk in a high squeaky voice, trying to convince Kate and me that squirrels could talk. Kate, who was eleven at the time and in fourth grade, didn't buy it. But my ridiculous seven year old mind believed her. I started talking out loud to a squirrel on the fence, asking what acorns tasted like and things like that. Olympia laughed so hard she fell out of the tree. But that was when she sprained her wrist. Even now, she'll still crack jokes about it. We'll see a squirrel and Olympia will make her voice go high pitched and squeaky and say something like, 'Hi Francesca! Remember me? I'm Chippy the squirrel! Acorns taste like crap. Do you have any real food? Pizza maybe?' and then we'll all remember that and laugh." I started laughing as I re-lived that particular instance. By the end of the story, Sam and Frodo had given up on stifling their laughter and were both chuckling as they pictured that.
I smiled at the realization of the fact that a silly childhood memory had made Frodo forget, if only for a moment, that the weight of the world was quite literally on his shoulders. Gollum was half swimming in the river chasing a fish. I rolled my eyes and we talked for a while. Sam and Frodo told me about the Shire and I told them stories of the stupid thing Kate, Olympia, Natalie and I had done; including Kate and Natalie's series of pranks on me and Olympia last April Fools' Day, which just so happened to be the birthday of a friend of ours. This friend was in on the pranks and just sat there laughing at our misfortune. Twelve straight hours of exploding soda cans, fake lottery tickets, red hands from dye mixed with soap and put in soap dispensers and baby powder in my hair dryer. It had absolutely sucked. When I saw Olympia again, we'd have to plot revenge. As I finished recounting this event, I noticed that Gollum was still chasing that fish.
"Hey, stinker, don't go getting too far ahead." Sam called to him. "Why do you do that?" Frodo asked. "What?" Sam replied. "Call him names. Run him down all the time." Frodo clarified, sounding a bit….defensive. What the hell? And just as suddenly as it started, our little escape from reality ended. Damn I miss them. I hope Kate's watching out for them like she always does. I thought to myself.
"Because. Because that's what he is, Mr. Frodo. There's naught left in him but lies and deceit. It's the Ring he wants. It's all that he cares about." Sam responded. "You have no idea what it did to him. What it's still doing to him." Frodo told him, looking a bit pissed. He walked away from Sam a few steps and looked to Gollum, who had lost the fish. "I want to help him, Sam." He continued. "Why?" Sam asked. "Because I have to believe he can come back." Frodo said.
"Bless your heart Frodo, but I think he's past the point of help." I added. "You can't save him Mr. Frodo." Sam said and we walked up to him. Frodo whirled around and glared between us. "And what do you know about it? Nothing!" He snapped. Sam looked hurt and I bit my lip as Sam and I walked around Frodo and gave him some space. I tried not to take it personally. The Ring is doing this to him. That's the main reason I came. Yeah I may not get to fight in the actual battles and whatnot but Frodo's my friend and I want to help him. Sam's my friend too and I don't want him getting hurt either. Plus the fact that I'm not much of a fighter; that's Olympia's and Natalie's thing. And hey, Kate lives with Olympia so she has to know how to defend herself. Olympia wouldn't allow her to not. She cares so much that she roped Natalie into helping her teach me and Kate some basic self defense. "I'm sorry Sam, Francesca. I don't know why I said that." Frodo said.
"I do. It's the Ring. You can't take your eyes off it. I've seen you. You're not eating. You barely sleep. Its taken hold of you, Frodo. You have to fight it." Sam replied, walking up to his long-time friend. "I know what I have to do Sam! The Ring was entrusted to me. It's my task. Mine! My own!" Frodo snapped again and walked away. "Can't you hear yourself? Don't you know who you sound like?" Sam yelled. He looked like he wanted to cry. He sounds like Gollum. I thought.
Author's note: And yeah. Lots of random stuff from the past. There you have the story of how Olympia sprained her wrist, the story of Kate and Natalie's epic prank war on Olympia and Francesca, Olympia teaching Francesca and Kate some self defense and Olympia getting her own horse. By the way, yes, Olympia's horse is in fact named after Arya from the 'Inheritance Cycle' series. I felt like it, okay? READ AND REVIEW PLEASE!