Strangers From a Distant Land

Reunions

(Christopher's Point of View)

Christopher, called Anessen, stood on a talen with his uncle and father. They were waiting for his other uncle to report back with news. Christopher would be sent next. He kept fidgeting. After the ambush on the orcs, not much had happened. He supposed he should be thankful, but he was only thirteen, after all.

Orophin came swinging up. "Captain!" he called to his brother. "A group of ten has crossed the Nimrodel, and is heading for the Golden Wood. Among them are Legolas and Aragorn."

Haldir nodded at his brother. "Thank you, Orophin. Taurion and Rumil, go to alert the others. We shall greet them." His brother and Taurion bowed, and then swung down from the tree. Haldir looked at his nephew. "Are you ready, Anessen?" he asked.

"Yes!" Christopher replied.

An hour later, they were concealed in the trees, shadowing the group. Christopher narrowed his eyes at two of the figures, one a Halfling, and one a short man. Their hoods were up, and he was behind them, but something was familiar about them.

Soon, Christopher had to stuff his hand in his mouth to keep from laughing at what the dwarf was saying. The Lady, a sorcerer! Taurion, who was next to him, did not find it so funny, and from the look on his face, Christopher realized that he would have to keep the two separate in the future.

"Stay close, young hobbits," said dwarf whispered. "They say there's a great sorceress that lives in theses woods. An elf-witch of terrible power. All who look upon her fall under her spell and are never seen again."

"Mr. Frodo?" one of the Halflings asked another. Now why did that name sound so familiar? The dwarf continued to speak, after a concerned glance at the one called Frodo. At his first words, Haldir touched Christopher's arm, then slipped away, smirking slightly. Christopher nodded, then carefully, slowly, quietly drew an arrow from his quiver and fitted it to his bow. He too smirked when he heard what the dwarf was saying.

"Well, here's one Dwarf she won't ensnare so easily. I have the eyes of a hawk and the ears of a fox!"

At the last word, Haldir gave the signal and all ten elves present pulled their bowstrings back and held their arrows to the intruder's heads. Christopher had the distinct pleasure of being one of the ones covering the dwarf.

Haldir stepped forward, smirking at the group. "The dwarf breaths so loudly that we could have shot him in the dark."

Christopher smirked. The dwarf growled.

They marched the intruders back to closest talan, and allowed them to climb up. The short one with the hood had to be helped up the ladder, almost carried. Christopher idly wondered what was wrong with him.

Once they were up there, Haldir began to greet them by name, or at least those he knew.

"Welcome Legolas, son of Thranduil."

The elf replied. "Our Fellowship stands in you debt, Haldir of Lorin"

Haldir continued."Ah! Aragorn of the Dunedain, you are known to us."

The man, Aragorn, bowed. "Haldir" he said.

Huh, so they knew each other. Christopher mentally shook himself. If Orophin reconigzed someone, chances were Haldir would as well, and for that matter, Rumil too.

The dwarf spoke up again. "So much for the legendary courtesy of the Elves!" he exclaimed. "Speak words we can all understand!"

Haldir looked down his nose at him. Christopher had noticed that he was good at that when he wanted to be.

"We have not had dealing with the dwarves since the dark days," his uncle said in a superior voice.

The dwarf had a reply though. "And do you know what this dwarf says to that? Ishkhaqwi ai durugnul!"

Christopher had no idea what that meant, but it was clear that Rumil and Haldir did, as did the dark man, Aragorn of the Dunedain. He slapped the dwarf on the shoulder.

"That was not so courteous."

Then Haldir did something that completely surprised Christopher. He walked over to the hooded Halfling, glared down at him, then said-

"You bring great evil with you." Then turning to Aragorn he continued. "You can go no further."

They both went off to argue. Christopher was honestly a little surprised. Anyone who knew him knew that you could not win an argument with Haldir once his mind was made up. This Aragorn fellow must not know him very well.

The other man put an arm around the dark-haired Halfling and the hooded one.

"Gandalf's death was not in vain," he told them. "Nor would he have you give up hope."

Christopher jumped. Mithrandir was dead? That was grievous news, if he wasn't mishearing it. His Westron had become rusty through disuse, and he had only heard Mithrandir called Gandalf a handful of times. He hoped that he was mishearing.

The man turned his head to look at the hooded Halfling. "You carry a heavy burden, Maggie. Do not carry the weight of the dead."

Wait a second, Maggie?!"

Christopher went over to them. "Excuse me," he interrupted, drawing on barley remembered Westron, "Is your name perhaps Maggie Samantha Rivers?"

The hooded Halfling looked up, and then blinked. Then blinked. Then blinked again.

"Topher?" she asked, for it was a she.

"Maggie!" he cried. It was Maggie, his sister. He had found her. They were reunited at long last. He picked her up and squeezed her in what he used to call a bear hug. She let out a cry of pain.

"Put me down, Christopher Henry Rivers, or so help me…"

He put her down rather quickly. "What is the master?" he asked, and then corrected himself. "No, what is the matter?"

"A big nasty troll hit me with his club," she replied. "But that doesn't matter. What in the name of all that is good and holy happened to you?! You are seven years old! Not a teenager! And since when did you start braiding your hair?"

"I grew up. I have been here six years, and the braids are an honor and a privilege to wear. "

Maggie (how in Arda was she a Halfling?) raised an eyebrow. "Six years?! I've not even been here for six months!"

At that moment, they were interrupted by Haldir coming over. "Anessen!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing?" Christopher noticed that he was speaking Westron.

"Uncle Haldir," he replied in the same language, intentionally using the familiar address, instead of the more formal 'Captain'. "This is my sister, Maggie Rivers. She finally came here, like Lord Celeborn said she would.

Haldir smiled. "I am glad for you," he said, switching to Sindarin. "But she carries a great evil, as I said before. We have received word from the Lady to bring them at once to Caras Galadhon. Orophin and Rumil were originally going to stay, but I would assume that you would like your father here with you, instead of on the borders of our land?"

"Definitely."


(Maggie's Point of View)

It had been a surreal day. She had walked through the woods of Lothlorien beside her was seven-when-she-had-last-seen-him-a-few-months-ago-now-thirteen-year-old brother, catching up on what had happened.

("So you've been here for six years?" Maggie held to Christopher's arm as she felt her way along the path.

"Yes. After the f**k crashed – " Christopher was interrupted by Maggie doubling over in laughter, and Sarah, who had been listening in, having a sudden mysterious coughing fit.

"I said something wrong, did I not?"

"Yes. Christopher." Maggie got her breath back "Be a good little boy, err, elf, and never use that word again. I believe the word you were looking for was 'truck', though we were in a car, a minivan to be precise."

"Oh, I had forgotten that. It has been a while. As I was saying, after the truck crashed, Haldir found me standing a little lost in the middle of Cerin Amroth. He took me to Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. Apparently I, we that is, have been sent here for some purpose, though what it is, I cannot tell. Ada and Nanneth, Rumil and Silmewen, have taken me in, and raised me for the last six years. Lady Galadriel had seen that you would come here one day, and so I have been waiting for you. What has happened to you? My memories may be sketchy, but I'm fairly certain that you were taller."

"I woke up in the Shire, found that I was a Hobbit, and then I was literally bumped into by Merry and Pippin." Maggie gestured in the vague direction of the two Halflings in question, both jabbering away about their homeland to a smiling Haldir. "After that, the Black Riders –"

Christopher gave her a puzzled look.

"Nazgul?"

Still blank.

"Never mind, you don't want to know. They're terrible servants of the Dark Lord. Anyway, they chased us to Bree, a town of the Big People on the way to Rivendell, Imladris. There we met Aragorn and Sarah, and started towards Imladris. We stopped at Weathertop, an old watchtower, for a night, and the Black Riders attacked again. I was stabbed – "

"WHAT?"

"I was stabbed. A knife penetrated my shoulder. Do you seriously not know what stabbed is?"

"Yes, I know what stabbed means, Maggie. I'm not two."

"Good. Well, I don't remember much after that. I pretty much completely blacked out after seeing some pretty wicked statues, Sam says they were trolls, and the next thing I remember is waking up in a bed in Imladris, asking where I was, and being answered by Grace."

"Grace is here too?"

"Yep, she's been spending time in Rivendell. Lord Elrond said that she's too young to come with us and Sarah put her foot down as well. Back to the story. We left Christmas Day, and traveled south. We tried to cross the mountains, but Caradhras really didn't like us, and so we went through Moria." Maggie went quiet for a while then began again.

"We found the tomb of Balin the Dwarf, and were attacked by goblins and a cave troll. We fled to the Bridge of Khazad-Dum, and there was a Balrog. Gandalf fought it and cracked the bridge. The Balrog fell, but its whip caught Gandalf's ankle, and, and –" she broke off.

Christopher wrapped his arms around her and picked her gently up. She buried her face in his shoulder.

"I, I knew it was going to happen," she whispered, "and I know what happens next, and that it's going to be alright, but it still hurts."

Christopher rubbed little circles on her back. "Who was Gandalf?" he asked at length.

Maggie lifted her head from where it had been dampening his cloak. "Oh, the elves call him 'Mithrandir', the Grey Pilgrim."

Christopher sighed. "I had thought that, though I wished that it wasn't so. This is grievous news."

Any further conversation was cut off as they stepped into a light-filled glade. Maggie heard the light footfalls of approaching elves, and then many voices sounded around her, speaking in Sindarin, and soon Christopher had set her on the ground and removed the blindfold that Haldir had put on.

"I am so sorry about that," Christopher told her. "I wish it could have been otherwise, but our laws –"

"Its fine," Maggie was quick to reassure him. "No harm done."

"That's good," Christopher grinned. "I am very glad that you are here now, Maggie. I missed you.)


Maggie blinked and shook her head to get rid of the memory. They had rested there on Cerin Amroth, before Haldir had hurried them on again. Now she was standing on the edge of a small cliff beside Haldir, and looking down at Caras Galadhon, the heart of Elvendom on earth, realm of the Lord Celeborn and of Galadriel, the Lady of Light, to quote Haldir.

They soon reached the city, and climbed a long stair case, Boromir once again carrying her, her ribs flaring up in the last hour. Soon, they were at the top. When all the Fellowship was gathered, the Lord and Lady descended from wherever they had been.

Celeborn was the first to speak. "The Enemy knows you have entered here. What hope you had in secrecy is now gone," he began. "Eight there are here yet Nine there were set out from Rivendell. Tell me where is Gandalf? For I much desire to speak with him. I can no longer see him from afar."

Galadriel's face took on a look of deep sadness. "Gandalf the Grey did not pass the borders of this land. He has fallen into Shadow."

Celeborn looked at her in surprise. Clearly she had not mentioned this before.

Legolas confirmed her words bitterly. "He was taken by both Shadow and Flame: A Balrog of Morgoth, for we were lead needlessly into the net of Moria."

Galadriel looked at him rather sternly. "Needless were none of the deeds of Gandalf in life. We do not yet know his full purpose." She now turned her gaze upon Gimli. "Do not let the great emptiness of Khazad-Dum fill your heart, Gimli, so of Gloin. For the world had grown full of peril, and in all lands love is now mingled with grief."

"What now becomes of this Fellowship?" asked Celeborn. "Without Gandalf, hope is lost."

Maggie could hear Sarah muttering beside her.

"Way to be encouraging."

Maggie suppressed a snort.

Galadriel looked at them solemnly. "The quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little and it will fail – to the ruin of us all." Now she smiled slightly. "Yet home remains why the company is true." She let her gaze fall upon Boromir, and then smiled in earnest. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. Go now and rest, for you are weary with sorrow and much toil. Tonight you will sleep in peace." Her voice seemed to continue on in Maggie's head, echoing oddly.

"Welcome Maggie of America, one not from this world!"


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