M.E. Chapter 26: Aragorn Turns an Odd Shade of Red

I would like to clear up some confusion from the last chapter. It wasn’t like the sight of the Balrog made me feel better… However it did inspire me to run more. No, what made me feel better was Legolas’ girly screaming. He goes and screams "Ai! Ai! A Balrog! A Balrog is come!" And I’m sure he didn’t mean it to come out that wimpy, but it did. I would’ve laughed at him about it right there, except a Balrog *had* come and I wasn’t in the mood to doddle.

So I ran over the bridge even though it was extremely narrow and seemed to defy the laws of physics… Specifically the one about gravity. On the other side everyone (everyone but Gandalf, Aragorn, and Boromir that is) halted. "Why are we stopping here?" I asked in between gasps for air, "Let’s hurry on! I don’t like the look of that guy…"

"But we can not just leave Gandalf and the others!" Frodo exclaimed, then grabbed his side where he had hurt his bruise from the outburst.

"Ah, they’re big boys, they can mostly take care of themselves, besides what’s a little bruised hobo gonna do anyway?" I asked him, not realizing that I had mispronounced ‘hobbit’ until Frodo complained.

"I am not a hobo!" He replied indignantly.

"Oh, did I say ‘hobo’? What was I thinking? You still have that quaint little house in Crickhollow, don’t you?" I said more than asked.

"Yes I do, and how is it you seem to know so many things about me when I have not told you them?" Frodo asked.

"Um… Pippin told me." I said. Frodo gave Pippin an accusing look.

"I did not!" Pippin nearly shouted. He hated being blamed for things… Especially when it wasn’t really his fault, because that didn’t happen much.

Frodo was about to say something when our attention was diverted back to the bridge. Gandalf was yelling at the Balrog (who looks strangely like Ifrit) that he couldn’t pass.

"You cannot pass!" Gandalf was exclaiming, standing on the middle of the bridge. Aragorn and Boromir had rejoined us when Gandalf had called them fools.

"I love this part!" I whispered to Katy.

"I am servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anur. You cannot pass. The Dark Fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the shadow! You cannot pass." The Balrog hesitated, then bore down on little Gandalf with his sword. Gandalf countered and a great fire exploded as the blades made contact.

"Wow." I mumbled, "I wish he’d teach me to do that."

About this time Boromir and Aragorn ran back out to Gandalf again, shouting things about Elendil and Gondor. But all the same, Gandalf smote the bridge in half, the Balrog (being the stupid creature he is) fell down and (being the not quite as stupid creature as before) grabbed Gandalf with his whip as he fell.

The two men were stunned for a second but then Gandalf’s "Fly you fools." Came up from where he was falling and they quickly regained their wits as the bridge began to crumble beneath their feet, showing not all the laws of physics had been voided.

They ran back to us where we joined them in their running (even though I was more than a little tired, I ran too seeing as how I favored not ending like Boromir- the human pincushion).

We ran up some stairs, through the guards at the doors, through the doors, down more stairs, and far enough away that we wouldn’t be subjected to an arrow in the chest. Then finally, when I thought for sure my legs were going to fall off, we stopped.

The hobbits were broken up, they had been crying ever since they saw Gandalf fall, and were now weeping uncontrollably. The others were mourning in their own ways too. And Katy and I were mourning as well… For our poor, mistreated legs, that is.

As soon as the company halted, I collapsed into an exhausted heap on the ground and Katy wasn’t far behind me. I had never run so far in one day before in my life. We must have run 5 miles at least! Probably more like 12 or 27… And although the hobbits wailed quite loudly, I didn’t notice them, nor anything else for a good 20 minutes. I just sat/lay there trying to catch my breath and wishing feeling to return to my numb legs.

Some 20-23 minutes later I had finally fully (well pretty much fully my legs were very sore and my lungs burned from breathing so hard) recovered, I had even had a couple swigs of my water. No more ale for me.

I sat up. Katy was still recovering near by and the others were still being babies and wasting their breath over a guy who’d be back later anyway. I looked into my arms and saw that I was holding nothing. I then looked in Katy’s arms and saw that she was holding nothing. Then I struggled to get my pack off and 6 minutes later found my object of my query still missing.

"Katy," I said as she seemed to be pretty much recovered now too, "Have you seen a coconut rock? About this big?" I said showing her the size of a coconut rock with my hands.

"Um, yes…" Katy began, then stopped looking around frantically, "Rachel! I can’t find Bethany or Catti Coconut Rocks anywhere!!" She said desperately.

"Okay, Katy. Calm down." I said while helping her with her pack, "Maybe Aragorn knows what happened to them." I said trying to comfort my friend.

We walked over to the dismayed looking ranger, "Um… Aragorn? Have you seen Bethany or Catti Coconut Rock? They’re about this big, round, and kind of rockish?" I asked again displaying the approximate coconut rock size with my hands.

Aragorn looked at me with bewilderment in his eyes, "Coconut rocks?" He asked, I could tell he was starting to get angry but nodded anyway, "Gandalf just died and all you can think about are a couple of dirty no good chunks of earth??" Aragorn’s face was starting to turn an odd shade of red.

I nodded again. And Aragorn replied with an infuriated scream, then, "Some one just died! I could see you being a bit insensitive when Frodo was sick, or even when Balin was found dead as you did not know him, but you knew Gandalf! How can you be so insensitive, woman?"

I gave him a hurt look, "I felt sorry for Gimli when he found out Balin was dead. I never would’ve touched him if I didn’t. But how do you know Gandalf is dead? Did you see him die with your own eyes? Did you touch his sprawled out lifeless form? Did you see where two little coconut rocks went?" I asked.

"Well, no… But nobody could survive that. Not even a wizard." He said sadly, then finally answered my pressing question with a sigh, "You two dropped those rocks back when we were attacked in Balin’s tomb."

Katy and I exchanged shocked glances, "Noooooo!"


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