M.E. Chapter 46: The Wrath of a Ranger

"Hmm… I just like everyone that much!" Stacey exclaimed, and before poor Leggy knew what was happening he had a Stacey latched onto her in a tight embrace.

I cringed in pity for the elf while the others laughed. Legolas regained his senses and using his ‘great warrior might’ he pushed the maiden off of him.

Stacey pouted for a moment until Merry had to open his big mouth (I’m serious, have you seen the size of that thing?) and tell her it was her turn.

She grinned evilly, and being the completely evil person she so oftenly is, she picked me again. Grr… "Rachel, truth or dare?"

"Truth." I said, not even hesitating this time.

Stacey sighed, "Come on, anything else. Truth is so boring."

I thought for a moment, "… If Katy and me can be on a team I’ll choose dare." I said.

"Hey!" Katy exclaimed.

"Hold on while I have a conversation with my esteemed, uh… Hobbit. Yes, my esteemed hobbit." I said pleased with myself. I then walked off to a nearby tree.

Katy, knowing I was talking about her stood up and followed. "I don’t want to do dare… They’ll choose something stupid!"

I rolled my eyes, "One way or another they’re going to force you to take a dare some time. The question is would you rather be doing the same stupid thing I am, or doing something by yourself?"

"Oh. I hadn’t thought of that." Katy mumbled, "Okay fine, let’s team up."

"Right. We’ll be an evil duo, unstoppable!" I exclaimed.

"Hey guys are you ready yet?" Stacey called.

Our expressions fell considerably, "But first to face our doom." I mumbled as we headed back over to our waiting "friends."

"We’ve settled the matter." I proclaimed, "And if you ever want anything other than ‘truth’ out of us, I’m afraid you’ll have to let us be a team."

The others mulled over this for a moment and finally consented. "Okay so I repeat my question, truth or dare?" Stacey asked.

Katy and I whispered between ourselves, "Dare." I said slowly, eyeing my new arch enemy nervously.

She smirked, "Okay, um… The two of you go find one of the other members of the Fellowship," Stacey told us, stopping for a dramatic pause, it’s affect lost completely as Merry was humming some silly tune in the background, "and hug him!" She finished, irritated at Merry for ruining the moment.

Our eyes widened in horror, "What? You mean… Us? … You want us to… Ugh!" We stammered on like this for a couple minutes until Stacey finally interrupted.

"Yes. You two. Hug someone. That’s what I said!"

"But… But…" Katy stammered.

"But… What about Katyism?? Don’t we get religious exemption from this kind of dare?" I asked.

Katy joined in, "Yeah! It’s against Katyism to hug people!"

Stacey rolled her eyes, "No. No religious exemption seeing as how Katyism isn’t a real religion."

Katy and I gasped in horror, "Blasphemy!" I called.

"It is too, I made it up!" Katy exclaimed.

"Um… What IS Katyism." Merry asked.

Katy and I looked at each other.

"Fine we’ll do it." We mumbled, not wanting to have to explain this in front of everyone.

Stacey smiled and everyone closely followed us as we walked off in search of our first, and hopefully last, victim.

Through a series of unfortunate incidents, the first member of the Fellowship not playing our game that we ran into was Gimli. What were these unfortunate incidents? Five ups, three lefts, one down and two to the right.

We peeked around the corner at him. "Well what do you say?" I asked Katy, "Get it over with or find someone else?"

"I would go for finding someone else." Legolas muttered.

"Let’s just get it over with." Katy sighed. I nodded my agreement.

We strode casually around the corner. "Well, hello young lasses!" Gimli greeted us, "And what are you up to today?"

"Nothing much. I mean besides plotting Stacey’s soon demise." I said. Katy elbowed me, but the damage was done.

"And why is that?" Gimli asked, then taking up a defensive stand with his axe, "She is not around is she?" He asked cautiously.

"Um… Well… Somewhere, sure." Katy said.

"Probably hanging around with that *annoying* elf." I said, stressing the word ‘annoying’ for Legolas’ sake.

Gimli laughed, muttering agreement to this statement.

At an unspoken signal, Katy and I lunged and engulfed the poor old dwarf in a hug. Legolas averted his eyes trying to decide between cringing in disgust or laughing at our misfortune.

Gimli gave out a loud, enraged bellow before he even knew what was happening. When he finally collected his senses and realized what had just occurred he gave us the strangest look.

Before he was able to say anything about our behavior though, Aragorn and Frodo came running up, closely followed by Sam. "What is the trouble?" Aragorn questioned, perceiving no danger.

Gimli reddened slightly, whereas Katy and I looked about red enough to be mistaken for Darth Maul.

"Aragorn! Thank Eru you are here!" Gimli exclaimed, quickly positioning himself on the other side of the ranger, but trying to be subtle about it.

Aragorn raised an eyebrow at the dwarf, "Is something the matter, Master dwarf?" He questioned again.

Gimli meekly nodded, "I think our friends," He motioned towards us as he said this, "have fallen for my manliness… And I didn’t even mean to catch the young ones!"

Katy and I were now lit up, redder than Rudolf’s nose, redder than a light bulb on a Christmas tree, Redder even than my brother had ever been when he was sick, sunburned, or both!

Aragorn gave Gimli a doubtful look but before he was able to reply our shadows could contain themselves no longer. They burst out laughing and came into view.

Aragorn looked up to see the assembled group, "Gimli, I am afraid they might have had something to do with this." He told the dwarf with a wide grin on his face, barely able to keep from chuckling himself. "Is that right?" He asked looking down at us, causing us to go red again after momentarily almost recovering back to our normal color.

We nodded but didn’t say anything.

Aragorn laughed, "It is as I expected than, dwarf friend." He told Gimli.

Gimli looked confused, "What is?" He asked.

"Merry, Pippin, and Lady Stacey have already proved themselves quite the pranksters," He told the dwarf, "And I happen to know Legolas gets into quite a lot of trouble himself back in Mirkwood," Aragorn explained, "I am afraid you have become victim to a dare."

The dwarf finally showed a look of dawning understanding on his face, "You mean they were dared to hug me?" He asked.

We nodded, "It was a matter of honor!" I exclaimed, "… Well, sort of."

"And what other trouble have all of you been up to?" Aragorn asked.

Katy and I weren’t planning to tell him anything, especially the part about Pippin’s dare. Legolas and Stacey knew better too. Unfortunately, the troublesome duo (I mean Merry and Pippin this time) had no such common sense and were soon babbling off everything we had done and said to Aragorn.

When they were through Aragorn actually looked surprisingly calm despite Frodo and Sam snickering behind him. He arched his eyebrows and for a moment he actually did look something like Elrond as his eyebrows hovered near the top of his brow, "You have managed to cause that much trouble and it is not even lunch time yet?" He asked in surprise.

In reply we all looked down… Except for Merry and Pip who enthusiastically shook their heads ‘yes.’

Aragorn sighed, rubbing his temples with a hand. He brought it back down, "That is it. None of you are allowed to spend the rest of the day together." He decided.

We all gaped at him, "WHAT?!" We asked simultaneously, "That isn’t fair!" Stacey exclaimed.

"You are obviously all becoming bored with each other and need to make up ways to get into trouble. The simplest solution would be for you to all mingle with someone else for a change." He told us, "Is that not right, Boromir?" He asked.

We turned around, sure enough Boromir had walked in while Aragorn was speaking.

"I do not know about that…" Boromir said, "What did they do anyway?"

"I will tell you later." Aragorn answered, "Now what are you all going to do? I cannot very well leave you to your own devices again."

No one said anything and Aragorn sighed, "Alright, who wants to go with Boromir?" He asked.

No one volunteered, "What, does nobody like me?" Boromir asked, feigning hurt, "I do not smell, do I?"

Pippin smiled, "I’ll go with you Boromir." He volunteered, "Are you hungry?"

Boromir and Pippin walked off, and Frodo and Sam were sneaking out behind Aragorn, "Not so fast you two, you are taking charge of one of these too." He declared. They stopped to see who’d they have to be responsible for.

"Oh, I will go with Frodo!" Merry immediately volunteered.

"No, not you Merry, you would just get them into trouble as well." He murmured.

Legolas took a step backwards, "Do not look to me!" He said, "I will just mingle with the other elves." He said, moving away.

"Wait!" Aragorn called, then said pointing at him, "You I am not done with."

"I’ll go with them." Stacey volunteered, knowing her only other choices would be the dwarf or the ranger.

The said ranger inclined his head, gesturing she could go. "Merry, you go with Gimli." Aragorn said. Merry somberly left, you could tell he wanted to grumble, but in present company he smartly decided against it.

Aragorn turned his attention to Legolas next, "Legolas, I cannot believe you were part of this!" He exclaimed.

"Well… In that case, can I go?" Legolas asked.

Aragorn looked at him angrily, "I will take that as a no then?" Legolas said.

"How could you let them cause so much damage? You realize you were the eldest, you were supposed to be the responsible one in the group!" Aragorn chastened Legolas. Legolas was looking guiltily at his feet, but Aragorn continued, "I can excuse the others’ behavior, they are young; but YOU! You are over 2000 years old! You are clearly an adult, even by elven standards! And yet you were acting as childish as any elfling!" Aragorn was turning red in the face as he yelled at Legolas, Katy and I even felt bad and we weren’t even being yelled at yet.

Finally he stopped, still breathing heavily. Legolas looked up meekly, "Can I go now?" He asked quietly, looking very much like a child being disciplined.

Aragorn nodded and reverted to breathing in an attempt to calm himself. Legolas wisely crept quietly away.

After he had calmed, Aragorn glared at the two of us, "Have you two learned anything from all of this?" He asked, sounding disconcertingly like our father.

We nodded, "And what is that?" He asked.

Katy spoke first, "That dwarves’ beards are much softer than they look?" She questioned.

"That I need to hide my sword at night?" I asked.

Aragorn gave us both strange looks, "What?" He asked.

"It’s really quite soft!" Katy told him.

"Stacey stole my sword." I complained.

Aragorn rolled his eyes, no wonder Elrond had sent Arwen away when she was at about this maturity. "Come on." He told us leading us back the way we came.

We followed obediently, "Where are we going?" I questioned.

"First we are going to find your sword, as I know you will be quite a bother if we do not find it; then we are going to see if we cannot find someone else willing to bear one of you." He told us as we continued off to the pavilion.

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