An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court ~ Part 29 - Australian Crawl

An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court ~ Part 29

Australian Crawl

"How far are they racing?" asked Haldir with fascination as he watched all three swimmers stroking head to head up the river. He wasn't sure if his eyes were actually deceiving him or not for there was i titheniel keeping pace with the two swimmers beside her.

"They are swimming upstream aways, to where you set up the flying fox and rope for Coralie," said Frodo pointing in that direction.

"You mean they are swimming against the current?" Haldir could hardly believe it. "But i titheniel cannot possibly keep this pace up for long over such a great distance!" he exclaimed.

"That may be so, but I think you may be in for a bit of a shock, Haldir, as well as Aragorn and Legolas too. She hasn't even started to swim yet," laughed Frodo.

"That's right Haldir. Aragorn picked the hardest course he could think of, but I don't think it will make any difference either," said Pippin.

The many spectators were now half running up the sides of the riverbank urging the swimmers on with the majority, called out for the 'princess', who had managed to keep pace with both Legolas and Aragorn. She was matching them stroke for stroke and seemed to ride comfortably on the wake provided from Legolas to her right. Aragorn on the far side was also making a good show, as his powerful arms pulled him through the water with determined skill. Legolas could see Coralie through the water as she stroked beside him. At first he marvelled at her tenacity and obvious ability to match him, becoming momentarily entranced with her graceful posture in the water, then suddenly aware that this was a race either he or Aragorn must win, he spurred himself on and gradually increased his lead by half a body length.

They were now at least 500 metres out from the start and still the swimmers swam almost abreast of each other. Legolas held the lead by half a body length whilst Aragorn still managed to keep pace beside Coralie. Elves both ahead and behind were calling out for their favourite competitor. Coralie was receiving the most encouragement though. Some Elves had nicknamed her sell en-nen 'Maiden of the Water', and others lim dithen, 'Little Fish', from their previous observations of her watery play each day, but now she was excelling herself in their eyes. This was her first serious competition, and that against a king and an Elf no doubt, both determined for their own reasons to defeat her.

Haldir ran along the bank besides the Hobbits and Artapel as they urged the swimmers on. Pippin was calling out to Coralie with all his might. He still had the Clie player in his hands and had slung Coralie's backpack over his shoulder with speakers attached. 'Down Under' was blaring out its jovial tune, and the Hobbits relished singing along with the chorus; changing the words to 'She comes from a Land Down Under' with unmitigated pleasure.

Down Under

Catching up to Artapel, the March-Warden placed his hand upon his shoulder.

"I should like to hear the full tale of how i titheniel has managed to become a public spectacle in my absence, Artapel. This whole situation should have been avoided, thus saving her from further humiliation when she ultimately loses this farce of a race. You should have managed this better," Haldir was clearly annoyed as he reprimanded the Elf.

"I would not be so sure of her losing this race yet, Haldir. Granted she is a mortal woman, but I have never seen the like of her in the water before. Some call her lim dithen, but I myself wouldn't be surprised if she were part water nymph!" answered Artapel whilst keeping an eye on the proceedings as he jogged alongside the swimmers in the water.

Haldir remained stern. "That still does not excuse yourself from allowing i titheniel to even find herself in this present situation. This is hardly honorable. What has been going on in my absence?"

"Oh all sorts of things Haldir, to be sure," interjected Frodo. "But I doubt that even you could control Coralie, and have prevented this from happening. Aragorn has a hard enough time with her on his own. Artapel is not to blame, and neither is Coralie really. She would call it a clash of cultures."

Gimli and Boromir followed the Hobbits as they too jogged alongside the swimmers who left the water churning in their wake.

"I once made a remark about how much strength the lady has Boromir, but this is almost beyond belief. Just look at her swim!" said an astonished Gimli.

"Yes, she is full of the most pleasant surprises. I'm always left wondering, what she could possibly do next to intrigue me," he wondered out loud.

"Well, I don't think she is doing anything to intrigue you in particular, Boromir. From my own personal observations, this is just the way she naturally is," answered the Dwarf.

"Aye," agreed Boromir. "That may be. She is naturally intriguing, whichever way you may choose to look at it."

There were now only about 400 metres left in the race. Coralie still swam half a body length behind Legolas, whilst Aragorn held his place beside her on the far side.

"Look," said Haldir to the Hobbits. "There is not much of the race left and i titheniel is going to lose. I think your bet was misplaced Pippin."

"No she won't. We have been watching her swim over this distance for the past week Haldir. She looks to me like she is currently riding on Legolas' wake. See!" answered Pippin as he skipped beside the swimmers.

Haldir shook his head ruefully at Pippin. "I titheniel will tire before the end of the race. It is madness to think that a mere maiden can compete and win against two warriors. Especially when one of them is an Elf!" he snorted full of confidence.

"No doubt Coralie would take you up on that challenge if she were to hear you talk like that Haldir. If you are not careful, you may find yourself in the water racing against her next!" replied Pippin with a laugh.

Sam and Frodo were close to the water's edge now as the race was drawing to its final leg.

"Come on Coralie," they cried in earnest. The host of Elves now gathering near the finish, were shouting in excited anticipation. Seeing the finish about 200 metres away, and Coralie still half a body length behind Legolas, Támurile and Séretur began to chant their 'own' brand of encouragement to Coralie.


The Elven children cried with all their might. Sam and the other Hobbits now joined in as well. Hearing the familiar strains of her homeland chant through the gurgle of water about her ears, Coralie immediately drove her kick deeper into the water and increased the pace of her arms. Around and around they went as she ploughed her way through the water to sit momentarily side by side with Legolas. Legolas began to pull harder, but Coralie stayed with him. Making each kick count by driving it deeper with a powerful two beat, Coralie stretched out her arms overhead and increased her speed. She almost felt as if she were scooping the water towards her with each stroke, and took particular delight in the sensation of the current passing beneath her in a series of bubbles.

"Look!" cried Pippin with excitement. "She's increased her lead. Come on Coralie! Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!" he chanted, dancing along the riverbank with glee.

Merry was whooping alongside of him. "She's a whole body length in front now Haldir!"

Haldir shook his head with amazement. He could see that in spite of Legolas' efforts to increase the pace, i titheniel, her arms spinning like windmills, had not tired as previously supposed, but had actually saved her best efforts for last. He couldn't help but feel the deepest respect and amazement for her as she swam. Spellbound, he fell in with the others and began to cry out for i titheniel to swim harder for one brief moment, and then suddenly catching the smiling faces of Intyalle and Márinde who had caught up with the hobbits and the other Elven children, beaming up at him, he immediately donned his most dignified expression and marched ahead with all the prideful bearing he could compose.

Coralie felt herself begin to lift up through the water as she increased the pace, knowing that her second wind had arrived with renewed vigour. She almost felt the water part before her as again, she increased her lead by another body length at the 150 metre mark. Legolas had seen Coralie gradually swim up alongside him, and then watched with a mixture of dismay and admiration as she began to pull away. He increased the pace, only to learn that he could not catch up, no matter how fast he wound his arms. Aragorn was still a contender with Legolas, but had fallen a little behind as he rode on the crest of the Elf's wake.

"Three body lengths in front!" cried Merry excitedly as he clapped Frodo on the shoulder.

"I can see that Merry," laughed Frodo beside him.

"I can't believe that she is going faster at the finish!" cried Boromir as he watched Coralie close the distance more rapidly than before. He looked around at all the Elves, who were now chanting along with the children and the Hobbits.


50 metres from the finish, Coralie had increased her lead over Legolas and Aragorn by at least six body lengths and to the spectators who lined the riverbank, she seemed to be getting faster with every stroke. Coralie could hear the excited hum of the crowd increase. They were in full chant now, lending their total support. Reaching down inside herself, Coralie gave it all for her final kick. Faster and faster wound her arms as she drove her legs deeper into the water, lengthening her lead in these final metres even more.

The explosion of voices that greeted her final efforts, told her that not only had she finished the race, but she had also won.

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