An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court Part 4 - What'ssssss She gotsssss in her backpackssss?
Coralie laughed as the hobbits shared the second Snickers bar she had tossed over to Sam. They were licking their fingers with delight. True joy shone in their faces. Legolas came over and settled himself down beside her.
"Thank you Lady for making them happy, if only for a moment," he said wistfully as he looked upon the satisfied hobbits who were now joking about their unlooked for booty.
"No worries! They look about as happy as pigs in mud Leggy! Doesn't take much does it?" she replied.
"A hobbit and his food should not be parted. That was a real treat you gave them. I'm afraid that our provisions are not as tasteful as the hobbits would like, even though they are as practical as we could provide for our journey. Tell me. What else do you have in that pack of yours? It would seem to be a virtual treasure trove."
"Treasure? Did someone say treasure?" asked Gimli in his gruff manner as he and the others gathered round Coralie, intent on finding out exactly what her back pack contained. She laughed as she started to empty its contents.
"No Gimli. I have no treasure, just the regular stuff I keep in here in case of an emergency, such as being stranded in the back country or if I decide to camp a night under the stars, providing it is pleasant out. I was planning to do that before I leapt into your company. The weatherman had forecast a rather warm night, most unusual, but hey! I'm not arguing...you don't get too many of those this time of year......so my pack has all sorts of thing in it."
"Weatherman?" asked Boromir. "Is he a wizard? How can he know the weather in advance?" He looked quite perturbed.
"Well, there's no hard and fast rule about it Boromir......but more often than not he gets it wrong. Nothing is one hundred percent when it comes to the weather," replied Coralie.
Aragorn nodded in agreement.
"Yes even the weather here is unpredictable and our own Caradhras can be cruel when the mood is upon him." He drew a long puff on his pipe and smiled at her. She rummaged around in her backpack pulling this and that out until it was all on the ground for all to see.
2 extra pair of white socks
1 pair of Raichle Freedom Ski Boots
1 pair K2 XP Axis Down hill skis
1 pair Black Diamond Carbon Fibre Flicklock Ski Pole (Makes a hand snow probe)
1 Rip curl ski jacket and pants
1 Bota bottle water skin in plush fleece...makes a comfy pillow
1 Silva Polaris compass
1 Climber fuel stove and matches
1 packet Celestial Seasoning Strawberry Kiwi Tea
1 Marmott women's Zermatt hooded fleece jacket
1 pair of Outdoor Research Windy Ridge fleece gloves
2 Patagonia women's silk weight capilene t-shirt in buttercup and white (she was already wearing one)
2 Title Nine wicking camisoles freesia print
2 sports wool jumpers by Rip Curl (she was already wearing one)
2 pairs of sports wool pants by rip curl (ditto as above)
1 motive long sleeve wicking top
1 pair of Oakley Penny sunglasses
1 tube of Clinique sunscreen
1 Revlon lip gloss, Breathe Hi Fi Lippie
Several chapsticks and assorted lip glosses (strawberry, mango, banana, cherry)
1 Lancome Definicils Waterproof Mascara and eyeliner (Hey a girl's got to do what a girl's got to do...never know who you're gonna run into!)
1 SI-5 Portable Flat Speakers with surround sound and (Sony Clie hand held computer, mp3 and digital video + still camera.
"Indeed Lady, you are full of surprises. May I ask what else it can do?" asked Aragorn looking over her shoulder.
"Well, it can also play music."
He looked at her with doubt in his eyes.
"Here!" she said, taking the Clie back from Frodo and adjusted the ear phones on Aragorn's head. She pressed play and Aragorn jumped up in surprise.
"Let me try!" Pippin ran over to where Aragorn and Coralie stood eagerly. Aragorn passed the Clie to Pippin whils't Coralie, helped adjust it on his head. The other hobbits crowded round straining to hear. "Lady Coralie......What is this Waterloo and how did you put an orchestra in this little box?"
Coralie chuckled. "Why Pip, I do believe that you are listening to Abba. There is no orchestra in that box. Just a recording instead. Do you like it?"
"Like it? It's magnificent! Here Merry...You go next."
The hobbits amused themselves with their new found toy and Gandalf laughed delighted at their capers.
"Music is a chief love of the elves, Lady Coralie. Perhaps you have something that Legolas would like?" Gimli's eyes twinkled.
"Do I ever! Oy! You blokes....Let's give Leggy a go." She turned to Legolas. "You are going to love this. It's called Only Time." The hobbits handed her the hand held computer and she found the file she was looking for and handed it to Legolas. She helped him put it on. Coralie pressed play. Legolas' eyes were wide with pleasure.
"I think we've lost him Gandalf."
He smiled back at her. "Shame about your book Lady Coralie. I should have like to have read that."
"I wonder why it faded like it did? That is totally creepy." she shuddered.
"Me thinks we are not mean't to read the story for now." he nodded. "Some things are best left to work out by themselves. I would like to learn more about your world, but first we have more pressing business at hand." He called the hobbits over to where they stood, a little distance from the fire. "Frodo. With your permission I will tell our Lady here about our quest. We are on a perilous quest and it would not be fair to further endanger her life without telling her what we are truly about. Come. What say you?"
Frodo looked first at Coralie, then at the hobbits who nodded and shuffled their feet in the dirt. Turning to Gandalf, he looked him squarely in the eye. "I'm sure it will be alright to tell her Gandalf. You're right of course. It would not be fair to keep it from her." Gandalf nodded in agreement as did the other hobbits. He proceeded to tell her about the Ring Bearer and his burden.
Aragorn sat down beside Legolas who was still listening to Enya entranced by the music. He drew slowly on his pipe as Gandalf explained all. Legolas took off the earphones.
"Legolas..... this Coralie person is both a wonder and a worry."
"I know what you mean Aragorn." Legolas looked at Boromir who was warming his hands by the fire.
"As a man, on the battlefield, I'm sure we can rely on Boromir in a pinch ...... but how he is in the company of women? That is untried..... We must keep an extra eye on him." Aragorn took another puff.
"I agree Aragorn. Although the Lady Coralie would seem to be a strong maiden, she is still only a maiden and therefore vulnerable to some extent. I will keep her by my side."
Aragorn nodded. "There will be much trouble on the road ahead I perceive. We do not need to have trouble at our doorstep. Keep a close watch."
"Have no fear Aragorn. I will both watch and listen well."
"Our Lady Coralie has a feisty little spirit and I would not see it dampened by Boromir's innapropriate advances, Legolas. I could be wrong.......I hope by Eru that I am......but I will take no chances."
The night wore on in the telling of the ring to Coralie. Suddenly she yawned, which in turn set off all the hobbits. Gandalf looked around. Boromir, Aragorn and Gimli were fast asleep. Gimli snorked as he rolled over. Legolas stepped out of the shadows. "Come Lady. I think it wise we retire for the night. I have your sleeping blanket ready. Gandalf looked up at Legolas and the now sleepy hobbits.
"Yes. It is late and we need our rest. We have a hard road ahead of us tomorrow. Goodnight Coralie. Sleep well while you may. Have no fear, you have fallen into good company on the road
in spite of its many dangers." He looked up at Legolas who nodded in return.
"You're right Gandalf. I'm absolutely worn out. Time to hit the hay. Nighty Night hobbits. Don't let the bed bugs bite." She followed Legolas to her sleeping bag and climbed in wearily. Legolas settled down beside her. Aragorn was sleeping soundly on her other side. She lay back and placed her hands under her head and gazed up at the night sky, thinking of all that had befallen her that day. She sighed.
".......And at night the wondrous glory, of the everlasting stars...."
Legolas roused. "What's that, Lady?"
"Oh. Nothing. I was just reciting a line from a poem I learn't as a child." The stars shone brightly overhead. They both lay there looking up with wonder in their hearts. Presently Legolas spoke.
"Is it a poem from your homeland, Lady? If so. I should like to hear it."
"Okay," Coralie whispered back. "But I will only whisper it so as not to disturb the others. It will put me in the mood for sleep. It escapes me at the moment. Maybe something familiar will help me drift off. It is a poem by Banjo Patterson. He is my favorite Australian poet. He mostly wrote ballads of the bush."
"Ballads of the bush?" asked Legolas. "What is this bush you speak of?"
"The bush is in the heart of all true Australians. It is the love and the fear of the bush, it's beauty and it's terror that enthralls us. Once it is in your blood, you can't get it out." She sighed as if in remembrance and for an instant Legolas caught the sweet smell of eucalyptus and heard the gentle calling of the bellbirds in the rainforest. He smiled at her memory.
"Tell me your poem, Lady."
"It is called "Clancy of the Overflow". It is about one of our legendary bushmen.
I had written him a letter which I had,
for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him
down the Lachlan, years ago,
He was shearing when I knew him,
so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows,
"Clancy, of The Overflow"
And an answer came directed in a
(And I think the same was written
with a thumb-nail dipped in tar)
Twas his shearing mate who wrote it,
and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving,
and we don't know where he are."
* * * * * * * * *
In my wild erratic fancy visions come
to me of Clancy
Gone a-droving "down the Cooper"
where the Western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing,
Clancy rides behind them singing,
For the drover's life has pleasures that
the townsfolk never know.
And the bush hath friends to meet him,
and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the
river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the
sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wond'rous glory of
the everlasting stars.
* * * * * * * * *
I am sitting in my dingy little office,
where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down
between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the
dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating,
spreads its foulness over all
And in place of lowing cattle, I can
hear the fiendish rattle
Of the tramways and the buses making
hurry down the street,
And the language uninviting of the
gutter children fighting,
Comes fitfully and faintly through
the ceaseless tramp of feet.
And the hurrying people daunt me,
and their pallid faces haunt me
As they shoulder one another in their
rush and nervous haste,
With their eager eyes and greedy, and
their stunted forms and weedy,
For townsfolk have no time to grow,
they have no time to waste.
And I somehow rather fancy that I'd
like to change with Clancy,
Like to take a turn at droving where
the seasons come and go,
While he faced the round eternal of
the cash-book and the journal --
But I doubt he'd suit the office,
Clancy, of The Overflow.
Legolas gazed up at the heavens wondering at the panorama of the night sky a few minutes more. "It is a pretty poem, Lady. You recite it well." By the gentle rhythm of her breathing, he could tell that she already fallen fast asleep.