Blessed in Middle Earth: Chapter 2 - If you have one true friend you are blessed if you have two you have a treasure beyond mere mortals
The Three Stones
*Disclaimer*: This of course is fan-fiction, and I make no effort to say that the basis for this story is an original thought by yours truly, but based on the incredible works of J.R.R. Tolkien. I've decided to write less of a "The tenth companion" sort of story but more of a separate branch taking place at the same time. Please note that the main character Emily is based on me (with a few embellishments of course) and that my name is Emily too (what a coincidence). Sarah and Simone are real people too. ok this was more of a disclaimer/ forward mixed together I apologize, but ... Ahem ... Please read on and discover the writings of The_Greenwood_Elf*
P.S. Legolas will make few if any entrances into this story. Sorry guys!
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Maths was utterly boring as usual. Miss. Thompson droned on about exponents and coefficients. Honestly she should be forced to retire[/] thought Emily. She's like 70. The bell rang and everyone eagerly filed out of the dank classroom to the sound of Miss. Thompson's cracked voice screeching after them.
"Pages 34 to 57 are for homework. Due on Tuesday. And no running." Even Simone who normally has nothing but praises for teachers (yuck!) vented her feelings once they were in the safety of the corridor, heading toward their dormitory:
"That Thompson! Ahh, she, well, you know, come on!"
"Whoa Mun1 remember you have to slow down. We can't understand you when you ramble like that, but yeah you can't let Thompson get under your skin like that." explained Sarah. Simone rolled her eyes
"But how? She is such an old hag. Emily back me up, she must bug you a little right?"
"Well she would, except I never pay attention in Maths." Emily replied while fixing her skirt. She liked the school uniforms. As an introvert she had never been good at experimenting with clothes. Uniforms had fixed that problem. The school colours were navy blue and green. Girls could wear skirts or trousers (only the outcasts wore trousers; Emily would have liked to wear the pants) and the boys ... well none of them wore skirts.
"Oh yeah, that's right!" laughed Sarah. "You and your daydreaming. Will you ever take your head out of the clouds>" Emily knew that she was only joking but she had noticed that she was having more and more difficulty concentrating on the here and now.
"Hopefully not." Emily said in all sincerity. The other two laughed. The trio rounded the corner and climbed a spiral staircase of thick marble flagstones.
"Have you heard from your parents lately" asked Sarah tentatively. Emily gave Simone worried look. Emily had been sent to SA by her choice (closer to Tolkien's inspiration she used to say) but Simone had been forced here by her parents. Her friends expected that was the reason that Simone was so keen to succeed at school: to make her parents proud of her. Back in Canada Simone's family was very influential and rich so her mother and father were always away overseas or with an ambassador from some foreign country. The result was that Simone had frequently been on her own and as "Every Ashby had graduated from SACVI with top marks" Simone was not going to be the first not to attend. She had loved Canadian winters.
"Yes," she said without a hint of curtness in her voice. "They're in Venice."
"Well that's good." offered Emily sheepishly. "I mean they're closer, aren't they?"
"M-hmm" said Simone. They left it at that. They came to the doors leading to the senior girls dormitories. They were large, old (like the rest of the school), and made of oak with big friendly brass handles: the kind that fit nicely in your hand. They opened them and walked into what had been their home for the past 3 years.
SA started when you were 8 years old, in a separate part of the castle. The "littleuns", as they called them, were ages 8 through 12. Once you tuned 13 you moved into the main school and the senior dormitories 2.
Simone, Sarah and Emily had first met when they had been roommates in 1st year. They had some how managed to stay together and were still roommates as of today. Their room was off the common room, up the main staircase, on the top floor. It was small but had a breathtaking view of the landscape from two large bay windows facing west so as the girls could always see the sunset.
"I think we're having poulet de lait au beurre" said Sarah practicing her French.
"Mais oui! J'aime beaucoup, what did you say, buttermilk chicken?" laughed Emily.
"Well, I've got lots of homework and I'm not very hungry," Simone started to say.
"There's no way that you aren't eating. Come on, it's your favourite" coaxed Emily in a sing-song voice. Simone rolled her eyes.
"Oh all right, since you put up such a good argument." Books were thrown onto beds as the girls raced back down the staircase and through the maze of hallways to the dinning hall. The chicken was good as usual and meal was enhanced as a whole when Simone caught Dave ogling Sarah from across the hall. The girls choked on mouthfuls of food and had a good laugh, thoroughly embarrassing Dave.
After a good tuck in, the three friends walked, more slowly this time, back through the candle-lit hallways, to their room. Their beds felt very comfortable and Simone and Sarah fell right to sleep. Emily, who now felt totally awake, sat in one of the windows, wrapped herself in a blanket, and gazed up at the stars to the sound of her friends falling asleep.
This was her favourite time; the world seemed so peaceful under the light of the moon. Something about the stars had always captivated her so that she felt a soothing sensation embrace her as mother embraces an infant. All her troubles drifted away and she felt herself float up into the cloudless sky. She could reach up and caress the velvety expanse surrounding her and the stars were so tantalisingly close but just out of reach.
In her hand Emily held a suede pouch, out of which she produced three small stones. She had bought them from a peddler in London she had met once on a school trip. The first red and warm to the touch, Narya. She could feel its heat coursing trough her. In her palm sat a shimmering glowing coal, pulsing as if all the Earth's fires were being born in its depths. The next was crystal clear and ice cold, Nenya. Emily felt a relaxing sensation flow over her. She and the stone were in a river, enveloped by gushing water, the only thing that kept Emily from being swept away was her concentration on the flawless stone whose surface was broken infrequently like raindrops falling in a pool. The last was blue, and nearly weightless, Vilya. When she stared at it she could she forms dancing across its face. They would swirl together for and instant and then disappear. They reminded her of clouds in a windswept sky.
As she sat there with the stones on her outstretched palm, looking at the sky one star seemed to stand out. It was not Polaris nor Altair nor Vega nor Deneb, nor, for that matter, any of the stars she knew and was used to seeing. She found her self chanting words, deep ethereal words that rose and fell, swelling and flowing in her minds eye all at once she could make some out:
Ni merne mar o Quedilie. Quente i lambe o Ambarenya, yeeta i ellen, kaita mi anda, waiwa, salque, fumme mi i alkar o Anar. Annar arne menel, annar arne Valar, anar arne Eru.
O Elbereth Giltoniel
She was saying them before she realized what language she was speaking. It was Elvish! Emily had studied some basic phrases but even then only how to read and write them, never how to pronounce. Yet here were the full-bodied, rounded, sinuous syllables dripping off her tongue. Roughly translated they mean:
This is my dream:
I would dwell with the Elven people. I would speak in the tongues of Middle Earth, gaze at its stars, lie in its long, windswept grasses, sleep under its sun's golden rays. This would be a gift from heaven, no, a gift from the Vlar, from Eru himself.
This is my dream
As quickly as they had come the words left her. She was back in the bay window. Simone and Sarah's night time sounds, which she had been deaf to minutes before, came back to her. Had it been minutes? She looked at their clock, it read 12:02. She'd gone to bed around 10:00. Had it really been two hours? She needed to sleep. She suddenly became aware that her eyelids were very heavy. I'll get some sleep and it will all clear itself up in the morning. She kept telling herself. Just get some sleep and you will laugh at it tomorrow... Just rest awhile... sleep.
As soon as Emily's head hit the soft pillow, she drifted into a dreamless slumber.
Emily awoke to the smell of wet leaves and a cramp in her back. She rolled over and smacked her head against something hard. She sat up slowly, blinking the automatic tears from her eyes that one gets anytime they hit their nose. When she finally came to senses she found she was not in her oak bed in her small room with her two bay windows, but in a thickly wooded forest. The hard thing she had smoked her conk on was a tree root.
She was immediately fully awake aware of the cold, the damp and her overall distress. She crawled around on the forest floor until she came to a warm lump. She recoiled, fueled by some primeval instinct that told her anything soft, warm and large one happened to stumble across in the grey of morning in a forest, was likely not a cuddly teddy-bear. She could have cried with relief when she heard a familiar voice coming from the lump.
"Come on Mun, 5 more minutes."
"Sarah!" Emily cried hugging the lump around what she hoped was its middle!
"Wha'?" said the lump.
"I can't explain right now... umm go back to sleep while I look for Mun." If she was to be stuck in a forest with only two other people she was glad it was Simone and Sarah. That is, she hoped Simone was here. But it wasn't long before she came across another lump not 10 feet away. Oh God, I don't know where we are, I don't know how we're going to get out of this, but my God, I'm so glad we're all alright.
1 Mun is our nickname for Simone
2 For those of you who can't (like me) read and do math at the same time that makes the
girls 16 ... I think!