Chapter Two

Mandy woke to hear birds calling.
She opened her eyes and saw trees, "What in the world?" She started to sit up, then bit back a groan, "Oh yeah. Orcs. I wonder where...oh there they are. Dear Lord, I know you are with me and protecting me. Please give me peace. I don't know what happened. If I tell them I'm from another world, they will think I'm crazy. Show me what to do."
She sat up gingerly and looked around. The fire had died out, and the dark haired man was sitting by the embers. He looked at her, and came over.
"How are you feeling, M'lady?" Aragorn asked, sitting next to her.
"Fine. Please call me Mandy."
"Alright. The dwarf is Gimli and the elf is Legolas. Where did you get your necklace?" Aragorn heard her quick intake of breath.
"My necklace? This one?" At his nod, she continued, "My....father gave it to me when I was very young. I don't remember not having it. It's a Star of David."
"Star of David? What is that?" he glanced quickly at her.
"It's the symbol of my people. I'm Jewish." Mandy answered, wondering why he was so interested.
"Jewish? I have never heard of that race before." Aragorn thought to himself, "Are you from here?"
"No...I don't think so. No, no I'm not. I'm from..." she broke off, suddenly quiet.
"Yes?" Aragorn prodded her.
"Well...I'm from a different world. Now I know what you're thinking. No, I'm not crazy! Or maybe I am, but the fact is I was doing my morning run, I tripped and the next thing I know is I'm getting chased by orcs. That's the honest truth. It sounds crazy to me too!" she said quickly, trying to explain everything at once, "And now I don't know how to get home!"
Aragorn looked her full in the face and could tell she was not lying. "Well. That is quite a tale, Mandy. I believe you... I think there is something else at work here, but I certainly don't know what it is. You're safe with us." Aragorn stood and walked away. Mandy watched his back as he leaned down and woke the others.
"I don't think I'm in such bad company after all." She mused, thoughtfully. Suddenly, she felt as if she was falling backwards.
She put out a hand and felt the rough bark of the tree behind her, "That was weird. I'm so dizzy." Her eyes started to blur. "Aragorn..." Mandy called frantically.
She felt her mind going blank. Aragorn turned immediately. He sprinted over to her.
He picked her up and held her, "Hold on, Mandy. Hold on! Legolas! I need king'sfoil. The poison is setting in." He continued to talk soothingly to her.
Mandy's eyes glazed over, "Elessar!" she cried in one last effort, then she saw blackness.
"Aragorn, sinome ta."* Legolas handed it to him.
Aragorn peeled back the bandage. He grimaced as he saw the wound. It was a dark red with black streaks coming out of it. Inside, it had turned a deep purple color.
"It's bad. It must have just set in." Aragorn placed the king'sfoil into it, "We need to get her to someone more skilled than I. I can stop the poison from spreading, but I cannot get rid of the poison already spread." Aragorn picked her up.
"Gimli! We must go!" Legolas ordered, and led the way.
He sprinted ahead of Aragorn. His eyes took in everything, his ears listening for anything. After several hours, they stopped.
"Let me take her now, Aragorn." Legolas gently picked her up.
She made a small whimper and said something under her breath. Aragorn ran ahead. Legolas came right after him, surprised to feel Mandy so light. They camped for a few hours during the night. Mandy was steadily getting worse. She couldn't stay still and murmured constantly in her delirium. Legolas sat next to her, singing softly.
Aragorn came up, "How is she?"
"She is getting worse, Aragorn. The poison is spreading. We need to get her to someone..."
"I know. She said she didn't know me, and yet called me `Elassar'... Let's go." Aragorn stood, "Gimli."
Legolas picked her up. She lay limp, then suddenly she sat up.
"Eru nyaturma.* I have nothing to fear." she said loudly. She fell backwards against Legolas. Aragorn ran ahead.
Gimli took a deep breath, "Here we go agin. Breathe. Breathe." They ran for several hours into the night. Unexpectedly, Aragorn stopped.
"There is something..." he whispered to Legolas.
Suddenly, a bright light flashed. Legolas was unable to do anything.
"Mithrandir?" Legolas peered at him.
"Well met, Legolas." the wizard answered, his face breaking into a smiled.
"Gandalf, how did you get here? Last time I saw you, you were flying to the edge of Mordor to meet Frodo and Sam." Aragorn said.
"Mithrandir! Can you help her?" Legolas came forward with Mandy.
Gandalf's face grew grave as he glanced down at her, "What happened to her?"
"She was shot with an orc arrow. She was fine at first, but yesterday morning, the poison started spreading. I kept it from spreading further, but..." Aragorn broke off as Mandy writhed in Legolas's arms. She kept muttering and sometimes her eyes flew open, but they were glazed over and didn't even see the men. Gandalf tenderly took her from Legolas.
"The poison is spreading. Although the king'sfoil did help slow it down. It was good that I found you. A few more hours and she would be gone." he told Aragorn, "I will take her and try to help her. Camp here for the night. Have no fear, Gimli. I will bring her back." He picked her up and strode deeper into the forest.
That night, Gandalf woke Aragorn. "Aragorn, I cannot help her."
"Why?" Aragorn asked, following Gandalf over to Mandy.
"I did try, but someone stopped me. I believe it was the One. Yes." he answered Aragorn's question, "He said that it was up to her to heal herself. I would have removed all the evil, but He said that she needed to call on Him for help. I can do nothing." They gazed down at Mandy. She was sweating, writhing around, and muttering.
"Is there nothing we can do?" Aragorn knelt by Mandy, gently brushing her hair out of her face.
"Just pray to Eru that He will heal her." Gandalf wearily sat down, "This night is going to be hard for her. I believe it will be the turning...for good or bad, I cannot see."
Mandy writhed around. She was in the middle of a large field. On one side were evil beings, in the form of Uruk Hai. On her side were beautiful beings, dressed in silver armor with swords. One of the Uruk Hai came at her, sword raised.
Mandy cowered down, "Help me!" she screamed.
Suddenly, an angel swooped in front of her and cut down the orc.
One orc started taunting her, "You are not really His, you know. You are evil. You sin all the time, the same sins. He has lost patience with you. He doesn't love you anymore."
"You lie! He does love me! I don't deserve it...but He still does. He's forgiven me." Mandy answered back, falling to her knees, "I am His. I am His." She kept repeating it over and over as the orcs kept taunting her with other things.
Suddenly, one of the angels came to her. It stood in front of her.
"Call on Him. He will save you, but you must ask." he urged her, "Do not listen to them. They are lying, Mandy! Call on Him."
"Maybe they are right. I have done too many things for Him to love me...I make the same mistakes over and over." Mandy said dully.
The orcs kept creeping closer and closer, swords raised. Then the head angel, tall and fair, swept down and knelt down right in front of her.
"Mandy. Do not falter. He died for you. He knew you before you were even born! Mandy, He does love you. You were on His mind when He was on the cross and defeated them! He defeated them and their master! Call to Him!" the angel said urgently, strongly.
Mandy suddenly started singing quietly, "Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness. Open my eyes let me see. Beauty that made this heart adore you, hope of a life spent with you."
"Yes, Mandy. Sing." the angel encouraged.
"So here I am to worship, here I am to bow down. Here I am to say that You're my God. You're altogether worthy, altogether lovely, altogether wonderful to me. I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross. I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross." Her voice grew stronger as she continued singing.
The orcs cowered down, holding their ears in pain.
Then Mandy, still kneeling, said softly, "Lord, forgive me. Help me! Come help me. Shepherd, help me!"
The orcs reeled in fear as the field shook. Suddenly, right beside Mandy, appeared a Warrior in pure gold armor, with a sword. He shone like the sun and His voice carried power. The orcs screamed in terror as the angels rallied around Him.
"Leave now! She is mine! My mark is on her. You have no claim." He commanded, His voice rolling in power.
The angels bore down on the orcs. The orcs screeched in pain and ran away. Mandy was sobbing. He turned and suddenly, He was dressed in a simple white tunic with a gold crown on His head in the shape of thorns. He knelt beside her, and gathered her into His arms.
"Oh, Lord. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean...I didn't..." Mandy cried, "I don't deserve You. I am not worthy of Your love."
"But I want you. I love you, My Child. Look into the river. What do you see?" He asked.
Mandy looked and saw a dove on her forehead, "It's a dove."
"You are My child. My mark is on you. Once it is, you are always Mine. Nothing can take that away and no one can take you away from Me." He wiped away her tears, "You don't deserve it. You are not worthy...but I have forgiven you. I have redeemed you, and you will always be mine! Be at rest, Daughter. You are safe."
Mandy fell asleep in His arms. The angels came back and stood in wonder at what they saw. Their General was sitting in the grass, rocking Mandy and singing His special song that He had only for her. She was dressed in a pure white robe. She had a circlet of jewels on her head. She was transformed into a daughter of the King. The changing into the Children of the King always filled the angels with awe. He laid her softly onto the grass and placed His hand on her wound. It slowly faded away till it was a small scar in the shape of a dove.
"Guard her, but let her sleep." He ordered them, and then disappeared. The angels surrounded the girl sleeping peacefully, drawing their wings over her.
Aragorn and Gandalf slept restlessly on either side of Mandy. They had a long night, trying to keep Mandy still. Several times, she had sat up, wild eyed, screaming for help and cowered from something. Then, she suddenly fell still.
"Gandalf!" Aragorn yelled, feeling for Mandy's pulse.
Gandalf looked at her, his face breaking into a relieved smile, "She is sleeping. And so should we."
Aragorn and Gandalf slept restlessly, on either side of Mandy.

* translations
Simometa~ here it is
Eru nya turma~ God is my shield.

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