Muse Quest - Ch. 1: What Fans do to Other Fans
CHAPTER ONE: WHAT FANS DO TO OTHER FANS
Disclaimer: This story is based on one that a few of us have been writing in the scriptorium, but a couple of the original writers got together and created a revised edition for the reading room. There are fewer characters than on the thread, and several other alterations. If you are an Immie and your character is not in this version, please don't be offended - we still love you and love your input on the thread! We will incorporate as many posts as we can, and try not to stray too far, just make a few adjustments for clarity and such. Thanks everyone and happy reading!
"Come little ones, come round 'n I'll tell thee
Of war, of lore, of Lady Coralie.
In a time when deemed her writing would fail,
The World of Real mixed with The World of Tale.
Forth came a band of friends in that dark hour
on a quest to find Inspiration's pow'r.
Say the Lady will write when she chooses,
But friends go to wake Coralie's Muses."
"She hasn't written? STILL?!" Dilly cried. The teacher looked up and sternly silenced her. Dilly snapped her mouth shut, and waited for the teacher to turn to the board again before leaning over the desk to her friend, Eredolyn. "This is getting ridiculous." She whispered. "Six months and Lady Coralie still hasn't come up with another chapter for 'Aussie in King Aragorn's Court'! What's she doing, sleeping on the job?"
"Heck if I know," Eredolyn quietly answered, her eyes still up on the teacher.
"But this is driving me insane! Everyday I check tolkienonline to see if she's written! I can't sleep at night, and I can barely get any homework done!"
"I don't get any homework done at all!" Dilly interjected. "This is damaging to my high school career. If she doesn't write chapter 41 to her story and give me a peace of mind, I won't be surprised if I don't graduate this year!"
"Have you noticed Lady Coralie hasn't been visiting any of the chat threads either?" Eredolyn said. "It's like she disappeared from the website altogether! From the face of the earth!"
"Don't say that!" Dilly anxiously whispered. "I'm sure she'll write soon."
"It's not good enough to hope and pray," Eredolyn countered. "We need to somehow MAKE Lady Coralie write!"
The teacher looked in the girls' direction again, and with another stern glance she went on in her boring lecture.
"How?" Dilly asked eagerly.
"We'll just need to give her some...incentive."
"What? You mean THREATEN her?!" Dilly almost cried.
"Why not? We can't ask, or even beg her to write. Tons of people have already tried that and to no avail. A threat is the only effective way."
"What kind of a threat can we use?" Dilly asked
incredulously. "She lives in Australia, we live in the U.S.! We don't have anything or anyone that Lady Coralie values or even KNOWS about!"
Just then, a girl walked into the classroom, drawing everyone's attention. She had big, curly red hair and a cheerful smile. She strode across the room to the teacher. Handing her a note she said "Sorry I'm late." The teacher excused her and the red-headed girl went to her seat. She was known to Dilly and Eredolyn as the E.I.Cebu (the meaning of this odd name is kept a secret in respect of E.I.Cebu's dignity). She was a major fan of LOTR, and had a love for Hobbits (particularly Frodo) and of course a love for tolkienonline. It is said that she actually corresponded with Lady Coralie for a time and had pleasant chats with her before the Lady stopped writing entirely.
Dilly and Eredolyn glared at the red-head. She was the real reason for their foul mood. About a month ago, E.I.Cebu introduced the two friends to tolkienonline and inevitably to Lady Coralie's story, 'An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court'. Now they couldn't sleep at night, they were failing their classes, all because cheerful little E.I.Cebu introduced them to a story that would NEVER get finished.
Unless of course, Lady Coralie was threatened......
The glares of Dilly and Eredolyn curled into sly smiles as they looked at E.I.Cebu from across the room. Lady Coralie knew the red-head, and probably liked her. It would indeed be distressing to Lady Coralie if E.I.Cebu was in any way harmed.....
The two girls began whispering rapidly to each other. "I've got rope..."
"I know where she lives..."
"We can get her tonight..."
"But wait!" Dilly cried. "Isn't that costume party at Caroline's house tonight?"
Eredolyn groaned. Caroline, one of the elite seniors, was holding a huge costume-bash at her house for half of the graduating class.
"We could always not go.." Dilly started.
"Hold on! E.I.Cebu is going to the party! We can still go and enjoy ourselves until E.I.Cebu leaves the party; then we'll follow her. And when she thinks she's all safe in snug in her bedroom we'll come and we'll...KIDNAP HER!" Dilly and Eredolyn erupted into evil giggles.
While the two girls were snickering and plotting, E.I.Cebu hummed cheerfully to herself as she wrote in her English notes, looking forward to the fun she'd have at the costume party, completely ignorant to what awaited her that night.
"Looking for the Costume Party?," a strange-looking boy informed the dazed elf. Tuima stared around, completely lost. What had happened to Fangorn Forest? What was going on? "What?" she replied stupidly, staring bemused at his odd garb and wishing she had a belt to give him.
"That way. It's two doors down." he pointed.
She watched him go in consternation, and she followed, still wondering where in Middle Earth she was -- or if she was even IN Middle-earth.
The boy turned up the walk which led to a Hall of sorts. If it was a house then it was enormous. Dozens of youths were flocking through the main door, and the elf found herself being pushed into a crowded greeting room filled with head-pounding music. Just then a girl in much more normal clothing - a long blue dress and cloak - appeared and gestured to her. "C'mon in!" she said brightly.
The elf followed obediently, wondering at her strangely short hair. Tuima allowed herself to be pulled deeper into a crowded room by this strange new girl. She was still wondering distractedly where she was and how the girl had ended up with short hair. At least, she thought with relief, some people here were dressed normally, in cloaks, gowns, and robes. Then she spotted someone with a sinister looking mask and black cloak and began getting nervous all over again. Everyone was talking loudly and excitedly about... Tuima gasped. "The Lord of the Rings?" Sauron? With such enthusiasm? She had definitely fallen in with the wrong crowd. Then she heard the words Frodo and Ring used together and began to panic. No one was supposed to know about that!!
I have to find Haldir, she thought frantically. How did I get here anyway? One minute I'm scouting in Fangorn and the next I'm here! She glided as unobtrusively as possible outside into the night air. She stared. There was no forest -- hardly any trees at all. A broad road of a hard black substance crossed immediately in front of the house she had emerged from, and a tall pole glowed with an unnatural light on a corner.
Tuima began breathing hard. This isn't even middle-earth! she realized, horrified.
"Hey!" called a voice. Tuima spun. "What are you doing out here?" The speaker was a mortal with long dark hair and a green dress and curious crystal disks were in front of her eyes. Tuima eyed her nervously, surprised at the
"Great costume, by the way. What's your name?"
"Aiwe Tuima, of Lorien. Can you tell me where I am?"
"What, you don't know anyone here? Where's your ride?"
Tuima looked blank. "Your car?" the girl asked.
"Umm..." said Tuima.
"Oh, don't worry, there are plenty of people who could drive you home. My name's Rachel, but in 'Rings company I'm Dilly. What's your real name?" Fortunately the girl continued, "Oh, well, we'll just call you... Aiwe, was it?"
"I usually go by Tuima," the elf told her.
"Sounds good," said Dilly happily. "Did one of the Immies invite you?"
"Oh, one of the Immortals, we're presidents of the Lord of the Rings club at school. It's a great club, we have tons of fun... want to join?"
Tuima nodded in bewilderment and followed Dilly back into the house, telling herself fiercely not to lose such a good opportunity to scout out information from a valuable source. They didn't seem like enemies, but if they had a society devoted to Sauron, then it was definitely best to be on her guard and learn as much as possible about them so she could report it to Haldir. She refused to think about how she would accomplish this. She would find a way back. In the meantime... immortals? She hadn't seen a single elf so far, but on the way back in had received an unintelligible comment about "cool ears." She felt the points. They were not cold at all.
"Are you ok?" asked Dilly. Her only reply was yet another blank look. "You all right?" she repeated.
"Fine," said Tuima brightly. She hated being so confused.
"Guys," said Dilly, motioning toward a few other girls. Tuima wondered why she was talking about a guise. What were they faking? "This is Tuima of Lorien."
Everyone smiled broadly. "Hi Tuima," they said, as though even the name was part of some game, and introduced themselves as well: first there was Eredolyn, the girl with strange short hair who had previously invited Tuima in. Then there was Eicys, who claimed to be the younger sister of --curious name -- the E.I. Cebu.
"I was just telling her about Lady Coralie," said Dilly, and Tuima started guiltily, berating herself for being so inattentive.
There was a massive groan and everyone launched into complaints. "Still no new chapter," groaned the short-haired girl, Eredolyn. "I can't take any more suspense," someone else cried.
"What... I don't understand," said Tuima. She had been doing a lot of "not understanding" tonight.
But everyone broke into eager smiles and began telling her about a fantastic story, a tale the likes of which would rival even Luthien's. "C'mon, you have to read this as soon as possible," cried Eredolyn, seizing her arm and pulling. Tuima followed her to a strange box which lit up and, after a few buttons were pushed on a board nearby, displayed the first lines of a story entitled, "An Aussie in King Aragorn's Court." Tuima sat cautiously and began to read. And read. She read breathlessly until reaching chapter 40, then moved to look for the next one. There was nothing. "It's not finished!" she cried.
"You noticed," said Eicys grimly.
"But...but..." Tuima was horrified. "She can't just stop there!"
"No, she can't!" Eredolyn agreed emphatically.
"What can we do?" asked Tuima, distraught.
Eredolyn cast Dilly a sideways glance. "Well..." she said slowly, a decidedly evil grin creeping over her face. "We have a plan of sorts, if you'd like to help..."
"To get the Lady to write?" Tuima asked eagerly.
"What's this about a plan?" asked the girl named Eicys, approaching them.
Dilly eyed her. "She could help too," she told Eredolyn. "She is Cebu's sister, after all."
Eredolyn nodded, the grin growing. "If this works, Coralie will have to write."
"I'm in." Tuima and Eicys said decidedly and simultaneously.
"OK," said Eredolyn, lowering her voice conspiratorially. "Here's what we're going to do..."