Wind in the West - Chapter 2: A Strange Sight for Strange Eyes
"Hey, are you okay?" came Tim's voice floating through the air, as she struggled to wake up properly.
"What....what happened?" she said, trying to discard the memory of the hideous face that boorishly grinned down at her just before she blacked out. She shivered. "It's cold," she said, shaking.
"It is the middle of winter, you know."
"What do you mean? It is the middle of summer!"
"Ah, yes, in Australia it was, but here it's not."
" What do you mean?! You are really starting to freak me out!"
"Well, you see, you are the chosen one.
"I don't understand."
"Well, this is Middle Earth. You know? The place in the Lord of the Rings? You see, you were transported here by the Valar, because they knew that you were the only one who could reverse the spell."
"What spell? What are you talking about? We aren't in Middle Earth! This is just some forest that I am in."
"But Kim, there are no forests anywhere near where you live. How do you suppose you got here? And can you explain that orc you saw before? Or what about the sewage tunnel? You just decided to 'explore' in a sewage tunnel? Something drew you towards it. You know it, Kimberly, you know it. So can you explain that?"
"Indeed I can! I am dreaming all of this, and I never got an invitation, and I never walked down a sewage tunnel and I never saw an orc! I just dreamt it all!"
"Then, Kim, where are you now? Are you in some forest without your mum, and far away from your home? And why do you think I am here as well? You don't usually end up in a forest without your mum and far away from your home with your only friend who is a guy, now do you? So how do you explain that?"
"Easy! I am obviously still dreaming! And you're part of my dream as well! Now if you don't mind, I am rather tired, even though I am sleeping, and would like to go to sleep!"
She woke up to find herself in a lovely bed with a doona made of down that fell around her body. So warm and comfortable she was, and yet she had the urge to go and see where she was. When she tossed the covers away she found that she had a long silk dress, the colour of pearls, and some soft silken slippers that were barely a piece of material. She stepped out of bed, and let the long silky dress fall about her on the ground, and splay out around her. "Wow. I feel like a princess" she said to herself. She started to walk to the door, when someone knocked. "Come in" she called. The door opened and there was Tim; and yet it was not so. He was taller, and instead of having short dark brown hair, it was passed his shoulders, and the front of his hair was tied back so as to not get in the way. And his face was different; but the eyes were the same.
"How are you feeling?" He asked, and then he gasped! "By Eru, you are beautiful!"
"Come on Tim! Don't get all gushy on me! Man! We hate that stuff, remember?" But he just stared at her. Then suddenly he blinked and cast his proud eyes to the ground.
"I am sorry My Lady. I did not mean to be disrespectful. But come! We must take you to the Lord and Lady of the City! Can you Ride, M'lady?"
"Stop talking weird, man! Where are we? And why do you look different? And for goodness sake, don't get all mushy on me again!"
"Why, didn't you figure it out already? We are in Lothlorien, of course! And I look different because I am different. I was Tim, in my human form, that is, But in my elven form" and here he paused and indicated that how he was now was his "elven", for as he so aptly put it, form, and continued again, "I am called Largolian. Now could you please get dressed? There is an assortment of gowns that the Lady Galadriel personally chose for you. And there is some maidens here if you want their help. And as for my question, which still goes unanswered, can you ride?"
"Of Course I can Ti...... ah, What did you say your name was again?"
"Right. Largolian. I'll remember that. Anyway, you should know I can ride, I do work at Darkes Forrest, you know, the riding ranch? Back in the Country that you and I live in? Australia? Anyway, what's with the weird talking and all? And how did we actually get here and why am I here? And how did you get me dressed without looking?" She stopped and gasped. " You didn't see anything did you?! Coz if you did, man am I gonna get you! I will------"
Just then a bell rang, loud, but sweet, and filled the air with a happiness, signalling Lunch time. "That is the noon-bell! Quickly! You must get dressed! We are supposed to be having lunch with the Lord and Lady! And all those questions shall be answered momentarily..... once you are dressed."
Kimberly went to the wardrobe as Tim left, and saw the most beautiful gowns and dresses that she had ever seen! "Oh my goodness! They are so beautiful! They expect me to climb trees like this? Oh, alright. But it will be mighty ripped and torn by the time I am done with it!"
She tried on her favourite one, a white dress, with a wide neck that went right across her shoulders. The sleeves flared out from her elbows, and when she had her arms right out in front of her, the sleeves came down to her hips. It was fitted to the hips, and then fell down, and splayed out on the ground around her. "Wow," she thought, "they must really like dresses that touch the ground and all." She decided to let her hair out, and then she was very surprised to find that her hair had grown somewhat, and was wavy. It fell to her hips. "Man! How long have I been asleep?" She said to herself, and then she turned around and saw a mirror, and seeing her reflection she now knew what Tim meant when he said that she looked beautiful. She looked different, as Tim did, but there was something beautiful and natural about her, and she thought, "Man! If God had a daughter, I bet this is what she would look like!" But, also like Tim, she had the same hazel coloured eyes, and it looked as if Luthien herself had come back to Middle Earth. She found some dangly earrings, that when she had them on, they came to the bottom of her jaw. They had purple and white beads on them, strung with gold. She gave her hair a brush and walked out the door, trying to find Tim, or as she now called him, Largolian. There was no need to, though, as she soon found, because he was waiting outside her bedroom.
"Are you ready?" he asked.
"Indeed I am," she said, trying to talk like they did.
He took her to a stable with seven horses, all of them white, grey, and brown, except for one, a tall one with a huge build and pitch black, except for a star on its head, which was grey and silver, depending on the light.
"He's beautiful! What's his name?"
"Well, we haven't actually named him yet, but since you like him so much, you can name him."
"And how old is he?"
"He is four and a half years old. I wouldn't consider riding him though. He is a bit jumpy, but he is quite a good horse, for the experienced rider, that is."
"Nonsense! I am a perfectly good rider thank you very much! Remember? I work at the riding ranch back in Australia!"
"I am sorry My Lady, I did not mean to offend you!"
"That's alright! You know I am only joking! But for goodness sake! Could you please get the things for this horse?! It needs a saddle you know! And a bridle might help! Oh! And a couple of saddle blankets please?!" he looked at her with a puzzled expression. "What do you mean Lady? We do not use such things, and we may not have a bridle or saddle to fit this horse."
"Well there's no harm in trying, now is there? C'mon, show me the Tack shed!"
"The Tack shed? You know, where you keep all the stuff for the horses?"
"We keep them in the stable with the horses that they fit. But this horse doesn't have anything in his stable."
"Well, lets see if any of the other saddles fit him. And then we can adjust one of the other horses' bridles to fit him. He needs a name. I think I will call him Thunder, for it suits him. Big, black,........ scary, and strong. I think he will be the perfect horse. Now what can he do?"
"What do you mean `what can he do'?"
"Well, can he canter, can he trot, can he gallop, can he bolt, can he jump, is he good at cross-country, or is he more of a dressage horse, does he freak over little things, do you have to lunge him, do you have to use a riding crop, is he a western horse? You know, that kinda' thing."
"Well, he can canter, trot, gallop, bolt, jump, and he doesn't freak over little things, so far as I know, and I have absolutely no idea what the other things were."
"You never were much of a horse person, were you?"
"Not really, no. But I must say that if you know what all those things meant, then you surely are a horse master!"
"No, not really, no, but I do know a fare bit, after all I must if I am going to work where I do."
They got the biggest horse's saddle, and tried that on Thunder. "It fits pretty well, now we need one saddle blanket to go underneath."
"Lady if you do not mind me saying, we are late already, and the Lord and Lady will not be impressed at all," he said, with a little anxiety in his fare elven voice.
"Well in that case I do mind you `saying so' as you so aptly put it," and here she paused and thought to herself, "I think I am starting to get the hang of this," and started again, "because I would like to ride with a saddle and I find it much easier than riding bare back, like most people, so please would you get me a thick saddle blanket?!"
"Alright, and I will go and see if there is a good bridle we can get."
"No, no, its okay, I have that under control. But quickly go and get the saddle blanket." He went off and she sat there, patting the horse. A few moments later, Largolian came back with two saddle blankets. "I didn't know if you wanted a thick one or an extra thick, so I got both."
"Just a thick thanks."
He handed it to her and she threw it onto the horse's neck, and then pulled it down so it was in the right spot so she could put the saddle on. Then she threw the saddle over Thunder's back and untwisted the stirrups and the girth, then pulled the girth strap under and buckled it up.
"Could you maybe just give me a leg up, mate?"
"Alright then, get me a chair."
"For what reason would you need a chair, My lady?"
"How tall is this horse?"
"No less than 17 hands high."
"My point proven. Now could you get me a chair?"
"Oh, I'll see what I can do." He came back a few minutes later with a stool. "Will this do, My lady?"
"Perfect! Now, all we need is a bridle." She looked questioningly at Largolian, who then sighed and said,
"I'll see if one will fit him." He trudged off, leaving Kimberly to wonder how she was going to get up on this horse, and if the Lord and Lady would be angry for their being so late. Just then Largolian came back with a bridle and put it on the horse.
"Perfect fit. Now, I am gonna get up on this beauty, and see if he can stand me." She lowered the stirrups and placed the stool in front of them. "Here we go!" She jumped up, easier than she thought that she would. Largolian jumped up onto his horse, who was called Mercury. Kimberly told the horse to walk and it did.
"That was amazing! Only elves can do that, and very few mortals! Could you do that when you were back home?" asked Largolian with amazement.
"Of course I could! Its called horse whispering! It's where the horse understands what you are saying! But even back home not many people could do that! But anyway, you lead, coz' I don't know where to go."
"Oh no My lady, you must lead, for that horse you are riding is the fastest one that we have, and he is the last of his kind, so much like his father, Shadowfax. He goes like an arrow when he wants to. I will call out to you to tell you what way to turn."
"Okay. Where do I go first?"
"Keep going straight until I say to turn left."
"Okay! Trot, Thunder!" The horse started to trot, and Kimberly rose up and down in her stirrups in time with the beating hoofs of the giant horse. "Wow! This is the fastest horse I have ever been on, and I have been on racehorses for crying out loud! But this would be a fast gallop for most horses!" she thought to herself. Then she called out loud to the horse, "Canter Thunder!" Then immediately the giant frame of the magnificent beast ran faster and faster, until it was going faster than any horse could.
"Whoa, Kimberly! Slow down! I can't keep up!" came Largolian's voice from far behind, that she only just heard over the ever quickening pace of the beating hoofs that fell thudding on the ground. Mercury was galloping as fast as he could, and yet was far behind Thunder, who was riding on the wind.
"Yeehah!" came Kimberly's voice.
"Slow down Kimberly!" Came Largolian's voice. Kimberly heard it loud and clear, as if he was right next to her. Quickly, she told the horse to slow down to a walk, and Thunder checked his pace.
Once he was walking, She called out, "Stand, Thunder!" he stopped immediately. Largolian came up, riding on Mercury. "Keep your horse at a trot, please?! Then my horse won't have to wear itself out just trying to keep up with you!"
"Gosh! I'm sorry! I was just having a little fun! You didn't have to get so upset!"
"That is not what I am worried about! I just don't want you going off like that! Please! I didn't mean to get annoyed at you, but could you please slow down? I am just worried about your wellbeing. I don't want this horse to go crazy and throw you off!"
"Thunder wouldn't do that! And besides, I am perfectly capable of staying on a horse! Didn't you watch me ride? I can, you know?!"
"I know that! You are a perfectly wonderful rider, if you can stay on this horse. Only experienced riders can stay on him, therefore making you experienced! But I just want to have my eye on you. When you saw that orc, and when he knocked you and made you fall, I was right there, but I was behind a tree. He got to you first. When I realised what was happening, you were on the ground. It was then that I took my elvish form, and then I fought the orc and won. Which was then when we took you to a safer place and you woke up. You see, the enemy got there first, and if I wasn't there, you would probably be half way to Mordor right now. So I am just a bit worried that something could happen to you, even in the safe province of Lorien. That is why I would like to keep my eye on you. So nothing happens to you."
Kimberly told the horse to walk, and she guided it next to Mercury. She lent over and hugged Largolian, and he was surprised, but then hugged her back.
"I had no idea! I am so sorry! I didn't mean to be snappy at you!" she said, then let go.
"That's quite alright. I know you didn't mean it like that. But I promise you that you can canter and gallop all you want..... later. We have a track that you can go on. But right now, we must go! I sent a message to the Lord and Lady that we might be late, that was before the noon-bell. So they should be alright. Come! Let us go!"
They trotted down the narrow path way and then they turned again, and came to the gate of the citadel. They were allowed to enter, and then they travelled for another hour and a half, thus taking them to the biggest tree that Kimberly ever saw. "Wow! I wonder how many sheets of paper you could get from that?! Anyway, what's with the plain stairway and all? What happened to the stairs with the grand crystal covering and everything? It's all gone!"
"Lady what do you mean?"
"Do you remember in the movie how it's got like all the big fancy..." she stopped short, as Largolian looked at her with a puzzled expression. "Ummm..... never mind! Just.....something that I know of that I thought was really interesting and I thought that you might want to hear it."
"Phew! I covered that one up well, didn't I?" she thought to herself.
"Go on tell me what was so interesting? Surely it would be very interesting to learn something from your world?!"
"Okay, so maybe I didn't cover it up very well." She thought to herself, trying to think of an answer. Then she thought that this comment was very strange. After all, he had been in her world for some time, and that is where he was born, wasn't it?
"What do you mean, `something from my world'?! You come from my world, you....... Dinglehopper! Don't you remember anything from our world?"
"I do not come from your world lady. I know that is where you first met me, but I have been alive for many years countless, a lot more than you think, might I add, and I actually originate from here."
"So what, your like an under cover elf? Wow! Sick!"
"Do you not feel very well, my lady?"
"You must remember something? C'mon think! Rack that brain of yours! And for goodness sake, please don't speak like that!"
"Come! We must go! Up the tree! The ladder leads to a very beautiful courtyard in the trees. Quite a lovely view and all, and I know just how much you love heights! Come! We are over two hours late! We must go and visit the Lord and Lady... Now! All your questions will be answered later. But for the most part, we must hurry up and get to the top of this tree, before the lady sends someone to look for us. Come!"
"Alright, alright! Don't get your nickers in a knot! I'll just tie Thunder up here, and you can go and tie your horse over there!"
"My Lady, please! Would you let me assist you in getting of this magnificent beast?"
"What did I say about talking funny?!"
"You still have that attitude problem, I see?"
"How did you learn to talk so funny? Seriously, you have been hanging around these here elves too long, I tell ye!"
"There you go! You got the hang of it! Now let me do all the talking, because I am afraid of what you might say. This way, my lady!"
He held out his hand, and she placed her hand in his. Then they walked up to the top of the tree, which took them a good half hour. Then they came to the courtyard that Largolian had mentioned earlier (you could almost say a house in the trees, it is made up of flat wooden planks, put together in the trees. Although this one was a lot more grand) with a gate way leading to the courtyard, with an overhead made of glass, and seats carved out of the finest wood, and embroidered with silks and gold. Kimberly gasped!
"It is absolutely beautiful! How did they do this?"
"They are elves! They can do anything when their heart is set on it." Largolian replied, with a small grin on his face.
They walked through the gates, opened by someone unseen, and stepped into the courtyard. Then a guard, who was standing in a corner not visible, save only to the trained eye, came up to them and said, "Greetings. My name is Haldir. The Lord and Lady are expecting you. Please come with me."
They followed him to a seat, which was along the bole of the tree, and saw an elf and elf maiden. At once, Kimberly recognised them as Lord Celeborn and Lady Galadriel. They stood up. Largolian bowed low, and seeing that this was the right thing to do, she also bowed, but then tripped over her own two feet and landed clumsily right into the Lord Celeborn's arms. He lifted her up onto her own two feet, and looked her up and down. Kimberly was too embarrassed to say anything, so she stood there silently, with her eyes looking down at her hands, which she was fiddling with.
"Well, I see that you have arrived. Now come! Let us sit and be merry for the present!" The Lord Celeborn said, with genuine mirth in his eyes, obviously amused by the incident that happened before hand.
"I am so sorry My Lord! I did not mean to!" Kim blurted out.
"Do not worry! It was sheer accident! I understand that. Now, come and sit with me and you will tell me all about your life in this land that you lived in....... Australia, as you call it." So she followed him to a seat, and the Lady and Largolian followed in suit. They sat down on the seats, and at once, Kimberly was amazed at how comfortable the seat was. She sat there, for almost two hours, talking to Celeborn about her History and everything that she could remember about herself.
Then he asked, "What about your parents? Surely they should get some mention?"
"Well, my mother works at a place out in the city, she is a Lawyer, and she usually is home by the time I get home from school. And also, she really good at cooking."
Celeborn waited for her to go on, but as she didn't keep talking, he then asked, "and your father?"
"Oh," and here she faltered, "My father. He died in a car crash when I was 7. I was with him," she said, and then her eyes went glassy, and she bit her lip to stop from crying, but a single tear slipped down her cheek. She wiped her eyes dry, and then continued on. "My father was hit by a drunk person on the roads at night. He was hurt really badly, but I was alright. I slipped away with a broken arm, that's it. But my dad was a different matter. He was in hospital for weeks upon weeks, and at the age I was, it seemed like forever. I went to visit him every day, but I hated every second of it. It was scary to see him all bandaged up and on a drip, and I could never talk to him properly, because the nurses were always there. Then he died, and that was really hard for me because I couldn't live without him. After all, it was my dad that I took after, never my mum. I was so much like my dad, in fact, that I used to get comments on how I acted so much like him." Here she burst into uncontrollable fits of tears, and Largolian took her into his arms and caressed her, and she lent on his shoulder and left a wet patch of tears on his tunic. And she was reminded of that day when she cried to her mum in the car on the way to school. And then she also remembered what her mum had said to her when she got out of the car. "Remember, I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me." With that, she slowly stopped crying and looked up and the Lord, Lady and Largolian. "I'm sorry! I really am. What else did you want to know?"
But the Lady replied, speaking for the first time, "Come. You are weary with sadness. Largolian, please take her back to her room, and there she can rest."
"If you don't mind, Lady.... Ummm........"
"Please, you may call me Galadriel if you want."
"Thankyou. But I would like to go riding, if you don't mind. Largolian told me of a trail that runs through Lorien, and he said that I may go on it later, if I wanted to." At this, they both looked at Largolian, who smiled sheepishly back at them.
"Whatever you wish, Lady. But I must ensure that someone," and here he looked at Largolian enquiringly, "will go with you."
But My Lord, my horse can't keep up with her, even if her horse is at a trotting pace. Surely you don't really think that I should go with her the whole way? Otherwise she will have to walk, and I am sure that she does not merely want to walk."
"What horse did you give her?" Celeborn asked, a little harshly.
"Thunder, My Lord. That is what she named him. It was the big black one."
"You know that horse is dangerous! Why did you give such a horse to the Lady?"
"Oh I can ride him sir! I am a horse whisperer! He does what I say, and he is perfectly wonderful at the things I tell him to do. Besides, I chose him, so please do not get angry at Largolian, because it really wasn't his fault. You can come watch me ride for a bit, if you want, just so you are satisfied. I really like him!" Kimberly said, looking at him sweetly, hoping to change his mind.
"Very well then. I will come and watch. But if Thunder does not behave properly, then I will not permit you to ride him."
Thankyou so much sir! Thankyou! Thankyou! Thankyou! You won't regret this, I assure you!"
He walked down the ladder, and the others followed. Kimberly ran to Thunder, untied his reigns, and jumped up on him. She grabbed the reigns and told him to walk. He walked forward until she said to stop, and then he halted.
"Well, I see you can guide him and he will obey you," Celeborn said, "but just for your safety, I am going to get Largolian to ride to the end of the trail and wait for you."
"Thank you again sir! Let's go Largolian! Tell me which way to go!" he jumped up onto his horse and lead her to the trail.
"Here you go! Now if I don't see you at the other end in about four hours, I will come and look for you. Have fun!" she cantered off, as she waved back to Largolian. She was moving with the horse, and rolling her pelvis forward and backward in the saddle. Then she told him to go into a Gallop. At once the horse got into a faster and smoother gait, and all she remembered whilst riding him was the trees whizzing past, as if in a whirlwind.