The world has changed
I feel it in the water
I feel it in the earth
I smell it in the air
Much that once was is lost
For none now live who remember it
“Shardy Johnson!” Tabitha Heatherly cried. “It is time for you to get your lazy butt up out of bed! It is already half past noon.”
Shardy yawned and rolled over, trying to block Tabitha’s pillow as she whacked her friend with it repeatedly. “It’s too early,” she moaned, further burying herself under her sleeping bag.
“Too early?” Kassie Boyd choked. “Come on, Shard, we all agreed that we were going to find a way to defeat the Mountain Troll at Fangorn Forest.”
“Again?” Shardy exclaimed. “We spent all night last night trying to defeat him.”
“Well, it’s not our fault your character is only level 2,” Kassie pointed out.
“Legolas would probably be level 6 by now, but then Shardy got a hold of him, and now it takes him a year to whip out his bow and arrow,” Tabitha cracked.
Shardy sat up and tossed her pillow at Tabitha. “Like your Aragorn is doing any better!” she cried. “He’s only level 3!”
“At least he ain’t level 2!”
“Well, I didn’t see you defeat the Mountain Troll last night!”
Kassie held up her hands. “Okay, you guys, let’s chill okay?”
Laughing, Shardy and Tabitha picked up their pillows and threw them at Kassie, nearly knocking her glasses off. “Oh, so you wanna fight, huh?” Kassie giggled picking up her own pillow.
It was usually this way every weekend. The three girls lived in the same apartment complex, and every Saturday they rotated on who would host their weekly slumber party. This week it was Shardy and she had gotten the new Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers PlayStation 2 video game. After drawing names from a hat, each girl was assigned a character. Kassie got Gimli, Tabitha got Aragorn, and Shardy got Legolas. All day and night, they fought the levels. It was a hard game, even on easy mode. Oh, it wasn’t too bad when about ten or twenty orcs attack you at the same time. The hard part was remembering all your upgraded combos and trying to kill bosses that just didn’t seem to die. They were now stuck in Fangorn Forest, level 4, trying to kill a Mountain Troll that just wouldn’t die. All of Legolas’s arrows bounced off, Aragorn’s sword could not pierce it, and Gimli’s axes had no avail.
“Yay!” Shardy cheered when she turned on the game and looked at her upgrades for Legolas. “I have enough to buy Elrond’s Death Charge!”
“Why don’t you buy the Shield of Celeborn?” Tabitha inquired. “That permanently increases your health.”
“Nah, Elrond’s Death Charge will help me defeat more orcs.”
“But you already have Elven Fury,” Kassie pointed out.
“I have to hold down the triangle button for that,” Shardy replied, “and that takes time.”
And so, Shardy purchased Elrond’s Death Charge and after watching the scene from Two Towers telling about searching for Merry and Pippin in Fangorn Forest, Shardy steered Legolas down the trail to hunt down some orcs.
It began with the forging of the Great Rings. Three were given to the Elves, immortal wisest and fairest of all beings. Seven to the Dwarf-Lords, great miners and craftsmen of the mountain halls. And nine, nine Rings were gifted to the race of Men who above all else desire power. For within these Rings was the strength and will to govern each race. But they were, all of them, deceived for another Ring was made.
“Hey, there’s an Ent standing over there,” Shardy pointed out as Legolas cut through a log.
Tabitha peered closer at the televison. “Oh, so that’s what’s making all that moaning noises,” she declared. “I wonder if you can do anything with it.”
Shardy shrugged and continued on. As expected, the large log in front of Legolas exploded as an ambush of orcs and goblins attacked him. Shardy grinned. “Now time for Elrond’s Death Charge.”
But Kassie, who was believed to have some psychic like abilities, cried out, “Shardy, wait!”
In the land of Mordor, in the fires of Mount Doom, the Dark Lord Sauron forged in secret a Master Ring to control all others. And into this Ring, he poured his cruelty, his malice, and his will to dominate all life.
One Ring to rule them all.
“What, Kassie?” Shardy inquired looking at Kassie with wide, blue eyes. “What am I doing wrong?” Then, she pressed x, triangle, and R2 at the same time to inflict Elrond’s Death Charge.
“You don’t press the buttons at the same time!”Kassie yelled.
Too late. The TV screen began to glow. The girls covered their eyes as a blinding white light consumed the living room.
One by one, the Free Lands of Middle-earth fell to the power of the Ring. But there were some who resisted.
A Last Alliance of Men and Elves marched against the armies of Mordor and on the slopes of Mount Doom, they fought for the freedom of Middle-earth.
Shardy awoke with a groan and rose to her knees. She could hear something snarling above her. She looked up to see an orc soldier grinning hideously at her, drool dripping down its chin. With a scream, Shardy lifted her sword and pierce the gut of the orc solider. She rolled out of the way as it fell onto the blood-soaked grass and she scrambled to her feet. “That…was gross,” she groaned with a shudder.
She looked around her, hearing the cries of war all around her. She was on a mountain slope surrounded by orcs fighting men and elven soldiers. “What the…” she choked trying to make sense of all this. Another orc attacked her from her right. This time she was prepared. She swung her sword and sliced off the orc’s head, black blood spraying from the neck. She ran around frantically. “Kassie! Tabitha! Whoa!”
In her frantic search for her friends among all the confusion, she nearly ran headlong in a river of lava. Strong arms grabbed her from behind and pulled her to safety. She looked up into the blue eyes of Lord Elrond, now only Legolas’s age. “You need to be more careful,” he informed her and helped her to her feet. For a minute, Elrond stared at her. “You are very young. How old are you, boy?”
Shardy stiffened. “I’m a girl!” she snapped.
Elrond raised his brows. “The world of Men force little girls to fight in battle. Most disgusting. I must speak to Isildur about this.” And with that, he jogged off, killing more orcs along the way.
Shardy still stood there, trying to make sense of all this, when she heard her name being called. Tabitha and Kassie ran up to her, both wearing the same human armor as Shardy and both looking ticked. “What in blazes is going on here!?” Tabitha demanded.
“How would I know?” Shardy retorted with a shrug.
“You pressed the buttons at the same time,” Kassie shot back. “I told you not to. We’ve been sucked into the video game!”
“Oh, this is good,” Tabitha moaned. Just then, an orc ran up to her and drove its sword into her side. Having no damage done to her whatsoever, Tabitha punched the orc in the face, a blow that sent the orc flying backwards into the lava river. “That didn’t even hurt!” Tabitha announced. “In fact, it almost tickled.”
“We’re in the prologue,” Kassie explained. “Remember in the video game how we watched the same prologue in the movie and then all of a sudden we were in game mode fighting as Isildur.” The other girls nodded. “That is exactly what is going on here. This is like basic training. We can’t die in the prologue.”
“So how long do we keep fighting these stupid things?” Shardy asked, kicking an attacking orc in the groin.
“Until Sauron comes out and Isildur cuts the Ring off his fingers with Narsil,” Kassie replied.
Tabitha glared at Shardy. “For your sake, Shardai Johnson, this had better be a dream.”