Sat. June 28, 2006. American Olympic Archery Team Training Fields
Eliana sat stiffly on a bench at the archery training fields. This had been her home for the past two years, and she was sad to think that she might be asked to leave it. She let out a low sigh. Just two weeks ago, she had been standing on this very field, compound bow in hand, quiver of arrows beside her. At 17, she was the youngest member of the American team, yet was easily the best. Eliana had been training hard for nearly two years, and had blown away any competition with her desire to compete and skill with a bow. But that was before the disaster…
Ellie could still remember it. It never, ever should have happened! One freak accident had probably ruined her whole career. It was a gorgeous day, and the fields were empty. Then she saw the silver shaft speeding haphazardly towards her, glinting in the sun. She had leapt out of the way, but the next thing she remembered were the wild screams of her friends and she was lying on the ground covered in blood. Her blood. The paramedics told her she was lucky that she was alive, thanks to her reflexes. Ellie snorted back a bitter laugh. She was anything but lucky. She grew bored of staying in bed and watching Lord of the Rings movies very quickly. How often she wished she could escape to Middle Earth and leave this disaster behind her…
Eliana stood up hurriedly and turned to finish her walk through the center, feeling the thick bandaging underneath her pale blue hooded sweatshirt. Over the last year many foreign athletes had come to the American center; it was arguably the best in the world. She had made so many new friends since she had begun training here and she hated to think she would have to leave it soon. A high pitched whistle to her right drew Eliana’s attention. “Hey gorgeous!” Ellie casually flicked a stray lock of golden brown hair out of her eyes as she saw the group of men’s archers passing by her. While her youthful demeanor and unsurpassed skill earned her friendship from her fellow female athletes, her particularly beautiful face, dancing hazel eyes, and tall slender figure captured the affections of visiting men’s competitors. They were quick to learn her name and even more quickly learned of her fiery wit and temper when the said that a girl as beautiful as her could never draw a bow. Some coaches even called her “the All-American Distraction”, so Eliana tended to avoid the men’s training fields.
With a quick leap Ellie was up the stairs of the housing complex and was in her room. She was tired, and her physical therapist would give her a lecture about recovery time if he saw her taking a brisk walk. Ellie flopped onto the couch and picked up her battered copy of The Fellowship of the Ring. She hadn’t read the book in a long time, so she flipped through the pages to the chapter called “the Bridge of Khazad-Dûm” and began to read. Ah yes, here was the sad part where Gandalf fell and the Fellowship was broken…..
Ellie didn’t know she had fallen asleep. The pages of the book and scenes from the movies filled her mind and suddenly she felt as if she was falling through a misty cloud, going down…..down……down…
With a rude thump she landed on the ground in the middle of a windswept field and fell to her knees. What on earth was she doing in a field??? Was this a dream?? Suddenly Eliana realized that her side hurt terribly and that her gloved hand was locked around something. Why was she wearing archer’s gloves? She looked at her hands and saw that she was holding her compound bow. It looked different though, it was painted a shiny green color and had silvery leaves traced on it. Her hands felt her side and she saw a crude black arrow sticking out of her silvery blue yet blood drenched tunic– why was she wearing a tunic in the first place??? This was NOT the middle ages… or was it? The pain in her side convinced her that this was not a dream, or she would simply wake up and take an Advil. A bizarre scene flashed through her mind.
There was an orc outside the mountain-door to Moria, looking for something. A scout it was, and somehow Eliana knew she had been hit with an arrow; yes, it had seen her first, and shot, but she had pounded three arrows in its chest before it fell. Why she had done this she had no idea, there was no memory of why she needed to kill it… Ellie remembered she had then ran off the stone ledge, and was violently sick. She had never shot at and killed a living thing before with her bow, and was sickened that she had. Then she wandered on, and came to this- this field place, wherever it was. Eliana looked up and saw a light in the trees ahead of her, and remembered nothing more. “If I am dead, this isn’t so bad” her befuddled mind said, and consciousness left her with pain and many unanswered questions.
“Come Boromir, Legolas. Gimli, get them up.” Aragorn’s brisk voice whipped thought the air as he cleaned his sword, concealing the grief he felt for Gandalf. The Fellowship stood on a rock ledge outside the mountain-door to Moria, each lamenting their loss in their own way. The Hobbits were cast upon the ground, and Legolas was gazing into the distance, looking lost. A faint glimmer of silver caught his eye on the plain, but he did not heed it. Gandalf had fallen. That was all that mattered.
Gimli was struggling against Boromir’s hold, insisting he could go back and challenge the orcs of Moria by himself. “Give them a moment, for pity’s sake.” Boromir said. Grief was written on his bearded face.
“By nightfall these hill will be swarming with orcs!” Aragorn countered. “We make for the woods of Lothlorien. On your feet Sam,” he added, pulling the Hobbit up.
Frodo stood away from the company, unheeding Aragorn’s summons. His sorrow was not expressed with words or tears. Mutely he turned and followed the rest of the group as they climbed off the ledge. None of them saw the dead orc with three silver arrows in its chest that had fallen into a ditch below.
Near the borders of Lorien, Legolas saw a shimmering of silver in a patch of tall grass. He ran over to it, wanting to find out what this–person was doing here. Yes it was indeed a person, and an Elvish lady at that! She was lying on her back, fair and beautiful face stark white. Strange maidens did not simply appear on the borders of Lorien, covered in blood and pierced with arrows. Her sparkling blue tunic fluttered in the breeze as he knelt and saw she was yet breathing. Aragorn approached and said in hushed toned of Elven speech “What do you see?”
Pippin ran over and said in his high Hobbit voice, “Oy, Legolas, who’s that?”