The darkness seemed almost eternal to Lucas. He felt himself falling as wind whipped up and around him, the same dry sandstorm consuming Lucas’s world. He writhed, as though trapped in a nightmare that wouldn’t end.
Suddenly, there was light. The melodious call of birds welcomed Lucas back into the world of the living. He tentatively pulled himself to a sitting position to find himself on a bed, near an open window.
“Welcome back, young one. We nearly lost you.” The voice that spoke was deep and warm, and Lucas whirled as best he could in the bed to find the speaker.
The man sitting in the chair was something right out of one of Lucas’s games. Old and wizened, the man gave off the aura of strength and power, while at the same time seemed gentle, almost kind. He was clad in gray robes, and upon his head was perched a pointed hat. Had not the situation seemed so ludicrous Lucas felt himself chuckling a bit nervously, though he tried to keep himself under control..
“Where am I? And who the devil are you?” Lucas turned forward, trying to confront the strange man as best he could in the bed. After all, someone in the alleyway had attacked him, and now all the sudden he was in this place? He was in some sort of hospital; the man in the robes didn’t fit.
“Don’t get excited,” the old man cautioned, a smile on his face, as though he were attempting to calm a frightened child. “You are safe. Currently you are in Rivendell, under Elrond’s care.”
Lucas nodded at first at the statement, before freezing. Rivendell? What was the old man talking about? Before he could stop himself, Lucas had to choke back a laugh. “You’re kidding, right?”
The man suddenly seemed taken aback. “Why should I be? What about this should strike you so amusing?” His brow was furrowed slightly, as though he were somehow trying to divine the reason that Lucas found the situation so funny.
“Rivendell? I mean, come on.” Lucas chuckled to himself a little more, now shaking his head in total disbelief. “So that would make you Gandalf, right? Has Frodo arrived yet?” Lucas couldn’t help himself… here he was, attacked one night in the alleyway, and in the next instant found himself waking up against some looney who was saying that he was in Rivendell. Really, there was some sort of sick humor involved.
The man raised one bushy gray eyebrow at Lucas. “Often have I encountered those who recognized me, but never have they done so with such mirth.” Far from acting insulted, Gandalf seemed somewhat amused himself, the corners of his mouth curling a bit into a smile. The smile faded as he continued. “However, how did you know that young Frodo was due to be here?”
Lucas stopped laughing, looking at the man with pure disbelief written all over his face. “You are kidding me. C’mon, joke’s over. Seriously, just who really are you?” Lucas kept his eyes on the old man, waiting for an answer that at least made sense.
“I am Gandalf the Grey, just as you seem to have surmised already.” Gandalf looked at Lucas, a faint sign of irritation finally creeping into his features. “I still would like to hear your name. I don’t recall ever meeting you, and I’m sure that your attire and peculiar belongings would have stood out to me.” As he spoke Gandalf glanced over to the wall, where Lucas’s backpack sat on a chair.
Lucas, however, had long since ceased to be amused. He had been nice, hadn’t gotten angry, or even yelled or hit anybody. Yet here this guy continued to feed him this crap about being Gandalf. As if anyone would actually believe that! Fine. If this old guy wanted to mess with Lucas, then Lucas could mess with him right back.
“I am Lucas, son of Donovan,” Lucas began, looking back up at Gandalf. “I am the Keeper of the Seven Seals and Viewer of the Tides of Change.” Lucas chuckled, getting into it a bit. He could make anyone he wanted, and play this old man’s game. “I am a seer of the past, and prophet of the future.”
Gandalf smiled again, more to himself than anything else. “Ah, well met then, Lucas son of Donovan.” At that Gandalf arose, looking down at Lucas. “In that case, I suggest you get your rest.” At that he simply left, leaving Lucas alone. For a moment Lucas started to get up, hoping to follow him, but he simply ached too much. Besides, now that he was by himself again, he finally noticed how tired he was. He sunk back, blinking his eyes a little before he lay back down, giving in to his body’s demands. Maybe all of this was just a weird dream…
*** *** *** *** ***
“Gandalf, how is our other patient?” Elrond looked at the old wizard as he left the room. His face held its usual almost grim countenance, though Gandalf could see the true concern that showed through the old elf’s eyes.
“He is well enough,” responded Gandalf, nodding to his old friend. “Though I find him curious… very curious. He knows of Frodo.”
At that Elrond looked up, “Is he…”
Gandalf spoke quickly. “No, I did not sense the taint of the dark one on this Lucas.” As he spoke Gandalf’s gaze drifted back to the door to Lucas’s room. “Though it is strange… when I told him that he was in Rivendell he did not believe me…” Gandalf shrugged a bit, almost to dismiss it. “Perhaps the lad was disoriented still… he was unconscious for some time.”
Elrond did not however seem to be share Gandalf’s ease. “How then did he know about Frodo’s coming?” His eyes narrowed a bit as he continued. “Even if you cannot sense the dark one’s presence with him, it does not mean that he isn’t dangerous.”
At that Gandalf nodded slowly. “True… the boy claims to be a seer, a prophet of some kind.” Gandalf brow furrowed as he continued. “I have seen much, but never have I come across anything or anyone like this. But still…”
Gandalf turned back to Elrond. “Perhaps he has a part to play in all of this… his being found at Rivendell’s edge cannot be a coincidence, especially now of all times. And if he truly is a seer…” Gandalf held his staff closer to him, holding himself more firmly. “Then Sauron has yet another enemy… and we have an ally who will be able to aid us in the destruction of the ring.”
Elrond look at Gandalf, his expression now truly grim. “You would trust a child, and one that we do not even know in order to aid us?”
Gandalf smiled in response. “I have learned not to judge on merely size or age… and as I said, perhaps he has a part to play in this.”
*** *** ***
Lucas stood at a railing in Rivendell, overlooking singing and dancing elves, and a forest that seemed to span forever. It had only been a few days since he had been allowed full freedom to walk around the city, though it had felt like an eternity.
The unexpected freedom startled Lucas more than anything else. Even Elrond had told him that he was free to go. He remembered the conversation clearly.
“So, how long am I going to end up staying here?” Lucas asked almost sarcastically. He still had no idea why these people who claimed to be from Middle-earth had kidnapped him, but a date to leave would be nice.
“As long as you wish to. You are free to go at any time,” Elrond responded, before leaving Lucas alone once more.
That was it, the entire conversation. It still made no sense, and Lucas had been going over it at least a dozen times in his head. Why would this group of lunatics kidnap him and then tell him that he was free to go anytime?
Well, then there was the possibility that this was all real… Lucas banished the though almost immediately. How could it possibly be real? Though, at this point it was either this whole thing was real or Lucas was going crazy… and of the two, Lucas would prefer the later. After all, if he was crazy than there was the very good chance that he’d wake up and it would all be just a dream.
But then, just in case he didn’t… Lucas smiled to himself. In case he woke up and he was still stuck in this mad place where fantasy was reality, there was only one thing to do. Pretend to be Lucas, son of Donovan, the seer of the future. Lucas couldn’t help but chuckle as he turned back towards his room. A GM, stuck as one of his players. The irony was too good to resist. Although, he had to admit, as a part it was one that suited him. A player who knew what was going to happen… it was like being in one of Cory’s games.