Keeper of Realities – Part 7
Fencing, Quidditch, and Quantum-Signatures
Recap: The Fellowship is temporarily at Hogwarts – a school for witches and wizards. Frodo, Sam and Boromir went to speak shortly with the school headmaster (Dumbledore), leaving Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Pippin, and Merry with three young wizards: Harry, Ron, and Hermione. Dumbledore has somehow worked it that the Fellowship will play a Quidditch match (a wizarding game that will be explained) against the best of Hogwarts, because the New Zealand team did not show up.
Important: Ron and Hermione have taken an emergency trip to the library. (“I know I remember something about them. Come on, we’ve got to look it up.”)
Characters are from Tolkien, myself, and (for this part) J.K. Rowlings. *Phew.*
Frodo sat silently on the green field. With on hand he was fiddling with a heavy, golden ring. The other he leaned back on as he listened. The area was a strange one: it was very large. At either end were huge goal posts – like sticks with hoops at the top – that stood up fifty feet. On each side stood posts and seats for people to watch from. But there were no cheering crowds yet today; Frodo and the eight others he was with were the only ones out there.
Frodo listened carefully to what Harry was saying – he was instructing the Fellowship in the game of Quidditch – but his mind kept wandering. He wondered vaguely where Laurie was, true, but his thoughts were turned more so to the object in his hand.
It’s power had been lowered from moving so far from Mordor. Yet now Frodo felt it painfully on his heart. The One Ring was perhaps less heavy now, but it pulled and nagged at him. Why have you taken me from Middle Earth? I must get back. That is our home. Take us back, Frodo. Amal burzum, dûmp agh burgûl fauth, ash prakhz agh matmatûrz. Gimbgoth. Thrak ash, snaga, thrak za ashnazg gimbshakh.*
“The game Quidditch,” Harry was saying, “uses seven players: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper, and one seeker – which is the position I play. The first thing we’ll have to do is decide who plays where.
“The chasers’ job is to get this ball, the Quaffle,” he held up a red ball perhaps eight inches in diameter, “through one of those hoops. If you do, your team gets ten points.”
“I can’t get up there,” Sam said. “I’m not a bird; I can’t just fly up even if you can.”
Harry stared at him for a moment. “Um, no. Quidditch is played on broomsticks. I don’t think birds can even play.”
“Oh,” said Sam, paling. “Oh.”
“Don’t worry, Sam,” Frodo said, forcing his hand away from the hidden Ring as the others looked at him. “I’m sure Laura wouldn’t let us get hurt; it’ll be fine.” I hope.
“Right, Mr. Frodo,” Sam said, looking very much like he considered broomsticks rather less safe than boats.
“Okay,” said Harry. “That’s chasers. Now beaters use these,” he held up two club-like bats, “to hit away those bludgers, which fly around trying to unseat riders.” Sam groaned. “Keepers guard their goal so the other team can’t score. Now seekers look for the snitch, this is it. It is small and hard to see, but the seeker who catches it ends the game and scores his team one-hundred-fifty points.”
“May I see it?” Frodo asked. Harry handed him the snitch and Frodo inspected it. It was small and golden, with wings on either side.
“But that’s not logical,” said Legolas, who alone of the big peoples of the Fellowship knew some math. “Whoever catches the snitch will almost always win the game! One-hundred-fifty points against just ten per goal? What kind of game is this?”
Harry blinked. He had never thought of Quidditch that way; Legolas was right – the game would have been little different if the only players were seekers. Oh, well. “Right,” he said, breaking into his thoughts. “What positions do you all want?”
Laurie asked. Well, asked wasn’t quite right. She didn’t say it out loud, They just knew. They always knew. (But for the sake of you readers, I’ll put it in <THIS you are Time for this does not exist.>
Laurie sensed him nonchalantly and instantly adopted the Elite’s mode of speaking.
the Elite answered.
Laurie – Qualara, that is – asked dryly. <AND when?>
the Elite answered. It gave her what might be called a smile, and –
Young Laurie – just past fifteen years of age – stepped out on her first reality. To say she wasn’t nervous would have been a lie. But bravery is not being unafraid – that’s stupidity. Bravery is doing something that you’re terrified of, but do it anyway. And the short `training’ of the last Qua had taught her to ignore such emotions. She went forward through the thick, evil-feeling brush.
“Okay, let me get this straight,” Harry said. “Legolas, Aragorn and Boromir – I did get your names right, didn’t I? – are chasers. Er, you two, Merry and Pippin and beaters, Laurie – if she returns (and I’ve never known her to be late) – is keeper, and Frodo seeker. Sam and Gimli are sitting out as alternates.”
“No,” said Sam, biting his lip. “If Mr. Frodo is going up there, I am also. Mr. Frodo isn’t going anywhere without Samwise Gamgee.” Frodo smiled at this, and he wondered: Anywhere?
“I’ll sit out,” said Pippin, and the begging look his older cousin gave him. Merry usually stepped aside for him, so it was his turn. “I’m not much good at anything anyway.”
“Well,” said Harry, looking at him. (Hermione and Ron had had to leave – on a trip to the library.) “What can you do? I suppose someone will have to be Keeper if Laurie doesn’t show – but she’s never been late to date.”
“Just what all hobbits can do,” answered Pippin. “I can garden, hike, sing, imitate a bird – you know.”
“He can talk pretty well,” muttered Gimli. Despite his tone, the dwarf was relieved to not be in the game. He – like Sam – viewed broomsticks much like wild horses. “And eat, you’ve seen him.”
Harry and Merry laughed, and Pippin had to join in.
“Oh, come on,” said Harry. “We’ll find you a place. Maybe you can commentate or something.” Pippin looked up hopefully. “Blimey, you really do want to. Okay, I’ll speak to Lee Jordan for you.”
“Oy!” Pippin called when they had settled down., “Strider! Are the two of you ever coming back?” He was smiling now.
Aragorn and Boromir looked up from where they had been speaking. “Where’s Legolas?” Aragorn asked. “I thought he was here.” They all looked around, confused. The elf was gone.
“Probably in the forest, if I know the elf,” said Gimli. “He’ll be back soon enough if ever. He mentioned something to me, but I was paying him no heed.” He returned Aragorn’s stare steadily.
“We should look for him,” said Harry. “It isn’t safe in there. I’ve been in the forest – it’s dangerous!”
“So we’ve heard,” said Boromir dryly. “But that’s not helping anything. We might send a search party in there for hours and never find him. Legolas is an elf – he is at home in the trees.”
“What about me?” Legolas asked, coming up behind them. “I am here. I was just walking in the woods. They are beautiful! And not so perilous as I was told. I met several spiders in there, but many creatures in the forest are strange but benevolent. I came to no harm.” His bright eyes sparkled in delight at the memory.
“You’re a chaser,” said Harry, shaking himself. He decided to just stay what he knew; it was easier than attempting to swallow someone aparating within Hogwarts grounds, and liking the Forbidden Forest. “Unless Laurie doesn’t show, then we might have to change the positions around a bit. Will that work?”
“It sounds proper to my ears.”
“If we are playing against Hogwarts in your game,” said Boromir, “wouldn’t it be appropriate to `play’ what we know also?” Aragorn gave Boromir a surprised look. What was he thinking?
“What do you mean?” Harry asked.
“Oh, archery and fencing would be right, I think,” he answered, a slight smile on his face. “The best of this place against those chosen in Middle Earth.” Aragorn raised one eyebrow at the younger man, but a slight smile played on his face. It would, after all, only be fair. Harry had other ideas.
“Archery? Fencing? I don’t think any of us even knows how . . .”
“Well,” Merry said, catching Boromir’s drift. “We just learned Quidditch for the first time today, and are already going to play against you. I’ll bet you’ve had lots of practice.”
“I agree,” said Pippin. Gimli grunted in approval – and in knowing using axes with children wouldn’t exactly be appropriate.
“I believe it is an excellent idea,” said Legolas. Then again, he was a champion marksman . . .
“It’s a deal then,” said Boromir. “We’ll play this Quidditch, and compete in a more familiar manner.”
Harry looked around, trapped to the other faces. Sam shrugged; he was more worried about his master – and flying like a bird – than sword-fighting. That was nothing new. “I suppose so . . .” Harry said unsurely.
Aragorn led them to the right arm of the River. Here upon its western side under the shadow of Tol Brandir a green lawn ran down to the water from the feet of Amon Hen. Behind it rose the first gentle slopes of the hill clad with trees, and trees marched away westward along the curving shores of the lake. A little spring fell tumbling down and fed the grass. There the company spent the night.
The day came like fire and smoke burning the horizon. The sun lit them with flames of murkey red. Soon, though, it changed into a golden yellow as it climbed into the sky.
When they had eaten, Aragorn called the Company together. “Well,” he said, “the time has come when we must decide which way to turn. I fear I must lay this burden on the Ringbearer. Frodo, I am not Gandalf, and can not advise you on this matter. The choice is yours.”
Frodo did not answer at once. Then he spoke slowly. “I know that haste is needed, yet I cannot choose. The burden is heavy. Give me an hour longer, and I will speak. Let me be alone!”
Aragorn looked at him with pity in his eyes. “Very well, you shall have your hour.”
Frodo sat still for a moment, his head bowed. Sam, who had been watching his master with great concern, shook his head and muttered: “Plain as a pikestaff it is, but it’s no good Sam Gamgee putting in his spoke just no.”
Presently Frodo got up and walked away; and Sam saw that while the others restrained themselves and did not stare at him, the eyes of Boromir followed Frodo intently, until he passed out of sight in the trees at the foot of Amon Hen.
The Elite looked down at both Fellowships in pity. Being two places at once usually had nasty side effects in the long run. It was quite possible they would have little memory afterwards of any world save their own. Yet one of the hobbits – Frodo Baggins – worried them. He had begun to see more clearly now.
“All right,” Harry said. “I’ll show you how to mount your broomsticks. Watch.” Harry held out his own Firebolt and showed each of them the proper grip and how to sit on their brooms. Then he pushed of, hoovered for a moment, flew around them once and got down again. “It’s simple enough once you get used to it.”
Sam stared, terrified at the broomstick he held in his hand. “A nice pickle we’ve gotten ourselves into, Mr. Frodo,” he said to the older hobbit by his side. “Flying like birds away from it all. I shall wonder if no ill comes from it.”
Frodo looked at Sam, and smiled. He was secretly grateful for the delay. But more time just played into the enemy’s hands. Frodo hoped that Laurie was doing something to get them out of there. It was almost time to go.
From a hill, Laurie viewed the kingdom of Karellatland. I was beautiful: rolls of green landscape for miles upon miles. Yet in her heart, all she wished for was to return to the forest of evil. It called to her insistently
said the Elite.
“Laura! You’re finally here,” said Frodo, flying jerkily – though not compared to the others – down to greet her. “We’re going to have a fencing/ archery match followed in the half-time (they set it up specially – there usually isn’t one. They figure after twenty minutes. The Hogwarts people are convinced they’ll win. Personally, I wouldn’t blame them.) Of the Quidditch match. We start in only half and hour! Where is your broom?”
“Here,” Laurie answered, holding out the staff Galadriel had given her. Twigs and such popped out of the end. Frodo stared. There was no way all that could have fit in Laurie’s narrow staff. “I have made a few – adjustments.”
Just at that moment, Ron and Hermione rushed out of Hogwarts calling to Harry. Hermione was carrying a curious trilogy of books. Legolas’s elf eyes could not read the language, but Laurie knew the volumes very well. They were called “The Lord of the Rings,” by J.R.R. Tolkien.
*Here is a rough translation of the Black-speech. Tolkien didn’t have many words, so it’s a bit jerky. Where darkness, doom and shadow lie hidden, one lies and dies, mortal. Find Master. Bring One, slave, bring this One Ring [to] find lord. Yeah, I know it’s not brilliant or pretty, but I think it gets the message across. The ring wants to be home.
Um, for all you who haven’t read the Harry Potter books: I enjoyed them. They are by no means as full and mature as Tolkien, but they are interesting. So on a Saturday afternoon when there’s nothing knew of Tolkienonline and you need something to do, look them up.
If you all want to read my other stories (it’s always possible . . .) I wrote “Angel of Music,” Frolijah (partly in humour), The End, and BNC (in humour.)
Hey, please comment and enjoy! Ciao.