Keeper of Realities – Part 8
Fly you fools!
Recap: Well, the Fellowship is still at Hogwarts, preparing to play Quidditch – and fencing. They are practicing under the expert eye of Harry Potter. So what ever really happened to the New Zealand team? Hmm . . . wait! I didn’t say that!
“I’m coming, Mr. Frodo!” Sam cried as he raced toward his master, club raised. “Don’t worry!”
“I’m not worried, Sam,” Frodo answered with a smile, as Samwise Gamgee swung the small club less than two feet from his head. “I know you’re here to take care of me.”
The Bludger that had been so eagerly attempting to injure the Ringbearer, whistled at Sam as it was hurdled as far as possible from the two of them. If it could have thought at that moment, the Bludger would have known better than to mess with Frodo again. Unfortunately for it, Bludgers had no minds save what magic gave them . . . and it headed back toward the hobbits at top speed after being hit by Merry Brandybuck.
Sam swung his broomstick around with inexpert violence and swung the club once more toward the doomed Bludger. It flew directly toward the ground, and stuck at top speed, bursting into flame. In seconds, the ball was nothing more than a pile of smoking dust.
Harry Potter of Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry stared in astonishment at the mound of ash. In his years of playing and studying Quidditch, he had never seen a Bludger destroyed; he had not thought it possible. After all, they were magical, and surely an unbreakable spell had been put on the balls.
The wizard looked up from his Firebolt broomstick to stare at the two hobbits, master and servant, twenty feet above him and to the left. It’s not right, he thought. Hurting a Bludger like that. Who are these people? It must have taken some pretty powerful magic to overthrow the unbreakable charm. How could they have done it? They’re not wizards – I don’t think all of them are even human! Who are Laurie’s friends?
But Harry’s thought was not answered, for at that moment, the giant doors to Hogwarts opened, and students poured out by the dozen; they were all heading toward the stands overlooking the Quidditch field.
“Hurry!” Harry cried, “Land on the field; the match is about to begin – and I have to get with my team.”
The Fellowship of the Ring landed rather roughly on the green turf of the Quidditch field. Most of them stumbled over their own feet – with the exception of Legolas and Pippin, who took well to flying, and Frodo who was so busy helping Sam he didn’t have time to trip.
“Wait,” said Sam in confusion. “All these people are going to be watching us make fools of ourselves?”
“Well yes,” said Harry. “That is the point. But I imagine you’ll get your chance during this fencing you propose. Personally, I can’t duel very well – even with my wand! I know we’ll only be using sticks – “
“We will?” Boromir asked, a little disappointed. “Well I suppose so; if we must.”
“Yes,” answered Harry hurriedly. He didn’t want to die under a sword. Wands were bad enough! “But I have a feeling Hogwarts will get hurt enough, even with those. Look, there’s Professor Dumbledore coming with Laurie now. They’ll probably explain it to you – I have to go, the rest of my team is calling.” He ran off toward the other Hogwarts players.
“Okay, okay, okay,” said the captain of the New Zealand Quidditch team. “So we got a little lost – I thought the short cut would work! – but I’m sure we’ll get out soon.”
The rest of the team looked around themselves rather doubtfully. They were in a wooded area next to a wide and rushing river of a kind and purity none of them had seen before. “So,” one player asked doubtfully. “Which way do we go, up or downstream?”
“I’ll fly up and take a look,” said the captain, sighing. “No, wait – we should all go, it might be dangerous here on the ground.”
The New Zealand team flew high above the treetops on their broomsticks, and looked around for some sign of civilization. “Dave?” one player asked the captain softly, flying up to him. “I think you should go upstream.”
“What do you mean, Tobias,” the captain asked. “Aren’t you coming with us?”
“Yes,” Tobias answered. “But – but not yet, there’s something I have to do.”
“Okay, we’ll wait for you.”
“No! No, please go on, I’ll catch up!” Tobias said quickly. The captain sighed again, thinking Tobias was just being more mysterious and private than usual. He signaled the other players to follow him up the river – and toward Lothlórien, if only they had known it.
Tobias smiled to himself and landed back on the ground. His dream had come true. This was the way Back.
“You wish to challenge any who wish it before the Quidditch match,” said Laurie slowly. She was clarifying (more for Dumbledore than herself) the request of the Fellowship. “To fencing: the skills of Middle Earth against those of Hogwarts.”
“Right,” said Pippin. “When do we start?”
“I will consult the Hogwarts team,” answered Dumbledore. “And they will decide.”
“Are they the only ones competing?” asked Boromir. “Will no one else fight us?”
“We do not want to hurt the children,” said Aragorn, laying one hand on the other man’s shoulder. “It will be safer this way.”
“I will speak to the students,” Dumbledore said, eyes twinkling a merry blue. He turned and headed toward the opposing team. Pippin looked questioningly at the other hobbits, but they only shrugged at the strangeness of the wizard. He was very unlike Gandalf – and short-spoken in comparison. No, Gandalf could have never gone here.
“What’re they doin’?” Hagrid asked to the dwarf at his side.
Gimli grunted in agreement to Hagrid’s surprise. “I don’t know; probably getting themselves into some knew sort of trouble.”
“I do not believe so,” said Legolas from Gimli’s side. “In any case, I must join them now.”
“May you prove the honor and valor of Middle Earth!” answered Gimli as the elf left him in the stands, and jumped gracefully down to the Quidditch field. “That elf is going to get himself killed,” Gimli said to Hagrid. “What with riding on those broomsticks so high in the air. We dwarves will go to battle and work in the mines, but this seems an unnecessary danger to me.”
“It is,” said Hagrid. “But it’s a game, and that’s the fun in it.”
“You mean,” asked the players from the Hogwarts team. “That we also have to fence with them? Like with a sword?”
“That sounds awfully dangerous,” noted one of the chasers. “You could get killed with one of those things.”
“Totally unlike Quidditch,” answered Harry dryly. “But we’re only using sticks.”
“Even so,” said another. “I mean, look at them – they can’t be human; not looking like that. Anyway, they look really strong and tough. I wouldn’t trust them.”
“Look at all the weapons they carry – a bow, swords, daggers, that one in the stands has an axe!”
“Yeah, and the cute one jumped twenty feet!” The other players looked at the one who had just spoken, and the female chaser blushed and muttered, “Well, he is.”
“Anyway, they all look so rugged, like they fight every day.”
“Even if those five are really short. Come on, aren’t you guys going to prove to us how tough you are?” asked the girl chaser, still blushing. “Can’t you take them on?”
“Well I suppose so . . .”
“Why not? I mean, appearances can be deceiving.”
“Wait,” spoke up the Hogwarts Keeper. “We don’t have to fight Laurie, do we?”
“I don’t think so . . .” said Harry, not quite sure himself.
The others gave a sigh of relief. At least they wouldn’t be up against her magic. Of course, none of them had seen her for a couple years, but even so, it wouldn’t do to mess with her. Especially after The Incident. They all sighed again; no, it wouldn’t do any good to repeat that. But these strange peoples couldn’t possibly be like her.
“Okay, who’s going first?” a beater asked Dumbledore, who was standing watching the team in slight amusement. “I mean, are we fighting them one at a time, or all at once?”
“Wait!” Hermione gasped, running up to the team, Ron not far behind. “I know who they are!”
“Hermione . . . and . . . I . . .” Ron said jerkily, coming beside her. “Took a trip to the library, but they weren’t there, the book was checked out, or something like that – but I don’t think the librarian had heard of it – but Hermione had it anyway!”
“What are you talking about?” asked Harry. “Come on, spit it out.”
“The other Quidditch team,” said Hermione. “Laurie’s friends – the one’s who aren’t from New Zealand.”
“We found out where their from. It was right in front of my face the whole time! I can’t believe I didn’t see it!” She gushed in excitement, and a little in fear.
“Well, who are they?”
“They are the Fellowship of the Ring!”
This statement didn’t cause the expected reaction from any of them – Dumbledore had never heard of Tolkien, and Harry, who was the only one other than Hermione to grow up with a muggle [non-magic] hadn’t read The Lord of the Rings. “What?”
“Crikey, haven’t you heard of them? They are – “
“Miss Granger?” Merry asked, coming innocently up behind them. “Mr. Weasley? Miss Laurie wants a word with you. I don’t know what about, but she said to hurry!”
Tobias wandered aimlessly in the Rowan-trees, waiting. If he knew the books as well as he believed, Frodo would be coming by soon. He wondered in amusement what the rest of the New Zealand Quidditch team was doing. He silently laughed at their stupidity and ignorance. Boromir would die for the Ring’s sake soon, he knew. Why should not another get it? One very trusted . . . or at least become a great hero the oblivious Middle Earthen’s would never know had a certain uncanny precognition of events yet to come.
And Tobias always knew.
Dave and the rest of the new Zealand Quidditch team flew lazily in a northward direction, following the Great River to the Silverlode and then to Lórien. Dave was not worried about Tobias’s absence, for he had always been a very strange – though extraordinarily talented – player, and was likely to go off anytime. The odd part was, no matter how foreign and bizarre the area was, Tobias seemed to always know exactly where he was. Dave wondered vaguely if the seeker ever had gotten lost. He thought probably not.
“Look!” said one of the chasers, point below her. “At least someone lives around here. But look – all their houses are in trees!”
“Weird,” Dave said, but headed down anyway. It couldn’t hurt – and those people must be wizards from the way they dwelt. Maybe they would know where his Quidditch team had gotten lost to this time. If Tobias wouldn’t help his team find their way, that was.
Haldir stared up into the sky, contemplating whether it was time to go back yet. But he loved this – wait! what was that?
The elf knew exactly what it was. His eyes were sharp, and he understood many things. But children – human children! – flying in the sky was more than he had bargained for. Especially if they seemed to be riding brooms off all things. The Lady of the Wood had to know! Wait . . . were they landing?
Sorry if some of you think I’m rather cruel. The match just keeps being put off . . . Bwahahahaha!!!!!
Anyway, please comment! It really helps me get my parts out sooner. And, most of the time, cuts my maniacal laughter down to a manageable level.