One Shot! The palantir are being gathered and accounted for. One is missing. Gandalf leads an expedition into another world to get it. Takes place after the War of the Ring, but before the Exodus o...
This was a project for my Science Fiction and Fantasy english class at school. Since I liked the plot, and hated the fact that we were only allowed three pages (grrr... three pages... grrr) I expanded it. And here it is.
The kayak sliced cleanly through the deep, indigo-blue waves. The bright yellow hull reflected across the surface of the water as the craft rocked gently from side to side, the powerful strokes steadily propelling the kayak across the lake. Kelsey peered up at the island ahead of her, shading blue-hazel eyes from the piercing glow of the afternoon sunlight. Coasting in to gently bump against a jutting rock, she swiftly tied the end of a long, sturdy rope to the kayak. The other end she threw onto the rock before climbing out and securing the rope to a near-by shrub.
Of average height, with brown hair that just barely brushed the tops of her shoulders, Kelsey grinned to herself as she took off her life jacket and slung it onto the rock. The red shone brilliantly against the gray-brown of the rock. Straightening, she picked out a small path leading around the edge of the island, following it to where it led to a small clearing.
Stopping short, she stared at the recent remains of a campfire. The hairs at the back of her neck began to prickle at the sight of the beer cans crushed nearby. There wasn't any way she knew of to get a boat tied up to here, unless they moored out where she had. Hardly daring to breathe, she froze, directing all of her concentration toward listening with all her might. When the telltale sound of rustling leaves didn't reach her ears, she relaxed slightly.
Kelsey blinked; staring hard at the small spot in the center of the campfire where a bit of silvery light had shone just a moment before. Creeping up closer, she shoved aside a partially charred block of wood. She sucked in her breath, eyes widening as she stared at the perfectly round stone glowing in the middle of the ash. How it hadn't been noticed - how it had been left behind, more like - was beyond her comprehension. "Ooh," she whispered, reaching out with one hand to scoop it up out of the ash.
Her cry of pain rang out through the trees, making several birds take flight. It was a long way home.
The light of the dying sun shone in through the window of the library in Imladris, illuminating dust particles swirling around the three people closeted inside. "Are you sure of this, Mithrandir?" The tall, blonde elf slung his bow over one shoulder as he spoke. "The Silmaril could be in any of the alternate dimensions created at the time of Melkor's trickery."
Gandalf, an old man clad in a white cloak, shook his head. "No, this is the one. We should arrive close to the Silmaril's location. We must be wary, however - who knows what could be lurking nearby. This is strange territory into which we are entering."
"I shall be ready!" Gimli, a short, bearded dwarf, brandished his ax. "Let it never be said that the Dwarves of the Misty Mountains were ill prepared for battle!"
"We do not want to get into a battle, Gimli," Gandalf admonished, brandishing his staff. "We must do this as quickly and quietly as possible."
Kelsey yawned widely, turning over and adjusting the blanket draped over her shoulders as she tilted the book toward the light, wincing as her bandaged hand stung painfully. No longer numb from it's submersion in ice-water, it had soon blistered over, leading her to wrap it firmly in bandages and hope her parents were feeling particularly cheerful when they got home from St. Lucia. Of all the idiotic things to happen...and the excuse that she hadn't realized the stone was still hot from the fire probably wouldn't cut it either. Her parents wouldn't be happy to know she'd traveled so far away in the kayak without them being there to supervise her.
Voices drifting up the stairs brought her out of her book with a start. Left the radio on again, she grumbled to herself, getting out of bed and walking down the stairs. She didn't bother turning on any lights, relying on touch to guide her safely through the house. Entering the family room, she shrieked as she ran into something solid.
There was a clear, hollow ring as her hardcover book bounced off Gimli's helm. Gandalf gave a sharp cry, the end of his staff lighting with a crack like a gunshot. Kelsey flinched, stiffening as the room came into sudden relief. She stared fixedly at the arrow aimed right between her eyes. Eyes impossibly wide, she clutched her book to her chest. Mad ax murderers! She thought, panicking. How did they get inside my house!
"It's just a lass," the bearded dwarf she'd whapped with her book rumbled, shoving his ax back through his belt. The elf relaxed his grip on his bow.
"Lass, a light, if you please?" Gandalf waited for her to sidle over to flick the light switch before extinguishing his staff, leaning upon it wearily. My last task before I leave to go over the seas, he thought, watching as Kelsey stared at the three of them, obviously too scared to do much else. Doubtless he would find this amusing once this venture of his was over. I shall be glad when my time has come. "Lass, we are not going to eat you," he chuckled gently as she tried to inconspicuously back toward the kitchen.
"Wh-why are you here?" she asked. "I-I mean...go ahead, take what you need! I'll just be...upstairs...yes, upstairs...um..." she backed away toward the door slowly.
"Wait, lass," Gimli took a step toward her, and she flinched slightly. "Do ye have a name?"
"Er...yes." At the brief silence, her brain kick-started itself back into action. "I mean, yes, of course, it's Kelsey." There was another silence. "Uh...do you? Have a name, that is?"
"Yes, of course. Gimli, son of Gloin, at your service." The corners of her mouth twitched upward at his bow.
"Kelsey Mindal, at yours, and your families," she bowed awkwardly back. "Hold on," she peered closely at him, the blood draining from her face. "Gimli? THE Gimli? One of the nine companions of Frodo the nine-fingered, bearer of the one ring of power?" Her eyes widened again. Gandalf shot her a sharp look.
"Goodness gracious me. Mithrandir!" she gasped, before her eyes rolled backwards into her head and she collapsed on the floor in a dead faint.
"Excitable little fellow, isn't she?" Gimli grunted as he lifted her from the floor, laying her on the couch. "Very well informed, however."
Kelsey glanced around herself as she led Gandalf into the Essex School Library. "This is the largest High School in the state of Vermont," she informed Gandalf in a hushed voice as she led them between two metal posts. "What are those?" Gandalf gestured to the white posts.
"Oh, that's the alarm system, to make sure nobody steals any of the books." She waved to an energetic, gray-haired woman sitting at the computer across the counter. "Hey, Mrs. Maclintoc," she called. The woman waved back with a greeting.
"Hello, Kelsey. Who is your friend?"
"Oh, he's my...great-uncle. Mrs. Maclintoc, meet Great-Uncle Algie," Kelsey announced, coloring slightly. "He...he came up from Massachusetts to stay for while mom and dad are away."
"Well that's nice. Enjoying the weather?"
"Greatly," Gandalf nodded sagely. When they had continued on, Gandalf gave Kelsey an amused look, taking in her now brilliantly pink face. "Hello, great-niece."
Kelsey mock-scowled for a moment. "Oh, brother," she muttered. "I couldn't think of anything better...why did I have to call you Algie? Of all names...you'd think I'd be able to come up with something better."
"I can see nothing wrong with it."
"Yeah, well, I can't imagine anybody being name after a pondweed, can you?" Kelsey shook her head slightly. "Ah, well, nothing I can do about it now. Anyway, over there's the smart lab - that's where the computer programming classes are taken. More technology," she clarified at Gandalf's blank look. "The bookshelves are arranged in alphabetical order...and we want T."
"For Tolkien. J.R.R. Tolkien to be exact. He was...rather a scholar about your world."
She steered him into the right section and pulled out The Silmarillion. "Well, I've read all these, but the only mention I ever found of the Silmaril's was in this book - The Silmarillion. Exceedingly dull, if you ask me. It requires more patience than I have at the moment to read it over again, but," she flipped to a certain chapter, "everything on the Silmaril's are in this chapter. 'Concerning the Silmarils.' Handy, eh?"
"Very." He took it from Kelsey, who sat down to wait with her back resting against the bookshelves.
Kelsey took out the rock she'd found, opening her red bandana and letting the stone roll out onto her bedspread. Reaching out with a bandaged hand, she picked it up. It was still extremely warm - close to unbearably hot, even through the thick cushioning of the bandage. Holding this rock felt like holding a miniature sun in the bottom of her hand. She squinted down at the surface. Her mind was made up. This was the stone Gandalf had come for. This was the lost Silmaril, crafted by Feanor ages past. Thinking about it, however, she couldn't decide whether she really wanted to give it back. It was so beautiful...and hadn't she been the one to find it on the island?
She shook her head slightly to clear it. Of course it wasn't hers to keep. She didn't even know whether it was the Silmaril. If it were, she'd of course have to give it back. The tense, almost sick feeling in the pit of her stomach disappeared instantly with her decision. Of course she would give it back. It was the only way.
A poem rose, unbidden, to her mind as she stared into the gleaming surface. A rock of faith to lean upon/ when the storms come crashing down/ faith to drive the wanderer/ his plodding steps go round and round/ will the weary rest his feet?/ Will the ground come up to meet?/ A tale to tell/ a song to sing/ providing hope to kin and ken/ strength to ground into the earth/ fantasy's of flight take birth/ and still the blank refrain repeats/ a rock of faith/ a storm to come/ winds and tides that swirl around/ dragging hearts and pulling down/ weathering the stone to sand/ but from the ashes shall expand/ a brilliant glow/ a wondrous light/ the seed of faith has passed this night.
Gandalf's sharp eyes focused immediately on Kelsey's face as soon as he saw what she was carrying. "I think this is it. The Silmaril, I mean," she handed it to him, still incased in it's red bandana. "Careful, it's really hot."
"Really," he stated, voice indecipherable.
"Uh, yeah," she shuffled her feet slightly. "Like holding a miniature sun."
"Thank you," he took the bandana from it, slipping it inside another big of cloth and putting it into his pocket. As if summoned by a thought, Gimli and Legolas appeared as well. "We must leave. We have stayed here for too long already."
Kelsey watched curiously as he quickly built up a gate. Legolas and Gimli went through first, but Gandalf stayed for a moment. "I thank you again," he said solemnly. "Your coming upon the Silmaril was not by chance."
"You mean, it was fated to come to me, so that I could give it to you?" Kelsey asked, brow furrowing as she looked up at Gandalf. "I don't believe in fate."
He raised an eyebrow. "Do you not?"
"No," she shook her head. "We make our own destiny, depending on the choices we make in life. There is no predestination involved. It must have just been a lucky coincidence. Besides, why would it choose to come to me?"
Gandalf stared at her for a long moment, until she began to feel uncomfortable under his gaze. "Even the little people have their own part to play. I do not believe in lucky coincidences. Ours was no chance meeting," he smiled suddenly. "Fare thee well, Kelsey."
"Goodbye, Mithrandir," Kelsey said solemnly, watching as he stepped through the portal and was gone. A beam of brilliant light shone through the place where the portal had been, and a moment later, a brilliantly lit sphere rolled out. The light coming from it dimmed as it rolled to rest at her feet. Tentatively, Kelsey reached down and picked it up, pocketing it. Perhaps there was such a thing as fate after all.