The living room was silent as the girls sat crowded together on the old sofa, eyes intent on the movie playing on the screen of the medium sized television. Neither had ever seen The Lord of The Rings, and despite the fact that normally they’d have gotten chick flicks for a night out bitching the men in their lives, they’d decided that they’d prefer to watch a movie with hunks that included Orlando Bloom, Sean Bean, Viggo and all the other countless cuties.
“You realize that Gandalf is hot in his own way.” Lois laughed as they waited for Chloe to return from the kitchen with popcorn and extra chocolate from the secret stash in the pantry.
Lana giggled. She never would have thought that she’d make such good friends with the other girl, and yet she had. She enjoyed the utterly unthinkable things the golden blonde said daily. “I should dump Jason more often. I haven’t had this much fun in years.”
“You haven’t known me in years.” The taller of the two announced quite egotistically, but there was a teasing smile on her lips. “Anyway, if you had I would have helped refine your taste in men. I mean, honestly, Smallville and Teague? You’ve got to agree with me on this.”
Chloe returned, saving Lana from answering. The blonde passed her friend and cousin their plates of popcorn. “Here you go guys.” She didn’t know what was more pathetic, that she was the only one of the three who wasn’t suffering from a broken heart because she didn’t have a boyfriend—or that she was quite resentful of said fact.
Lois unpaused the movie and they watched as Frodo and Sam headed out with the ring, only to meet up with Merry and Pippin along the way.
Finally they came to the scene in the Prancing Pony where Aragorn “Strider” is introduced.
“What I wouldn’t do to have him staring at me like that.” Lois announced with a shiver.
Lana threw her head back and laughed, and when she finally stopped, she had to admit that she agreed with the statement.
Chloe smirked, watching them with glee. She had to admit, Strider watching her with lust-filled eyes was quite a turn-on.
She watched as Aragorn fight off the Nazgul single-handedly, and sighed, smirk turning into a dreamy smile. What full-blooded woman wouldn’t be aroused by a hunk who could wield a sword?
The only sound heard was that of popcorn crunching as they watched with intent. What better way to forget Clark, Oliver, Jason and that hardheaded Lex…than to watch the Fellowship of the Ring get together and argue over what should happen to the ring?
“Nothing nicer than hot, angry, sweaty men.”
Chloe choked on her popcorn, meeting Lana’s laughing gaze. “Lois? Oliver hasn’t been neglecting you, has he?”
Lois looked up, surprised. “What do you mean?”
“I know you’re angry and dumped him because you think he’s keeping secrets from you.” Chloe announced slowly. “But, from the quite heated comments you’ve been making throughout this movie, I’m starting to wonder if he hasn’t been neglecting your womanly needs.”
If it were possible, Lois blushed. “Um, well, you see…”
Lana looked on with interest. Lois blushing? “He has, hasn’t he?”
She frowned, obviously not liking where this conversation was going. “Let’s get back on with the movie.”
Chloe turned to look at the television and frowned when she realized that there was a glass of green drink resting on top of it. “Who’s drink is on my television?”
“Mine.” Lois replied off-handedly. “It’s supposed to be some organic Smallville creation. Says everything in it is grown right here. Thought I’d try it out.”
She frowned. Green and made in Smallville? That didn’t sound promising. “You haven’t drunk any yet, have you?”
“Nah. I forgot about it actually.” Getting up, Lois stretched and headed towards it. “The ice has probably melted already and made it watery.” She reached for the drink as the Fellowship continued to argue as to what to do with the ring. She paused. “Then again, the elf isn’t half bad. Maybe even cuter than Strider in my books, and if I remember right from the commercial I saw, he uses a bow. Bows are hot.”
Chloe rolled her eyes. What was it with Lois and blonde archers?
Lana seemed to be thinking it over. “Yes, he’s nice. But I think that Steward guy is actually nicer.”
Once again, Chloe rolled her eyes. “Figures. You always like Sean Bean, no matter who he plays.”
Lana blushed in the manner that had all the males in Smallville gaga.
“Boy he’s a pessimist.” Lois muttered as Boromir listed all the cons to going to Mordor.
They watched as the others began to rally with Frodo as the Fellowship was born.
Lois reached for the drink, yet it tripped and fell, the drink bathing the television. There was a spark as the TV went up in flames, the room shook, the ground trembled, and before Lois could cry out, the television exploded, and everything was dark.
There were whispers around them. Lois groaned and pushed up slowly. The light was blinding—which made no sense considering that it was currently night. Her vision cleared, and she realized that she was sprawled on the ground, and that Chloe and Lana were still sprawled around her, unconscious.
“Chlo? Lana?” She cried, trying to move towards them but her body hurt too much.
“Who are you three?” A tense voice asked. “And what business do you have in Rivendell?”
She looked up and nearly fainted as the cast of the Lord of the Rings stood in a semi circle around them, watching them with mistrust and misgivings.
“I must have hit my head really hard with the explosion.” She announced, sitting up and looking at them.
“You haven’t answered my question, human.” Lord Elrond announced in that stuffy way of his.
“Well, why should I?” Lois wanted to know. She was sure that this was a dream, or that she was in a coma, so why not enjoy it? “I’m injured, sprawled on the ground in a very uncomfortable position and all you do is question me? Gentlemen my ass.”
“Forgive us, my lady.” The voice was to her right, and she smiled up at Aragorn as he helped her to her feet. “We—it is times of much danger, and your friends and yourself did appear out of nowhere in the middle of our meeting.”
“This is more like it.” She made a face at Legolas, who was watching her in silent interest yet doing nothing else. “I take it back.” She told him quite angrily. “Strider is way better looking than you.” Turning her attention away from the surprised elf, she hurried to Chloe and Lana’s side, her body still in pain, yet diminishing rapidly, like a headache.
On her knees once more, she ignored the men, dwarves, hobbits and elves, trying to concentrate on getting her friends to awaken. “Chloe? Lana? Please wake up. God, I’ll never buy anything made in Smallville again. I swear.”
“Do you think we should throw some water on them?” A voice asked. “It always works in the Shire.”
“Quiet Pip.” Another hissed.
Chloe groaned and opened her eyes, they looked into Lois’ in confusion, and they widened when she realized where they were. “Oh God.” She moaned.
“Chloe!” Lois hugged her close.
“Lois. Can’t. Breathe.” Chloe muttered, inhaling when her cousin pulled away. Her mossy green eyes looked at the men around her and she sighed in resignation. “We’re in the movie. Aren’t we?”
“Should I be more concerned at the fact that we’re in a movie, or that you don’t seem at all unnerved by the fact?” Lois asked.
But Lana groaning caught their attention. She opened her hazel eyes, saw Boromir, and gave a little scream—and not of pleasure. She mustn’t have felt the same pain Lois and Chloe had when first awakening because she easily pushed herself away, as if trying to get away from him. She backed into the wall, looking horrified. “Wake up Lana. Wake up. Wake UP!”
“I thought you liked him.” Lois said more to herself.
Lana’s gaze, which had been fully on Boromir, landed on Lois and Chloe. She gave a cry of relief and hurled herself at them. “Where are we?”
Lord Elrond opened his mouth to speak.
“Rivendell.” Lois cut him off.
“Middle Earth Rivendell?” Lana squeaked.
“Yep.” Chloe nodded.
Lana looked at her in horror. “Why aren’t you even surprised?”
“My thoughts exactly.” Lois muttered.
By now the Fellowship were enthralled, although Lord Elrond was quite put out at the fact that they were being ignored. They listened as the girls argued amongst themselves about a place called ‘Smallville’ and how it shouldn’t be so weird that they were there after all the other things they’d had to go through.
Finally, Lois remembered where they were, and stood once more, pain gone. “I am Lois Lane.” She announced, assuming the role of leader. “This is my cousin, Chloe Sullivan, and our friend, Lana Lang.” Each girl stood as their names were said. “We, um, we’re from Smallville, and an accident happened while we were watching Lor—you people. Next thing we knew, we were here.”
Elrond felt no lie in what was said, and it only caused his curiosity to pique even more. “Lois, daughter of Lane, Chloe, daughter of Sullivan, and Lana, daughter of Lang, we welcome you to Rivendell.”
Chloe opened her mouth to explain that their fathers were not named that, but then closed her mouth, deciding that she’d have to give a long and lengthy explanation, and didn’t feel up to it.
Lana just looked on, eyes wide.
“What do you mean, you were watching us?” A tall man with a bushy beard asked in a kindly voice.
Lois turned to him. “Well Gandalf, in our world we have these boxes that—um—well--.” She turned to Chloe. “Do they have anything like televisions here?”
“How should I know?” Chloe asked.
She sniffed, realizing that her cousin wouldn’t be of much help. “Gandalf.” She said again. “We have boxes that show us things.”
“Like oracles?” Aragorn asked, obviously intrigued by their story.
“Brawn and brain.” Lois announced happily, smiling at the Ranger. “Well, we were watching your story—up till this point—and I spilt—well. It doesn’t matter how I did it but the bottom line is that I screwed it up and we’re here. End of story.”
Lana, feeling braver, snuck a glance at Boromir, blushing and looking away rapidly when she realized that he was still watching her.
“Then it is decided.” Lord Elrond announced.
“It is?” Lana squeaked.
“Huh?” Lois asked.
“What is?” Chloe wanted to know, eyes narrowed in suspicion.
“An oracle is never mistaken. They are vast and ancient wisdoms, and if you were able to see us, if you were sent here at this exact moment, then it was meant to happen.” The elf announced. “You are now a part of the Fellowship of the Ring.”
Lana’s eyes widened. “But—but…”
Chloe slapped her face and groaned.
“Oh no you don’t.” Lois growled, stalking up to the Elvin Lord and poking him viciously in the chest. “I am not going to Mordor with the path filled with Ringwraiths, Orcs, and other monstrosities because I spilt a stupid drink on Chloe’s stupid television!”
“Hey!” Chloe announced, pulling away her hand from her face. “My television is not stupid!”
“So not the point here, Chloe!” Lois shot back, eyes never leaving Elrond’s. “I refuse” she returned to the poking “to let you put my friends and I in harms way while you sit safely on your ass here in Rivendell!”
“Do all females from your land speak so out of line?” Legolas asked disapprovingly, eyebrow raised. “He is Lord Elrond and deserves your respect and humility.”
“Oh, don’t get me started with you.” Lois at her wits end, pushed past Lord Elrond and stormed at the blonde elf. “When I want some advice from a powder-puff, wig-wearing Orlando Bloom, THEN I’ll ask your opinion.”
“Who’s Orlando Bloom?” Pippin asked Merry softly.
“Probably a fairy with a name like Bloom.” His cousin answered.
Chloe smiled at the hobbits, before turning to Lois. “Lo, leave Legolas alone. If you hurt him we’ll be a body guard short.”
Legolas looked offended that Chloe could think a woman could hurt him. Although, afterwards when he’d get to know Lois better while on the quest, he even managed to thank Chloe for her intervention.
“Bodyguard?” Lois asked incredulously, turning on her cousin. “You can’t actually be considering going? Did you see the commercials for this movie?”
Lana had, and she paled at the memory. “Lois has a point there.”
Chloe shook them off. “Lord Elrond is right.”
And he seemed quite pleased that at least one of them was admitting it.
“We were brought here for a reason.” Chloe continued. “And if you two don’t want to go, then fine. I’m going to go and help Frodo the best I can.”
Lana looked the other way.
Lois growled. “You’re playing dirty.” She sighed, running her fingers through her hair. “Fine. I’m coming. I don’t trust these guys to take care of you.” She smiled up at Aragorn. “Other than Strider of course.”
Legolas snorted with indignity.
She ignored him and continued smiling at Aragorn.
Lana paled. “You’re not leaving me here!”
“Good. Then it’s settled.” Lord Elrond announced. “Twelve companions.” He looked them over, quite pleased with getting his way. “You shall be the Fellowship of the Ring.”
They journeyed from Rivendell, and each place they passed the scenery was more beautiful than the last. They climbed up to the mountains, heading towards the Gap of Rohan. It was easy walking for the girls, who had all had some adventure or the other, and when time came to camp, they did so without aching muscles.
Lana sat between Frodo and Sam, watching Boromir teaching Pippin and Merry to swordfight. A soft smile touched her beautiful face as she sighed and leaned her chin against her fist, eyes following the Steward of Gondor’s every move. She had yet to speak to him, yet couldn’t seem to keep her eyes off of him.
Chloe sat next to Gimli and Gandalf. She frowned as she overheard their conversation, wondering why Gandalf wouldn’t want to cut the journey shorter by going through Moria, especially since Gimli was so sure they’d have a warm, royal welcome from his kinsfolk.
Lois was near Aragorn. Both had seemed to really hit it off, yet for some reason she seemed to enjoy rattling Legolas. It was she who noticed Legolas hurrying to get a better view of something.
The others watched in amusement as Merry and Pipin jumped on Boromir and wrestled him to the ground.
Lois, however, stood, and silently went next to Legolas. She noticed something dark in the sky. “What is that?”
Legolas turned to look at her in surprise.
“Nothing.” Gimli announced from where he stood. “It’s just a wisp of cloud.”
By now the other’s attention had been diverted to their conversation.
Boromir stood, eyes narrowing as he looked at what they were watching. “It’s moving fast.” His frown darkened. “Against the wind.”
Legolas returned his gaze to the sky and he paled. “Crebain from Dunland!”
“Whosebeen from whatland?” Lois wanted to know, looking at him as if he were insane.
“Hide!” Aragorn ordered.
Lois frowned. That wasn’t the kind of brave thing she’d expected to hear from him.
“Hurry!” Boromir seconded, urging the hobbits on.
“And these are our brave defenders?” Lois asked herself before turning to Legolas. “Please don’t start screaming like a little girl or I swear I’ll…” Yet she yelped when he grabbed her arm and pulled her to the safety of the rocks. He pushed her under a crevice and slid in with her, hiding her body with his own.
They looked up as a flock of what Lois swore were only crows flew ahead of them before flying off. Everyone waited until they were gone before coming out.
“Spies of Saruman.” Gandalf explained as Aragorn helped Chloe from her hiding place. “The passage south is being watched.”
“Isn’t that our path?” Chloe wanted to know.
“This can’t be good.” The blonde girl announced.
“So what do we do now?” Lana whispered from where she was standing next to Sam and Frodo.
Gandalf looked up at the snow-filled mountains. “We must take the Pass of Caradhras.”
Trudging through the snow was not something Lois enjoyed. Quite put out with both Boromir and her dear Strider for their attitude towards the whosebeens from whatland, she’d decided to take her place next to Legolas, for while he wasn’t the person on the top of her list, at least he hadn’t acted like a coward and screamed for retreat.
No. He’d taken care of her much against her will…and pressed his body against yours… She blushed, realizing where her thoughts were leading. Maybe Chloe’s right and Oliver had me sexually starved. Then again, she tilted her head and admired the elf from behind as he walked with assurance. Nice ass.
“Mirkwood.” She called.
He turned to look at her with a raised eyebrow before continuing walking.
“How is it that you’re feet don’t sink into the snow like ours does?”
“You’re heavier.” Came his nonchalant answer.
She stopped, mouth open, before she closed her mouth and narrowed her eyes. “Excuse me?”
He moved on, oblivious to his impending danger.
Growling, she looked around her and stooped down, grabbing a handful of snow before making it into a ball and throwing it at the back of his head with all of her might. It hit him hard, and he turned to look at her with incredulity.
“That is for calling me fat!” She huffed, pushing past him and walking with her head held high.
Someone cried out behind them.
Lois turned and frowned when she saw Strider helping Frodo up from where he’d fallen. The guy was a weakling, honestly, they hadn’t even walked that much!
Frodo looked for something around his neck.
Boromir bent and picked up the chain with the ring.
Aragorn frowned. “Boromir.”
“It is a strange fate that we should suffer so much fear and doubt…” Boromir said mostly to himself, gazing at the ring as if in trance. “…over so small a thing.”
The silence was palpable as Boromir continued to look at the ring, mumbling to himself.
Chloe seemed to get enough of it. She stomped over to Boromir, snatched the chain away from him and took it back to Frodo. “Here you go, little guy.” She gave Boromir a mistrustful glare as walked passed him once more.
“He was going to give him back the ring.” Lana hissed to her as they continued walking.
“He reminds me too much of Lex.” Chloe hissed back.
“But Lex helped you!” Lana replied. “He saved your life!”
Chloe sighed and looked away. “Only because I was useful to him. He needed me to put his father behind bars so Lex could have the company for himself. He never cared about me, only what good I could do for him.”
Her voice was heartbroken.
Lana, noticing this, decided to remain quiet, as did the rest of the Fellowship.
Soon a blizzard started. The snow grew until they were trudging through waist-high snow. All except Legolas of course, who continued walking above it as if nothing. Lois frowned at him. Damn Elf.
He stood before them, Elvin eyes scanning the territory. “There is a foul voice in the air.”
“It’s Saruman!” Gandalf cried out in a loud voice, causing an avalanche of snow and rocks to fall from above them.
Lana cried out as a stone fell towards her. Yet strong arms yanked her out of harms way. She smiled up thankfully at Boromir.
Lois turned to Gandalf. “What the hell is wrong with you?” She cursed. “We’re on a mountain top! I don’t care WHOSE voice blondie hears, you shut up and stop causing avalanches!”
“It wasn’t him.” Aragorn argued. “Saruman’s trying to bring down the mountain.” He turned to Gandalf. “We must turn back!”
“No!” Gandalf shook his head, pressing forwards, chanting words into the air, obviously having a verbal dual with this Saruman character.
“Men and their egos.” Lois muttered to herself.
Legolas looked up and pushed Lois against the wall of the mountain. Pressing his body against hers and hiding his face in the crook of her neck.
Lois was about to push him off, give him a slap, and call him a pervert. But suddenly the mountain shook and an avalanche greater than the one before descended upon them and she realized that he’d sensed it and was…protecting her with his body.
That’s the second time he’s done that.
She didn’t have time to contemplate that as they were covered with snow. For a moment everything was white and her friends had disappeared, and then they pushed out, seeking air.
“We must get off the mountain!” Boromir told Gandalf as he helped Lana up.
Yep. He’s a brave one. Lois thought sarcastically, never realizing that Legolas had pushed away and was looking around them once more, as if searching for another attack.
“We must make for the Gap of Rohan, and take the west road to my city!” Boromir continued.
“The Gap of Rohan takes us too close to Isengard!” Aragorn responded.
Lana blanched. “Isn’t that the place where Saruman and the Orcs are concentrated?” Seeing Strider nod, she turned to Boromir. “We are not taking that route!”
He seemed about to stress his point, but sighed and nodded defeat.
“We cannot pass over a mountain.” Gimli shouted over the wind. “Let us go under it.” He continued. “Let us go through the Mines of Moria.”
Chloe frowned, remembering that Gandalf had said that he didn’t want to go through Moria, and Gandalf didn’t seem to be one to play around. So if he didn’t want to go through the mines, there was probably a very good reason. And if he still wanted to face the blizzard instead of the mines, then she for one was with him.
Gandalf was silent for a moment. “Let the Ring-bearer decide.” He looked at the hobbit in question. “Frodo?”
The hobbit in question was silent. “We will go through the mines.”
“So be it.”
Was Chloe the only one who shivered at the way he said those three ominous words?
Gandalf still couldn’t figure out how to open the door. At first he’d acted as if only a week-old child wouldn’t be able to, but a half-hour later he still stood with Frodo trying to get the blasted door open.
“What’s it like in your world, miss?” Pippin asked Lana. All four hobbits seemed quite in love with her, trailing around her, asking her if she needed any help, and of course Lana was quite oblivious to the fact.
“Well, we don’t have orcs or hobbits or wizards.” Lana announced, counting them off on her fingers. “We have people, and dwarves—but not like Gimli.”
Gimli was reluctantly interested. “Not like me?”
She blushed prettily. “Yes, they are more like, um, a crossbreed between humans a dwarves. They are short—but not so hairy.”
The dwarf frowned and moved away, obviously insulted.
Chloe sat by Aragorn and Boromir, trying to explain to them what a computer was and how she used it to ‘hack’ into companies (coughLuthorCorpcough) database for information. Both men listened to her with interest, yet for the life of her she couldn’t get them to understand the difference between technology and magic.
“No, no.” She announced. “EVERYONE can use a computer. We don’t have wizards where we come from.” She frowned. “Unless you count Harry Potter of course.”
Boromir tilted his head to the side. “Is this Harry son of Potter a friend of yours?”
“Technically.” The blonde smiled up at them and nodded. “You could say that I’ve known him since he was eleven.”
Lois snorted and looked back at Frodo and Gandalf, who still couldn’t get the door to open. She never noticed the elf leaning against the wall watching her with intent silence.
“Speak Friend And Enter.” Gandalf repeated the Elvin writing on the door over and over again. “What am I not getting?”
“Maybe it’s a riddle?” Frodo asked.
“Then it’s easy.” Lois snorted. Seeing both men look at her in surprise, she sighed. “If Chloe had been paying attention to this she’d have told you the answer long ago. She’s an expert in riddles, word games and puzzles.” The golden blonde frowned. “I just barely limp along. She beats me at Scrabble every time.” Her frown deepened. “It’s not like it was my fault that some words aren’t spelt the way they’re pronounced!”
Realizing that they were still waiting for her answer, Lois cleared her throat. “What’s the Elvish word for friend?”
“Mellon.” A voice said behind her.
She turned to find Legolas a breath away, and for a second, she didn’t notice the door opening.
They entered the darkness within, while Gimli proudly began to boast of the glorious welcome they’d receive from his kinsfolk. He continued to prattle proudly, never noticing what Lana had the moment they’d entered. That the mine smelt of death, and that carcasses covered the floor.
She gave a scream.
Only then did the rest of the dwarf of the Fellowship notice the massacre around them. “No!” He cried out.
They heard a noise.
“Goblins!” Legolas warned, reaching for his bow and arrows.
“We make for the Gap of Rohan.” Boromir told Aragorn, as if he were one who’d brought them here. “We should never have come here.”
They hurried to leave when suddenly Frodo cried out.
Lois turned in time to see a tentacle reach out from the depth of the water and grab the hobbit by his feet, dragging him towards the edge of the water. The hobbits hurried towards the large tentacle with their tiny swords.
“Strider!” Lana screamed, noticing their plight before the warriors.
Aragorn turned and hurried towards them, as did Boromir and Legolas.
Lois felt useless. She couldn’t do anything to help. Sure, in Smallville she’d been attacked by meteor freaks, but they weren’t anything like what they faced here.
Somehow Aragorn and the others managed to free Frodo and they hurried back into the mines, the door collapsing behind them, blocking their means of escape.
“Why don’t I feel any safer in here?” Chloe muttered to herself somewhere to Lois’ left.
“We now have but one choice.” Gandalf sighed, a bright light appearing at the tip of his staff. “We must face the long dark of Moria.” He turned to Legolas. “Be on your guard.” He began leading the way. “There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.”
Lois took in a deep breath and stood between Gimli and Legolas, while Chloe and Lana stayed in the back of the group with Aragorn and Boromir. Lois didn’t know why they felt safer with them. She knew from experience that Legolas would protect her, and she knew that Gimli was enraged and would seek revenge for the massacre of his cousin’s people. So she knew for a fact that she’d be safer between both.
Not that she was a damsel in distress or anything.
“Mirkwood.” She whispered.
He stopped and turned to look at her in silence.
“When we’re out of Moria,” she hesitated, hating herself for asking. “will you teach me to use the bow and arrow? I hate having to rely on others for my own safety, but fists and kicks can only get you so far around here, you know?”
He watched her silently before a small smile appeared on his face. “It shall be amusing.” Turning, he continued walking.
She frowned, wondering if that had been a yes or a no.
“Quietly now.” Gandalf warned from in front. “It’s a four-day journey to the other side.” His voice was eerily raspy. “Let us hope that our presence may go unnoticed.”
While Lois had never been Miss California Sunshine, four days in total darkness was getting to her. They’d rested little and walked much, and drank no water. And then Gandalf went and got them lost.
She frowned as Gandalf and Frodo spoke in whispers, looking down below them as if at something. Those two sometimes acted as if they were the only important members of the Fellowship and thus allowed to keep secrets from the rest, and that didn’t bode well with Lois. But she only kept her peace because Chloe seemed to like the old man, and since Chloe didn’t like a lot of people, it meant that Gandalf truly was someone they needed on their side.
Along the way, Lois had picked up a sword from one of the fallen dwarves. It was heavy and bulky, and hard to carry but she felt it was better to have some sort of protection in case their presence in Moria was detected before they could escape.
Chloe had done the same, although she’d picked a spear. While it was longer it proved to be lighter and easier to carry.
Lana had tried, but couldn’t find any weapon she could hold for long periods of time, and in the end had continued weaponless.
Since Boromir wasn’t the highest in her books, and was busy teaching the hobbits how to use their swords, Lois had turned to Aragorn during their stay in the mines. He was efficient in both archery and swordsmanship, and so when he’d offered his tutelage she’d rapidly agreed. Chloe even joined in, and both learnt the basics of their weapons, enough to keep them alive.
Aragorn promised to give them better tutelage once they were out of the mines and didn’t have to fear making noise.
“You show some knowledge of the sword.” Aragorn told Chloe when he’d told her that it would be easier for her to use a sword and she had.
The blonde blushed and looked away. “I—I might have had some practice.”
Lois looked up in surprise. “You did? When?”
Chloe wouldn’t meet her gaze. “When I was with Lex.” She sighed. “There wasn’t much to do while hiding, and since he was a master mensur he taught me some.”
Lois frowned. Once again she got the vibe that there’d been something more than friendship between her cousin and the devil’s son, yet she didn’t comment on it. If Chloe wanted to tell her, then she would, in her own good time.
“You’re betrothed has taught you well.” Aragorn announced.
Chloe blushed. “No, no! Lex and I aren’t even going out!” Seeing the confusion on Aragorn’s face, the blonde explained how she’d worked with Lex to put his father behind bars, and how Lex had taken care of her when Lionel tried to have her killed.
“He must love you.” Aragorn said softly. “To have protected you against his father.”
“No! Haven’t you been listening?” Chloe asked. “He just took care of me to make sure I was alive to testify against his father! It had nothing to do with his personal feelings!”
“I do not know.” Strider said, not meeting her gaze. “I may not know Lex son of Lionel, but what he did while you were together for those months—it sounds like what we call courting here in Middle Earth.”
Chloe frowned. “Well, why court me and then leave me all alone after he got what he wanted? Huh?”
Lois could feel the pain in her voice, and her heart went out to her cousin.
“To protect you.” Aragorn said confidently. “He realized that if anyone believed that he loved you you’d be in danger, even if his father was away. I’m sure that a man like that would have influence on the outside world. He’d want revenge on both of you—but especially his son—and why not do so by hurting the woman his son loved?”
Chloe gulped loudly. “But he doesn’t love me.” She whispered, voice choked.
Aragorn smiled sadly. “I believe he does.”
“Oh!” Gandalf was heard exclaiming. “It’s that way!”
Everyone turned to him in surprise.
Merry looked away from Lana. Once again, Pippin, Sam and himself had seated themselves around her, listening to her speak of Smallville, enchanted by her beauty.
The hobbit smiled as they all stood. “He’s remembered.”
“No.” Gandalf’s voice replied as he began leading them in the right direction. “But the air doesn’t smell so foul down here.” He stopped momentarily to put back on his hat. “If in doubt, Meriadoc, always follow your nose.”
“ Such sage advice, Yoda.” Lois smirked as they continued on in their journey.
The continued walking for around an hour before Gandalf led them into a room filled with giant pillars. “Let me risk a little more light.” He said to himself. “Behold, the great realm and Dwarf-city of Dwarrowdelf.”
Everyone beheld the majesty of the room in awed silence.
“Gimli, your people really know how to make under the ground look beautiful.” Chloe told him in an awed whisper.
He smiled up at her, yet noticed something and cried out, running in that direction.
“Gimli!” Gandalf called after him.
The dwarf ran through wooden doors and sank to his knees besides a tomb, crying. Gandalf read the dwarf inscription, and Lois gasped when she realized that it was the tomb of Balin, the cousin Gimli always spoke of.
Chloe fell to her knees and held onto Gimli as he cried.
Lana cried against Boromir’s chest.
“We must move on.” Legolas whispered to Aragorn. “We cannot linger.”
Lois shot him a disapproving glance. Couldn’t he see that Gimli still hadn’t stopped crying?
Gandalf began to read from a book of records, recounting the massacre. “They have taken the bride and the second hall.”
Gimli looked up at Gandalf through his tears.
“We have barred the gates.” Gandalf continued reading. “But cannot hold them for long. The ground shakes. Drums…drums in the deep. We cannot get out. A shadow moves in the dark. We cannot get out. They are coming.”
Then there was the sound of crashing, as the body of a dead guard fell into the well behind him, and Pippin jumped away, a guilty yet fearful expression on his face as the body made loud and terrible noise as it fell through the well.
No one dared breathe, praying to all deities that for some reason all the evils hidden in Moria had suddenly gone deaf all at the same time and somehow hadn’t heard the confounded noise.
When it seemed as if their prayers had been answered, everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Everyone but Lana, Chloe and Lois, that is. They’d lived in Smallville long enough to know that the silence was always thickest before the storm.
“Fool of a Took.” Gandalf growled as he closed the book and glared at a frightened Pippin. “Throw yourself in next time and rid us of your stupidity.”
Lois glared at him. “There’s no need to be so harsh. None of us here are perfect, as your little shouting match with Saruman should remind you.” She hissed. Sure, her temper sometimes got the best of her and she might say things in the heat of the moment, but to tell a poor little fellow to commit suicide? That was too much!
The silence of Moria was disturbed, and suddenly the sounds of drums echoed faintly.
“Damn it.” Chloe whispered under her breath.
“Frodo!” Sam cried, noticing Frodo’s sword, Sting, glowing blue, which only meant one thing…
“Orcs!” Legolas exclaimed.
Boromir went to the door and barely missed getting shot with arrows.
“Get back!” Aragorn ordered the hobbits and the girls. “Stay close to Gandalf!”
Lois, not liking to be ordered, stepped in front, sword drawn, heart beating a mile per minute.
Between Aragorn and Boromir they managed to close the doors behind them, and barricade it.
“They have a cave troll.” Boromir announced.
Everyone drew their weapons.
“Let them come.” Gimli stood on his cousin’s tomb. “There is one Dwarf yet in Moria who still draws breath!”
Chloe came towards Lois, sword held, ready to stand in the front lines of the battle.
“No.” Lois shoved her back gently. “Take care of Lana and the hobbits.”
The blonde looked torn, but remembering that Lana didn’t have a weapon, she nodded and did as told.
Lois, returning to battle position, gulped. Yet when Aragorn and Legolas went to stand on each side, bows and arrows drawn, she felt better. She even managed to be cheeky. “Where’s Smallville when you need him?”
Chloe seemed to have heard her because she laughed.
The doors flew open, and creatures uglier than anything Lois had ever imagined, stormed the room. Arrows flew, and Lois and Boromir swung their swords—the latter killing his enemies considerably quicker to Lois’ chagrin.
The room shook, and she looked up in horror to see a large creature swinging a club, enter the room. It looked somewhat like the troll from Harry Potter, but the Orcs attacking left and right didn’t give her much time to compare them. She amazingly enough didn’t bother much with it afterwards, as she fought to keep herself alive.
Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Chloe and Lana sticking close, Lana had grabbed one of Sam’s pots and was using that as a weapon while Chloe swung the sword right and left.
Sam screaming Frodo’s name brought her head up, and she missed the Orc coming to her right until she felt something piercing her side. Lois’ mouth opened in an inaudible scream as the Orc drove his sword in deeper.
The ground shook as the cave troll fell.
It proved enough of a distraction for Lois to raise her sword and chop off the Orc’s head. Biting into her lip to keep from screaming, she pulled out the Orc’s sword, and felt faint as she saw her own blood covering the steel. Her shirt tinted with blood, and she pulled her cloak around her protectively, glad that everyone’s attention was now on Frodo for some reason or the other.
The sound of more Orcs arriving distracted them. Gandalf muttered something and hurried out of the room. The Fellowship hurried after him. Lois tried to keep up, but her wound hurt and she was feeling faint. For a moment she thought she’d gotten lost in the darkness until Legolas appeared in front of her, looked at her in confused worry, and then behind her at the sound of rushing feet.
Grabbing her arm he pulled behind him. They caught up with the others, Lois doing her best not to scream in pain, or faint from loss of blood. All around them there were Orcs and goblins, death and blood filled the air. And suddenly, they were surrounded.
A growl shook the room, and the Orcs took off in fear, as a fiery red light began to surround them.
“What is this new devilry?” Boromir asked Gandalf.
Ever the brave one. Even through her pain, Lois could retain her wit.
Gandalf didn’t answer. He closed his eyes and seemed to concentrate. Hearing a sound, he looked in the direction of the red light. “A Balrog.” He finally answered.
Lois had no idea what a Balrog was, but she didn’t like the look on Gandalf’s face when he said it.
Gandalf narrowed his eyes. “A demon of the ancient world.”
Lois grimaced, in pain and in fright. That didn’t sound good.
“This foe is beyond any of you.” Gandalf told them as if talking of the weather. “Run!”
They began running from the red light, robes trailing behind them. Lois cursed under her breath and was thankful that Legolas hadn’t let go of her hand and was once again pulling her along behind him, although, of course, she’d never admit to that out loud.
They hurried down a hallway, Boromir, ever the brave stalwart champion, a foot ahead of the rest. He kept looking behind him and didn’t notice until too late that he was running off an edge. He would have fallen had Legolas not let go of Lois and hurried towards the Steward of Gondor, grabbing hold of his clothes and yanking him back.
Everyone skidded to a halt lest they fall as well.
“Lead them on, Aragorn.” Lois could hear Gandalf telling Strider from the back of the group. “The bridge is near.”
Aragorn looked to where Gandalf pointed and could see the bridge. He hesitated.
“Do as I say!” Gandalf declared, pushing Aragorn away. “Swords are no more use here.”
Strider nodded, and began leading the group towards the bridge while Gandalf stayed in the back of the group.
Lois ignored the look Legolas gave her to hurry up, and turned to Gandalf, keeping at his pace. “I know that look. Chloe gets it’s sometimes. It’s never a good look. It’s the look on her video-letter when she made us all believe she was dead when Lionel was after her.” She stopped when Gandalf looked at her in a way that frightened her. “Gandalf?”
“He will need you.” Gandalf said softly. “They will all need you. Frodo will separate from the group, his is a mission of his own. But you, you must be strong for those who are left behind. You were brought here for a reason.”
“Gandalf?” She whispered. While she didn’t agree with a lot of what he said or did, she liked him, and was frightened of the finality of his words. As if he was saying goodbye.
“Go.” He pushed her forwards, yet gentler than he had with Aragorn.
She winced in pain, and looked up in surprise to see that Legolas hadn’t contented himself with seeing her with Gandalf, but had pushed his way to the back of the crowd.
“Hurry. We don’t have time for you to slacken your pace.” His voice was harsh with reproof.
Lois narrowed her eyes at him. “Well, you’re not my keeper. You’re welcomed to stay ahead.”
He looked at her with annoyance and grabbed her hand, ignoring her struggle to get it back. Instead, he pulled her with him as he hurried to the front of the group once more.
Lois decided that once they got to safety she’d hurt him.
They got to the bridge, yet stopped when they noticed the large gap in between the bridge. Legolas tightened his hold on her hand and straightened his shoulders. “We’ll jump it.” Without giving her any warning he ran forwards, pulling her with him, and they jumped.
Once they landed she cried out in pain. Her wound opened up a bit more, yet thankfully Legolas thought the fall was what hurt her and he only helped her to her feet.
She swatted him on the back of his head, angry that he’d jump that with her without even giving her a choice of doing it alone.
Gandalf jumped as well.
Suddenly arrows began to fly down on them.
“Get to the other side!” Legolas ordered her.
She stomped her foot and was going to tell him that he wasn’t the boss of her when an arrow landed too close to said foot for comfort. She growled, and limped towards the other side.
Once she was in a safe place, where the arrows couldn’t reach her, she turned and watched Boromir throwing Merry and Pippin on the other side before grabbing hold of Lana and jumping over himself.
With Boromir on the other side to help the other across, Legolas pulled out his bow and arrows and began shooting at the Orcs who were firing at them.
Chloe took in a deep breath and jumped of her own accord.
Aragorn threw Sam across. He turned to do the same with Gimli.
The dwarf held up his hand. “Nobody tosses a dwarf!” He jumped and barely made it. Only thanks to Legolas grabbing onto his beard did he not fall. “Not the beard!” He cried as Legolas pulled him up by said object.
The bridge crumbled even more, leaving a large gap between each side, and Aragorn and Frodo the only ones yet to jump.
Behind them the ground trembled, and a beastly growl echoed throughout the air.
“Jump you idiots.” Lois whispered under her breath.
The bridge began to crumble, yet Aragorn and Frodo made it to the other side. They began to run as fire sprung up everywhere.
From where she stood, Lois noticed Gandalf behind the others, pushing them to run faster. Out of the fire a demon unlike anything she knew possible appeared, with horns like a goat, and the roar of a lion. It arose from the fire and stepped onto the ground.
Aragorn reached her first and grabbed hold of her when she watched in with stiff horror. “Come now my lady!” He announced as he pulled her after him.
The fear numbed her pain, and Lois was able to run rapidly with the rest. They crossed yet another bridge onto the other side, where a door led to the outside world.
“You cannot pass!” Gandalf voice was heard crying with authority.
“Gandalf!” Frodo screamed.
Lois and Aragorn turned, her eyes widening in horror when she saw that Gandalf had stopped retreating and stood with his back to them, facing the Balrog on the bridge.
“I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor.” He told the Balrog, pointing his staff at it as his staff glowed with power. “The dark fire will not avail you,” the light encircled him like a protecting bubble. “flame of Udun!” He held up both his staff and his sword.
The Balrog raised its sword to strike Gandalf yet when it struck the bubble of light, sparks arose and it was pushed back as if by a strong force.
Aragorn left Lois’ side and took a couple of steps towards them, eyes wide in fear for his friend and mentor.
Frodo watched the scene with horror.
“Go back to the Shadow.” Gandalf ordered the Balrog as it roared angrily.
It defied him by walking onto the narrow bridge that Gandalf stood upon. Instead of the sword of fire it’d used on the wizard moments ago, it now wielded a whip.
“You shall not pass!” Gandalf declared with conviction as he stomped his staff against the bridge and an explosion of light forced the monstrosity back a couple of steps.
And then, at that precise moment, Lois knew that she would never admire anyone more than she did Gandalf the Grey.
The Balrog took another step towards the wizard, yet its side of the bridge collapsed, causing the creature to fall into the darkness below.
Gandalf turned to them, his eyes connected with Lois’ before the tip of the Balrog’s whip caught his leg and pulled him down. The wizard held onto the edge of the bridge, trying to hold himself up.
“Gandalf!” Frodo screamed and Boromir kept him from running to him.
“Fly, you fools.” Gandalf ordered before he was pulled into the darkness as well.
“No!” Frodo screamed.
Boromir picked him up and they hurried out of the Mines of Mordor.
On the outside, not even the sunlight could cheer them. Lois cried and she didn’t care. She didn’t care that the General had always told her tears were for weaklings, and that as his daughter he refused to allow her in that category.
All around her the sound of mourning could be heard. Merry and Pippins had thrown themselves on the ground, and Frodo still fought against Boromir, desperate to return to the Mines. Lana and Chloe held onto each other, while Boromir cried silently, and Gimli kicked at a boulder, not even wincing in pain.
Legolas watched on with barely concealed tears, as did Aragorn.
Yet Strider breathed in a deep breath and turned to the elf. “Legolas, get them up.”
Legolas did so, although his eyes were haunted and his movement mechanical.
Boromir turned on Aragorn. “Give them a moment, for pity’s sake!”
“By nightfall these hills will be swarming with Orcs.” Aragorn told Boromir. “We must reach the woods of Lothlórien.”
He went on to say something else, yet Lois didn’t hear it. Her world spun sickeningly, and there was an incessant drumming in her ears. She reached her hand inside of her cloak and pulled it back out again, wincing when she saw her blood covered hand.
And that was the last Lois heard before her knees buckled and she succumbed to the darkness.