Disclaimer: Don't own Smallville/Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers
Sequel to - The Metahuman, The Ranger, and the One Ring
Fandom: Smallville/LOTR: The Two Towers
Disclaimer: Don't own
Summary: The broken up Fellowship are still trying to complete their respective missions, the League are still trying to find Zatanna, Chloe and Aragorn still have a couple of roadblocks to pass before they can actually have a relationship, and Lois is *still* trying to get into the book. Cue battles, jealousy, and some sexiness.
Chloe felt useless as she sat on the chair in the room provided, unable to see anyone but Legolas and Gandalf in this world of light and fog. She stared between the White Wizard and Elf, ignoring the dark shapes around her. So much had happened and yet here she was stuck on a seat unable to get up and walk on her own without the threat of walking into something or falling down stairs or something! It was so mortifying.
"And yet you can see Legolas and I vividly." Gandalf eyed her pensively.
"Yes, but in a different way than I do when I'm not in this state." She worried her bottom lip. "I saw Lady Galadriel like this; she said I was seeing her form on the 'other side', whatever that means."
The White Wizard nodded, as if this confirmed his previous thoughts. "I see."
"What is it, my friend?" Aragorn asked from where his dark shape stood. "Do you know what this is?"
"I have an idea, yes." Gandalf replied, face still drawn and serious as his gaze met Chloe's. "You have Nazgul poison in you, it's become a part of you, and I fear it might be trying to overcome your ability to self-heal."
Chloe lowered her gaze, breaking the connection.
"But I see you already thought of this." The Wizard was far too astute. "If you have wondered that, I am sure you've stumbled onto your predicament."
"What are you talking about?" Clark wanted to know, coming closer, his Protective Big Brother feelings showing quite clearly even in this world of fog and light. "What's happening to her?"
"The poison in her system...it lets her see both the Unseen and Seen worlds." Gandalf murmured. "Wizards and Elves exist in both realms, but our forms are different, which is what she saw with Lady Galadriel and what she's seeing of Legolas and myself now. She's seeing our forms as they are in the Unseen."
"Why is it that the poison lets Lady Chloe see the Unseen world and the forms therein?" Gimli wanted to know in worry.
"Because the Nazgul exist mainly in the wraith-or Unseen-world." Gandalf raised his chin as his severe gaze rested on her. "And the poison is trying to make her into one."
The shock of having her doubts and fears confirmed sent a jolt through Chloe's system, and in the blink on an eye the light and fog were gone, the blonde once more able to see the world as it should be.
Aragorn stood near, his face drawn, eyes narrowed. "There must be something you can do to stop this. You are a White Wizard now."
Gandalf eyed Chloe before turning to the Ranger. "There's nothing I can do, as Lady Galadriel said, the poison is now a part of Lady Chloe. We have no power over what is to happen."
"But we can't just sit still and watch her become one of those things!" Clark argued, showing the wonderful heart, heroic passion, and urgent need to help others that had made him her best friend.
"I don't think that's what Gandalf is saying." Legolas finally spoke from where he leaned against the wall, eyeing them in contemplation. "I believe he means that we cannot do anything, but Lady Chloe can."
Gimli looked up at Gandalf in heart-breaking hope. "Was that truly the meaning of your words?"
As Chloe gazed around her at the men in the room, she felt her chest constrict, her heart filled to the brim at the knowledge that these men truly cared for and worried about her. Somehow she'd won a piece of their hearts, just like they had hers. The realization filled her with happiness, her eyes watering slightly.
Aragorn caught the sheen on the tears as they filled her eyes, his own narrowing as he drew closer. "Are you in pain, Arwenamin?"
"Arwen?" Chloe asked in confusion.
"Arwenamin." Legolas corrected with a shake of his head. "It means "My Lady"."
"Oh." The blonde looked from the Elf to the Ranger, a small smile tilting her lips. "I'm fine...I can see normally again." She gave a little shrug. "See? I told you it'd pass on its own. No need to worry so much."
Gimli scoffed. "The accursed Nazgul are trying to take you away from our company; that is more than fair reason for us to be alert and on guard."
Legolas grinned, resting a hand on Clark's shoulder. "The Fellowship takes care of its own."
"And you know you're stuck with me." Clark winked before turning to share grins with the Elf leaning against him.
Gimli nodded, giving a little harrumph of agreement as he rested his weight on his axe.
Aragorn reached up to tenderly brush away the tear Chloe hadn't realized she'd shed.
Gandalf smiled fatherly at the girl and the Fellowship.
Staring at everyone, Chloe smiled brightly at them. "I love you all."
Gimli blushed and grumbled to himself, lowering his gaze, unable to hide the pleasure on his features no matter how hard he tried.
"And you know we love you back." Clark smiled back, used to her declarations by now, as well as returning them.
Gandalf motioned for the others to follow him out. "Let's leave Lady Chloe to her rest."
One by one, the Fellowship slipped from the room until only Chloe and Aragorn remained. It surprised her that he'd stayed in a closed bedroom with her all things considered. Sure, they'd stayed at the Prancing Pony and such together, but things were different now and she was more than sure that this was highly inappropriate. Then again, Aragorn hadn't been one to touch her so much, and yet he still had yet to remove his hand from her face.
Finally her green orbs fell to his face, unable to keep away any further.
He stared up at her from his bent knees, his darker gaze on her face, seeming to be putting her every feature to memory. "Man mathach?"
She narrowed her greens in concentration, trying to remember this one. It'd been one of the basic Elven phrases he'd taught her while they'd still been in training. A small smile tilted her lips when she finally remembered what it was supposed to be. "I feel fine." She tilted her head to the side as she gazed down at him. "You don't have to worry about me so much Aragorn, I'm stronger than I look."
"I know of your strength." Aragorn assured her, his calloused thumb brushing against her cheek caressingly. "Do not think that I question your own strength by offering you mine as well."
Chloe gulped as she gazed down into his face, realizing with great horror that she was already completely in love with this man. There was no saving her. She was already deeply, truly, completely in love with Aragorn, Strider, Estel…with this man.
If there was anyone who could be saved, that had to be saved, it was him.
Worrying her bottom lip, Chloe felt her heart racing and her stomach going sick as she stared down at him. "I'm Isildur's daughter."
Aragorn's eyes widened as he stared up at her. "What?"
Pulling away, Chloe stood and walked to the window. Her hands rested on the open window-frame, taking in a deep breath as she stared outside, unable to look at him. "Lady Galadriel was a friend of my mother's when she was here in Middle Earth. She showed me a vision in which my mother runs away from Isildur, despite being pregnant. She couldn't take it, couldn't stop blaming herself, and she left him." Chloe lowered her head. "I think she felt guilty because she knew she'd taken the love of a man from his wife, and yet also her pride was hurt because he wouldn't choose her over the One Ring."
"I'm a very distant relative of yours." She lowered her head, frowning slightly as a couple of guards rushed below. "That means…"
"The blood of Numenor runs strong in your veins."
Chloe blinked in surprise at that before turning to face Aragorn, eyes wide when she found him so close, her hands going behind her to grip the window frame.
Aragorn drew closer even as he stared down at her face, at her lips, resting his hands against the sides of the window frame, effectively trapping her in place without even touching her. "Is this the reason why you have been distant since we departed from Lothlórien?"
"In part…" Chloe arched her back, her neck, to stare up into his face as her breathing got harder to do with her nerves. "There's more, though."
"Let there be no more secrets between us." Aragorn's voice lowered as his eyes darkened. "Trust me with all that lies within you."
Chloe gulped, feeling swayed, melted, by all that made Aragorn the man she was in love with. "I—I need to tell you something that will change how you see and feel about me."
"I doubt you could say any such thing." He replied, sincerity in his orbs.
She wanted to cry, wanted to run, wanted to kiss him and say that she'd been joking, but she had to do this for Aragorn. He was a man of virtues and morals and...he'd already made well known what he thought about "loose" women.
Steeling herself, Chloe stared up into his face, knowing this was for the best. "I'm not pure."
For a moment he seemed confused, and then his eyes narrowed, darkening. "You have been...touched...by another man."
"Yes." She nodded, tightened her grip on the window behind her for strength. "As Clark and I have said before, it's not a big deal where we come from; it's something normal not to be a v-virgin at your wedding." She gulped. "I haven't been one since I was sixteen."
Aragorn's grip on the sides of the window frame tightened, his muscles tensed, his eyes narrowed darkly.
She was losing nerve, fast.
Twirling around she stared out of the window again, trying to keep herself from breaking down as she stared at the courtyard. "I really care for you, Aragorn, I know you know that, but there can be nothing between us. We're too different, come from different worlds, and when this is all over I'll end up in mine just like my mother did."
"Was it Clark?" Aragorn's voice was low, terribly calm.
Chloe was about turn to look at him in confusion when she noticed movement below, realizing the guards were returning, this time with someone between them. Her eyes widened as she recognized that swagger, that arrogance, that hairstyle.
"Ollie?" She whispered, leaning forwards, yelling out so they could hear her. "OLIVER!?"
The man stopped and looked up at her, his grim expression vanishing immediately as he recognized her. "SIDEKICK! I COULD KISS YOU!"
"I can't believe it...he's really here." She whispered to herself before leaning further out of the window. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?"
"I MISSED MY FAVORITE WOMAN IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND CAME TO GET YOU BACK!" He winked, looking quite at ease and flirty for someone in shackles and being guarded by two armed men. "FROM WHAT I COULD SEE, YOU NEEDED ME!"
"WHO NEEDS WHO?" She laughed, shaking her head. "GUARDS! PLEASE DON'T TAKE HIM ANYWHERE! I KNOW HIM! I'LL BE RIGHT DOWN THERE!" She turned to go when she nearly bumped into Aragorn, who hadn't moved an inch.
The blonde gulped, staring up at him, having forgotten for a second what had been happening.
Aragorn's dark, displeased glare went from her to the courtyard behind before pushing away from the window and storming out of the room, slamming the door.
Chloe closed her eyes for a second, heartache agonizing, but this was for the best.
She'd known this would happen, and there was nothing she could do about it. Grieving would come later, for right now she had to get down to where Oliver was, and that was exactly what the petite blonde did. She hurried down the stone stairways, through corridors, passed servants, and then she was out in the courtyard racing towards where the guards stood uncomfortably.
"I'm so sorry for asking you to wait." She gave them both a little apologetic smile. "And I'm sorry for any problems he most probably has given you."
"Hey!" Oliver complained.
She ignored him. "He's with us."
"He appeared days before your people arrived." One of the guards declared.
"Magic gone wrong, I assure you." Oliver declared all suavely. "I was supposed to end up where she was, but apparently I ended up where she would be."
The first guard frowned.
"King Theoden said these are our allies." The second sighed, unshackling the man. "Be glad there are more important happenings, and make sure you do not use such unpredictable magic again."
And with that the guards stormed away.
Oliver made a face at them behind their backs before chuckling as his gaze rested on her face, his hands in his pockets. "How's my Sidekick been doing without her Hero around?"
"I don't know what you're talking about." Chloe grinned brightly up at him, clasping her hands behind her back as she leaned forwards. "Clark's been here with me."
"Oh! Ouch! Arrow to the heart!" Oliver brought a hand to his heart in mock agony before joining in laughter with her. "It's good to see you again, Chlo." And with that he swept her into his arms, holding her tightly as he pressed a kiss to her temple. "I've been so worried."
Chloe held on tightly, a frog in her throat. "I can't believe you're here."
"Lane's probably hating me right now, the book really doesn't like her." Oliver quipped.
"How is she?" Chloe whispered, eyes stinging her as she missed her cousin more and more.
"Missing you." Oliver replied softly.
Tears fogged Chloe's vision. "I miss her too."
Oliver sighed and held the blonde tighter as she cried, his eyes closing.
That was why neither of them saw the shadows shifting as Aragorn disappeared around a distant corner.
"Oh boy." Dinah flinched. "I'm thinking Ranger Dude got the wrong idea there."
"Yeah...I'm thinking so too." Zatanna worried her bottom lip as the picture of Aragorn watching around the corner darkly as Chloe and Oliver embraced tightly in the courtyard burnt onto the page. "This could be a very bad thing...or a very good thing."
"True...if Chloe played her cards right." Dinah threw herself backwards on the bed, raising an eyebrow. "This could be just that distraction Ranger Dude needs to realize that yeah, Chloe's been with a guy before-but if he doesn't get his act together-she could be with another."
"Or he could just think she's some huge slut who sleeps around and that'll make him disgusted with her." Zatanna fretted, not wanting that to happen at all. She was firmly on Team Aragorn. "And if he does that...I'm going to have to jump "ships"...and I haven't really thought of who else I'd like to see Chloe with in this story."
"What about Elf Hottie?" Dinah wanted to know curiously.
"His hair's too nice." Zatanna shook her head. "I don't trust guys with better hair than me."
Dinah twisted her lips at that, lifting a lock of her own hair in contemplation before slowly shaking her agreement to that statement. "Axe-Happy Dwarf is too old and too hairy."
"Not to mention too short." Zatanna reminded. "Anyway, he looks at her with the eyes of a doting, protective uncle."
"Wizard Guy is just too old, period." Dinah made a face before blinking. "What about Oliver's cell mate? He was cool, right? AND with his cousin having bitten the dust he could be the next in line for Crown Duty! Chloe could be Queen!" She grinned brightly. "I think that alone should put Cell Mate at the top of the list!"
Zatanna thought that one over. "True. I hadn't thought about him."
"He's been a background player up until now, the only reason I remember him is because he was hot." Dinah shrugged before giving a little frown. "Do you think Lois is anywhere near this Edoras place?"
"I don't know." Zatanna gave a little shrug before her eyes widened in excitement as finally the words began to appear once more. "The story's continuing!"
"You know, if authors made reading books this fun we wouldn't have so many people waiting for the movie versions to be made." Dinah eagerly joined her side once more, gazing down at the first paragraph in the next chapter. "Just saying."
Oliver and Clark had hugged it out, although in a manly way, and now they found themselves in the Meduseld throne room, where Lady Eowyn (the king's niece) leaned over two children, who were eating as if they hadn't had a good meal in a very long time. The only ones in the throne room were the king, his niece, the children, the Fellowship...and his nephew. Apparently Eomer had been Oliver's cellmate for the last couple of days...but it would seem that neither man had been much of a sharing mood since they'd both seemed surprised to find out whom the other was.
Eowyn turned to Theoden, who sat upon his throne with Gandalf at his side, the king's head buried in his hands. "The villages had no warning and were unarmed." She'd apparently garnered all this information from the two children, who'd arrived on horseback not that long ago. "Now the Wild Men are moving through the Westfold, burning as they go."
Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas shared a concerned look from where they sat close to the other.
Chloe, Clark and Oliver shared another, Oliver resting a hand on both Chloe and Clark's shoulders.
"Rick, cot and tree." Eowyn continued. "Nothing is safe or sacred."
Gandalf sighed as he digested this news, turning his gaze upon the king sitting on his throne. "This is but a taste of the terror that Saruman will unleash. All the more portent for he is drive now by fear of Sauron. Ride out and meet him head on." The Wizard leaned forwards and placed his hand on Theoden's chair as the king gazed up at him warily. "Draw him away from your women and children. You must fight."
"If it is numbers that worry you my king, we have 2000 good men riding north as we speak." Eomer declared, ever respectful. "Erkenbrand and every single man who rides with him is loyal to you. They will return and fight for their king."
Theoden arose from his throne, walking to the center of his hall. "They will be 300 leagues from here by now." He turned and placed his hand on his nephew's shoulder. "Erkenbrand and his riders cannot help us."
Eomer lowered his gaze, submitting to his king's decision.
Gandalf, on the other hand, stepped forwards to speak.
Realizing this, Theoden raised his free hand to halt the Wizard in his tracks as he spoke. "I know what it is that you want of me, but I will not bring further death to my people. I will not risk open war."
Aragorn leaned forwards, speaking for the first time. "Open war is upon you, whether you would risk it or not."
Eowyn looked up at Aragorn in surprise at this, turning her gaze to her uncle, awaiting his response.
Theoden sputtered, indignant. "When last I looked, Theoden, not Aragorn, was king of Rohan."
Aragorn, wise as ever, held his tongue.
Gandalf sighed, turning his gaze to the king. "Then what is the king's decision?"
Theoden turned away from them, concern etched in his face. "We make for Helm's Deep."
In the Rohirrim stables, Gandalf walked passed the Rohan horses with Gimli, Aragorn and Legolas. All around Edoras the people were hurrying to grab the necessities they needed so that they could follow their king's orders and head for Helms Deep, something which the men in those stables knew was a very unwise idea. But what could they say to contradict the king's orders? All they could do was stay and provide the help they would no doubt need very soon.
Chloe, Clark and the newcomer, Oliver, were out getting the man new clothes and boots, readying him for what was to come.
Gandalf noticed the change that'd taken place between the young woman and the Ranger, and he wondered if this dark tension had anything to do with this Oliver fellow.
"Helm's Deep." Gimli snarled the very word in disgust. "They flee to the mountains when they should stand and fight." He scoffed. "Who will defend them if not their king?"
"He's only doing what he thinks is best for his people." Aragorn responded sagely. "Helm's Deep has saved them in the past."
Finally they approached the stable where Shadowfax awaited them, and Gandalf sighed. "There is no way out of that ravine. Theoden is walking into a trap. He thinks he's leading them to safety. What they will get is a massacre." He turned to Aragorn, grim. "Theoden has a strong will, but I fear for him. I fear for the survival of Rohan. He will need you before the end, Aragorn. The people of Rohan will need you. The defenses have to hold."
Aragorn held Gandalf's gaze, nodding. "They will hold."
Gandalf nodded, turning from Aragorn as he gently stroked the mighty horse's coat, musing. "The Grey Pilgrim...that's what they used to call me." He frowned. "Three hundred lives of Men I've walked this earth, and now I have no time."
Aragorn lowered his head.
"A great battle is upon us...the powers that govern our lives are sending us more and more warriors...it worries me." Gandalf turned to the Man, Dwarf and Elf before him. "During the first Great War we were sent one Woman. One. Already we've been sent three Warriors."
Aragorn's gaze slid away, his fists clenching at his side.
Ah, this new tension did have something to do with the newcomer.
Opening the stall door, Gandalf entered and mounted Shadowfax, staring down at his friends. "With luck my search will not be in vain." His gaze went to Aragorn, waiting for the Ranger to return his gaze before continuing. "Look to my coming at the first light on the fifth day. At dawn, look to the east."
Aragorn nodded. "Go."
Gandalf nodded, blasting out of the stable at top speed, his mission clear.
With Gandalf gone and the people of Edoras readying to flee for Helms Deep Aragorn should be too busy to let his thoughts turn to Chloe and the revelation she'd dropped on him so suddenly, but it wasn't the case. In fact, as he lingered around the stables while Gimli and Legolas went to find the others, Aragorn could think about nothing other than the fact that Chloe wasn't pure.
Someone had placed his hands on her, had stirred her passion, had slipped inside of her body and brought her to the brink of carnal pleasure. Someone knew the way she felt deep within, how she sounded when stroked, and her expressions when desire and need overcame. She'd clutched at this man, her limbs wrapped around him, her fingernails in his back...her lips on his...
The Ranger pounded his fist sideways into the building with a little snarl.
Aragorn had never before felt this darkness that curled in his stomach, this need to taste blood and steel. He was a peaceful man when the situation didn't call for otherwise, and he was all too willing to leave another man's woman alone-eager to bow away and search for another should the rare lover prove disappointing.
But he couldn't.
Not this time.
He just needed to gain control over his desire to corner both Clark and this newcomer, press a sword to their necks and find out which of them had been the one to defile his woman. He didn't know what he'd do if he found out that it had been one of them, but he would like to believe that he wasn't barbarian enough to have to deal with the disposal of their bodies. He'd like to believe that he could stay his hand and let them off with a warning.
The grunts of two soldiers attempting in vain to subdue a mighty brown stallion brought him out of his dark thoughts.
Narrowing his eyes, Aragorn walked towards them.
"This horse is half mad, my lord." One of the soldiers declared as they struggled with the creature. "There's nothing you can do. Leave him."
The horse reared and whinnied as the Ranger came closer.
Aragorn spoke softly, trying to communicate his desire to help to the horse. "Fæste, stille nú...fæste..." He urged the creature to be quiet as he motioned for the soldiers to let go of it. "...stille nú. Lac is drefed, gefrægon." The Ranger slowly reached the creature, caressing it's coat as he carefully removed the ropes detaining it and handed them to one of the soldiers. "Hwæt nemnað ðe? Hm? Hwæt nemnað ðe?" He caressed the slowly relaxing creature as he repeated his question. "What is your name?"
"His name is Brego." A voice declared behind him.
Aragorn's head snapped around to see the king's niece, Eowyn, watching him with some wonder on her countenance.
"He was my cousin's horse." The long-haired woman declared as she came closer, eyes intrigued.
Aragorn returned his attention to the horse, which had once carried the future king. "Brego." He smiled softly. "Din nama is cynglic." The creature's name was as kingly as the man who'd once rode him.
Eowyn slowly drew closer.
The Ranger ignored her as he spoke to the horse, wondering what he'd seen that'd troubled him so deeply. "Man le trasta, Brego? Man cenich?"
"I have heard of the magic of Elves, but I did not look for it in a Ranger from the North." Eowyn spoke once more, much closer this time. "You speak as one of their own."
Laughter caught the Ranger's gaze and he looked over Brego's back to see Chloe walking with the newcomer, Oliver, who had an arm around her shoulder while saying something about a "Lane".
Chloe didn't seem at all unused to or displeased with the over-familiarity this man had concerning her, instead quite amused, face red with her laughter as she mentioned something about knowing what he'd gotten into.
Clark hurried towards them, arriving at Chloe's other side and pointing to Oliver with friendly accusation, resting his elbow on Chloe's shoulder.
Oliver flicked Clark's finger away.
Chloe rolled her eyes, shrugged them both off, and then looped her arms around theirs before leading them away.
"Lord Aragorn?" Eowyn asked, reminding him that she was there.
Aragorn pushed away from the horse, turning his back on both the creature and the royal lady watching him. "Turn this fellow free. He's seen enough of war."
With that, the Ranger walked away.
"I can't believe you're making me read to you." Dinah grumbled, not at all happy with this arrangement.
"You're making me cook." Zatanna replied with just as much happiness. "So read."
"Fine." Dinah glared, sitting on the countertop, the large book on her lap as she began to read. "In the Palantir Chamber in Orthanc, Wormtongue had slithered to his master like the snake he was. He cowered before Saruman, terrified at having failed the Wizard and yet all too happy to turn his master's wrath towards another soul other than himself. This was facilitated by the fact that the Wizard's mind was already consumed with another issue: his defeat at the hands of Gandalf.
Saruman paced the chamber floor. "Gandalf the White. Gandalf the FOOL! Does he seek to humble me with his newfound piety?"
Wormtongue drew nearer, gulping loudly at the disgust visible on the Wizard's countenance when his gaze fell upon him. "There were others who followed the Wizard. An Elf, A Dwarf, two Men...and a Woman."
"A Woman?" Saruman turned to minion, eyes narrowed at this new revelation. "Gandalf travels with a woman?"
"Yesssss." Wormtongue nodded eagerly. "She holds nothing to Lady Eowyn's beauty, but she was not burdensome on the eye."
Saruman narrowed his eyes, remembering a time when another mysterious woman had interfered and how it had ended. "The two Men...are any of them from Gondor?"
"No." Wormtongue shook his head. "One dressed in the clothes of the Elves of Rivendell, and the other seemed from the North, one of the Dunedain Rangers I thought he was. To be truthful, despite the other's height this Ranger stood out to me more."
Saruman drew closer, eyes narrowed. "What else did you notice of this man? The Ranger?"
Spurred on by his master's interest, Wormtongue eagerly obliged. "His cloth was poor, and yet he bore a strange ring." He came a little closer, only a little. "It has two serpents with emerald eyes, one devouring the other, crowned with golden flowers."
Eyes narrowed, Saruman stormed out of the Palantir Chamber into the Ante-Chamber, grabbing a book on his desk. He turned pages with frustrated movements, faster and faster, until stopping as he slammed the book back down on the table. The page displayed a picture of the ring his minion had described.
The Wizard collapsed on his seat, gazing at the picture as he leaned back in his chair. "The Ring of Barahir...so Gandalf Greyhame thinks he has found Isildur's heir. The lost king of Gondor." He sneered. "He is a fool. The line was broken years ago." He closed the book and pushed it aside, his features still concerned despite his previous words. "This Woman, was she of dark hair with fair eyes?"
"No my lord." Wormtongue shook his head, body in a near bow. "Her hair was fair like Lady Eowyn's, and her eyes green. She wore weapons upon her and a pendant against her bosom."
Saruman turned towards him at that. "What did this pendant look like?"
Wormtongue weaseled a little closer. "I did not see much of it since she remained in the throne room whilst I was...escorted...away, but if my memory serves me right it held a white tree etched upon it."
"White tree?" Saruman narrowed his eyes. "The symbol of Man." He stood. "It matters not. The world of Men shall fall...and it will begin at Edoras."
The evacuation of Edoras was already in progress. The people poured out of the main gate by the hundreds, carrying what they could, and a solid line of people could be seen stretched across the Plains of Rohan. The King had yet to join his people, still readying with Gamling in his room. Rohirrim gathered things from the Great Hall and carried them all hastily.
The only one seeming not in a hurry was the king's niece.
Chloe paused in the doorway, watching the regal woman as she opened a chest and pulled out a sheathed sword.
Eowyn unsheathed it, holding the sword before her, running her hand down the flat side of the blade as she smiled before practicing her swing. This was the first time Chloe had seen a smile on the woman's face, and noted that it made her seem younger and more beautiful, the regal one twirling around and slicing the air with far more grace than Chloe could ever hope to achieve.
"You'll have to give me some pointers." Chloe finally made her presence known. "I'm rubbish with swords."
Eowyn twirled at the sound, pointing the blade towards Chloe, her face not softened at all.
"You're talented with a sword." Chloe tried once more for friendliness.
"Women of this country learned long ago that those without swords may still die upon them." Eowyn raised her chin before sheathing the sword and placing it back into the chest. "I fear neither death nor pain."
"I think everyone fears death and pain. I know I've been in enough battles to have learnt a healthy respect for both." Chloe stepped deeper into the Great Hall. "You say your women know that they could fall by the sword-but the men around here don't really think a woman should even know what a sword is, huh?" She made a little face. "When they saw me armed with my sword and bow and arrow, they kept giving my friends these disapproving looks."
"It is the man who should protect his women and children." Eowyn bit that out as if she'd been forced to memorize it once upon a very long time ago.
"That's...stupid." Chloe snorted, rolling her eyes. "Obviously a man thought that one up."
Eowyn's grim mask slipped slightly as her lips twitched before she went serious once more, clearing her throat. "You say you have problems with your swordplay?"
"Yes!" Chloe nodded, grinning brightly at this progression from the thinly veiled dislike. "I've got most of the moves downpat, but I have a hard time keeping the positions for long and according to all those who've seen me fight, they say I continually keep my sword angled downwards towards the ground."
Eowyn tilted her head to the side. "Show me."
"I, uh, okay." Glad that she'd put it back on since they were leaving, Chloe cleared her throat as she unsheathed the sword hanging at her side and held it at the ready.
Eowyn folded her arms over her chest as she watched her.
Feeling quite awkward under this woman's observation, Chloe maneuvered through some of the steps and such Aragorn had shown her. She tried her best to perform as perfectly as possible, yet from the glimpses she snuck of Eowyn's face every now and again she knew she was definitely messing up big time.
Finally, she ended it, changing hands with the sword as she turned to Eowyn.
"Why did you just do that?" The regal woman asked curiously.
"Huh?" Chloe frowned in confusion.
"You just changed hands. Why?"
"Oh!" Chloe smiled sheepishly. "This arm's a little tired. It's funny because I have to use a lot of upper body strength with the bow and arrow and I'm fine with that, but the sword's different I suppose."
Eowyn eyed her in silence for a moment before shaking her head. "I see your problem. I'm surprised Lord Aragorn or the others haven't picked up on it themselves." She raised an eyebrow. "Other than your clear need for further tutorage to refine your techniques, and the fact that you keep leaving your left side somewhat vulnerable, you only have one major fault...and it isn't truly your own."
She was confused.
It must have shown in her face because suddenly Eowyn chuckled, amused as she shook her head. "The sword's too heavy." The woman drew closer as she reached for the blade, accepting it when Chloe passed it to her, testing the weight as she performed some movements. "Yes, it is a little heavy for someone of your stature." She handed the sword back at her. "A lighter sword would most definitely be a better choice."
"A lighter sword." Chloe sheathed her sword at her hip, intrigued. "I'll have to see what I can do about that. Thank you."
Eowyn's smile was a little more genuine this time as she nodded. "You are welcome."
Chloe smiled brighter and started walking away before pausing and turning back to face the other woman. "If not pain or death, what do you fear?"
The smile slipped from those lips, Eowyn's voice grave. "A cage...to stay behind bars until use and old age accept them. And all chance of valor has gone beyond recall or desire."
Chloe stared at this woman, fascinated by her as she shook her head in wonder, smiling. "I highly doubt that's going to be your fate. You're a warrior, and you'll no doubt be given a chance to prove that to everyone...especially yourself." She took a step backwards. "No way would a cool character like you just disappear into the background."
Eowyn's eyes widened in surprise at those words, seeming unable to respond.
"Thanks again." Chloe gave a little bow as she turned and strode out of the room, sure that the author of these books would not let her down.
She couldn't wait to see what Eowyn would accomplish.
Dinah firmly believed that whoever had written these books was an asshole who was stacking the deck against the good guys big time.
Things were not looking good at all.
Wormtongue had already figured out what Theoden would do, and they were planning on having the king go to Helm's Deep. They knew that since there would be women and children progress would be slower than if just the Rohirrim and King journeyed, and were going to use that to their advantage, sending something Saruman called Warg-Riders after them.
And if that in itself didn't suck, that Gollum creature was a freaky little dude with his murderous split personality. The Smeagol side seemed nice enough, wanting to serve his 'master', while the Gollum side wanted nothing more than to rip the sleeping Frodo and Sam to pieces. Thankfully Smeagol had won out for now, but just how long could that really last? Especially since Gollum seemed to have been the dominant personality for so long?
And even if Gollum wasn't a problem, the tension between him and Sam, and Sam and Frodo, was getting to epically angst-filled proportions!
Sam and Gollum (or Smeagol?) would never be best friends, both distrusting and resenting the other and the place they took in Frodo's life, each trying to prove that they were more important and helped him the most.
Frodo wanted to "save" Gollum because the Ring had made him what he was, and Dinah had a feeling Frodo wanted desperately to save Gollum just to prove that he himself could be saved. Sam couldn't get the hints, and Frodo couldn't come clean...and things were just getting shitty between them...which was horrible because she had a soft spot for their ever-so-cute bromance.
Another problem the cutesy hobbits had was the fact that Frodo was getting way too attached to the Ring, which was gaining control over him, making him just as possessive of it and distrusting of Sam, who only wanted to carry it to lessen his friend's burden.
And to make things worse, while they were spying on some army riding something that seemed like humongous, armored elephants, the hobbits somehow ended up in the middle of an ambush.
Good part was that that little part of Sauron's army was destroyed.
Bad part was that Sam and Frodo were captured by some dude with a sword that the book named as Faramir.
The hobbits really had no sort of luck.