1. A Maiden From a Distant World
"Gandalf," said Aragorn in wonder, "have you any knowledge of such a creature? What daughter of mortal men is this?"
"It is a being not of this world," the wizard said. "I know not from whence she came, nor by what force she was brought here. Hold, Legolas, she is of no threat to us now – but be on your guard!"
At his command, Legolas slowly eased his bow and stepped back. Boromir, as well, lowered his sword and gazed suspiciously at the scene before him. Behind Gandalf’s robes, where he had sprang when the apparition had first appeared, Samwise stuck his head out to look and quickly withdrew.
"Dear heaven, how ghastly!" he groaned, his face sickly pale. "She’s been squashed like a June bug!"
And indeed, the body before them was barely discernable as that of a maiden, so crushed and grotesque was its form. The Fellowship stood several strides away from it, still shaken by the unimaginable event that had just occurred. Aragorn alone knelt nearby and examined her; his face was drawn, as if what he discovered only puzzled him more.
"I just don’t understand it," said Pippin in a daze. "We were just standing here and all at once she just…."
"Fell out of the sky," Frodo replied, equally discomfited, and glanced upward as if he feared another would come crashing down on their heads.
"I fear we are in peril," muttered Boromir, once again grasping his hilt. He swept his glance over the windswept land and distant mountains beyond. "Perhaps she fell from some winged mount? Was she sent to report our movements?"
Legolas frowned. "Nay, Boromir, it is not so," he said. "Only the common birds of the air have I seen, and those seldom in this treeless plain. Had such a steed of the Enemy been above, I would have caught sight of it, or at least felt its presence drawing near."
"And no mark of Sauron does this mortal bear," said Aragorn. "See this! Such strange garments are not the raiment of warrior or traveler, and she bears no weapon. Truly, I have never seen a maiden dressed thus. Can you discern the runes upon her tunic, Gandalf?" So saying, he gingerly straightened the flimsy cloth, upon which the symbols GAP were arrayed.
"It has no meaning to me," said Gandalf. "Again I say she is not of Middle-earth, or at least not of an age I have seen."
Nearby lay a pack, its contents spilled and scattered across the grass. Now Merry knelt and lifted several of the objects for them to see. Some were recognisable – a comb, a cracked mirror, a few battered slices of apple wrapped in a pouch of strange transparent material. Others remained a mystery. Merry picked up a small flimsy rectangle encased in more of the clear substance. "Look – this seems to be her picture here, and more writing which I cannot make out. Why, she was no more than a girl!"
"What peculiar fate," Aragorn murmured. "Was this stranger from a distant land plucked from her home and dropped as if from a great height?"
"Perhaps her home is more distant still," said Legolas, and his face grew thoughtful. "This stirs my memory. Many times this past fortnight as I have stood my watch, I have seen strange lights in the night sky; streaks of flame, as if a star were falling from the heavens. Could it not be that these were more such beings, cast into our world from the farthest reaches of the sky and burning away?"
"If this be so, there is some mischief at work," said Aragorn, and climbed to his feet. He wrinkled his nose at the smell now rising from the mess. "Some being is dropping these maidens into Middle-earth, and to what end I doubt we shall ever know."
"A pity," Gandalf muttered. "No danger has come of it yet, at least. Come, let us press forward! We must try to reach the plains of Hollin before morning."
The Fellowship agreed, and walking hastily onward they left the dead maiden and her possessions behind them. Merry cast the little card away; it fell hidden into some bushes, and there lay forever lost with the information it held: "Indiana – OPERATOR’S LICENSE – MARY S. SMITH – H68900712 …."
… What? That's what the summary says! (Hee hee….)
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.