1. Marian's Wish
Marian sighed as she gazed at the stack of books to be shelved. She'd have to work late again! Not that it mattered – she had nothing else planned for the evening, anyway. There was no one waiting for her, and no one to go home to. Thankfully, some of the books to be shelved were fiction, and that would break up the monotony somewhat. She could daydream about the stories as she replaced them on the shelves.
The library was quiet now, for everyone else had left for the day; she could take her time and not worry about being interrupted in her daydreaming. Time passed slowly as she walked up and down the stacks, returning the books to the shelves. One book in particular caught her attention, and she paused to read some of her favorite passages.
Marian was just considering stopping for a cup of coffee in the lounge, and taking the book with her, when she heard in the stacks a few rows beyond an odd sort of bump and thud followed by a muffled curse. "Who's there?" she called. There was a scuffling noise and more cursing, which went on a bit longer this time.
"That sort of language is not allowed in the library," said Marian sternly, in her best librarian voice. She strode down the aisle to deal with the situation, book still in hand. Rounding the corner of the shelves, she stopped short at the strange sight before her: a small gnome-like creature lay on the floor with a heavy book lying atop him, trapped and unable to move except for the wiggling of his arms and legs. Try as he might, the book was too heavy for him to push aside, and no amount of cursing or struggling could change that. The Gnome was quite red in the face from his cursing and his exertions to free himself.
Marian ran forward and picked up the book; she tucked it under her arm with her other book, and held out her free hand to the Gnome to help him to his feet. He was very, very small, but he carried himself with authority – now that he was out from under the book and standing on his own two feet once more.
"Thank you, fair maiden," said the Gnome in a tiny voice, adjusting his pointy cap. "You shall be rewarded for your aid to me."
"You are too kind," replied Marian. She knew she was not very fair, and assumed the Gnome was just being polite with his talk of rewards. "I need no reward," she continued, "for it is my job to help people with their books."
Marian looked at the heavy book under which the Gnome had been trapped. It was entitled, "Of Gnomes and the Granting of Wishes." She raised an eyebrow and looked at the Gnome inquiringly.
"Yes," he replied solemnly. "I am a Gnome and I can grant wishes to those who aid me. Do you have a wish I can grant you as a reward for rescuing me?"
"Well..." Marian hesitated. A wish? What on earth could she wish for?
"How permanent is this wish you say you can grant?" she asked suspiciously.
The Gnome shrugged. "I have no control over that," he said. "I just grant the wishes, the rest is up to Fate."
"I don't know what I want," said Marian, after thinking some more.
"May I make a suggestion, then?" asked the Gnome. Marian nodded.
"I see you are a lover of books, and that you have your finger in that one; I assume it is a favorite? Have you ever wished you could be a part of your favorite story, to actually live in the tale, to be one of the characters in the adventure?"
"Why, of course I have, who hasn't?" responded Marian.
"Very well, then." The Gnome drew himself up importantly and raised one wee hand. "I hereby grant you this wish: that you will become the person you have always dreamed of being in the tale you hold in your hand."
"Ohhhh..." breathed Marian, but before she could finish what she had been about to say, the Gnome had waved his hand, there was a flash of light, and the world changed.
She had no idea how much time had passed, when at last she felt she could see again. The light had been blinding, and her eyes were slow to adjust. She kept them closed, for suddenly she was afraid to learn where she had landed. If the Gnome had spoken truly, she knew the tale she was in, but not the place, nor the time.
Cautiously she opened her eyes, and knew at once where she was – on a high terrace, overlooking a rushing waterfall; beside her and all around her stood Elves, many beautiful Elves. She was in Rivendell.
Rivendell! How marvelous!
No Elf in Rivendell thought it strange that she should be there; in fact, they seemed to recognize her, and nodded courteously to her as they passed by. Marian walked about in a daze taking it all in. It was more beautiful than she could have imagined. As soon as she could, she found a mirror to have a look at herself. She was amazed at the change! She was indeed an Elf, and she was beautiful. Her hair was blonde and reached to her waist; her eyes were visible – a lovely shade of green – because her spectacles had disappeared. She pulled her hair back to reveal her ears, and giggled with delight – yes, they were pointed. Her clothes were also lovely. Her gown was soft and made of some kind of draping material that shimmered when she moved, and her feet were shod in soft and comfortable shoes.
Marian wasted no time in wandering and exploring her new home. She discovered she now spoke Elvish with ease, and enjoyed conversing with several of the Elves she met in her walking. Darkness fell at last, and she found herself in a darkened hall, filled with books and scrolls and statues. Books! What beautiful books! She took one off the shelf and discovered that she could read it, even though the light was very dim. She felt very much at home.
The hollow ringing of footsteps on the flagstones behind her caused her to swing around, startled. She had been lost in her book and had not heard anyone approaching. A Man stood before her; he was dressed in rich clothing, but it was stained from long travel, and his boots were sorely in need of a polish. Marion realized immediately who this must be, and now she knew at what point in the story she had arrived.
She opened her mouth to speak, but suddenly she was tongue-tied, and shy at the thought of actually conversing with her hero and favorite character – Boromir, Lord of Gondor. She felt herself blushing, and resisted the urge to smooth down her hair, struggling to speak without sounding like a fool.
Before Marian could think of something witty and intelligent to say, however, Boromir bowed and spoke first.
"Excuse me," he said politely. "Do you work here? Perhaps you can help me. Can you direct me to the Shards of Narsil? I hear they are kept in this collection."
Marian's training quickly reasserted itself, and she felt confident once more.
"Of course, sir," she replied in a professional tone. "Right this way."
As she led Boromir to where the Shards of Narsil were displayed, Marian sighed inwardly at the strange way her wish had been granted.
Some things never change! she thought. Some things never change!
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.