Part II: Chapter 5, Lost in Middle-Earth

They rode on and on. Their happy souls didn't beat one distempered chord, even when weary.
"Orlando." Sir Ian proclaimed as Shadowfax neighed, pranced, and nearly threw him off. The young man shook himself out of the deep stupor he'd been riding in all the while. He squinted as daybreak shone in his almond eyes. Then he peered into the brightness.
"There it is! On those mountains with a glint of gold! Edoras! Meduseld!"
"Home." Sighed Sean.
They rode into meadows covered with beautiful flowers and splashed through muddy creeks. Suddenly, they saw a few men in chain mail marching towards them. "What do we say?" John asked in Gimli's thick accent.
"Act natural." Viggo whispered out of the corner of his mouth.
The spokesman for the chainmail men arrogantly strode up, and in his own tongue asked, "Strangers, we've watched you from afar, we are not to let any in but those who speak the tongue of Rohirrim and are our friends."
"I speak the Rohirrim." Sir Ian spurred Shadowfax so he'd trot up alongside the man. "I am Gandalf. I've returned. With me I have on Arod, Legolas the elf and Gimli, the Dwarf, on Hasufel, Aragorn son of Arathorn, heir to the Kings. And this is the eldest son of Denethor, Boromir."
"Well, I'll go ask permission for your entrance." The travelers nodded. It was after a quarter of an hour when the leader came back. "The King of the Golden Hall says you may go in."
"Thank you so graciously." John said as he and Orlando rode by.
"You 'ear thawt?" A deep-voiced guard proclaimed in a thick accent as our friends went past. "Po-lite bunch. Thawt cawmment came from the Dwarf."
"Ha ha! A dainty Dwarf visits King Theoden!" Orli chuckled. John grumbled something under his breath.
"Wait!" The head of these troops cried out again. "Any weapon among you must be left here, whether it be a staff or a sword." The group sighed and laid everything down. It lightened their load tremendously.
The companions walked a long hallway. "It's beautiful." Sean murmured. "The same as I always dreamed."
They saw at the end of the hall a great throne. King Theoden sat on it, and Wormtongue beside. "Ah, Gandalf the old StormCrow and three ragged travelers." Grima laughed.
"F-huh! Now where did he get off to?" Viggo said, puzzled.
"Whom do you speak of, wanderer?"
"Do not speak of him that way!" Orlando fronted. "You see before you the heir to the throne of Gondor, Aragorn son of Arathorn. He speaks of Boromir, son of Denethor. He is in our band also."
"Ah, a dainty little Elf!" Said Wormtongue's ever-shadowing sarcasm. "Does this mean you're in league with the cursed Elf-witch?"
John stepped forward. "Call her by her proper name! She is-" Sir Ian put a hand on the Dwarf's shoulder. He cast aside his tattered gray cloak and the white garment underneath lit up the dim chamber, showing all the golden pillars and Sean standing next to one of these.
"You know few mortals have dared enter the realm of the Lady of the Wood." He retorted. "She is Galadriel, the Lady of Light. She is an ally of good."
At this point, Theoden's eyes suddenly seemed to open. "Ah, is that Denethor's eldest?" He pointed in Sean's direction.
"Yes, milord. It is I, Boromir son of Denethor before you." Sean replied in reverence.
"Theoden." Gandalf stated pulling the King's attention to him. "Must you stay here and listen to war rumors?" He looked at the now prostrate Wormtongue. "Come outside and see the kingdom for yourself. There is still light."
One person that we've overlooked until now placed a protective hand on Theoden's shoulder. "Eowyn, my daughter, do not worry." Said the King. "Go into the house." Eowyn ran ahead of them to the doors. When Gandalf, Theoden, and the others reached the threshold, she shot a glance backward. It was now that they truly saw Eowyn.
She was as close to an Elf as a mortal can get. Her radiant blonde mane shone with the brilliance of the sun breaking out of clouds. Fair she was, and yet strong. Orlando nearly cried out in agony for what he knew was to come.
"Oh, it isn't as dark as I thought." Theoden said, snapping everyone back to reality.
"Yes, but it will become that way." Gimli said mournfully.
"What does the dwarf mean?" Theoden asked as he watched his people busily racing around in the village.
"With the counsel of Grima, my lord is going into darkness. There will be a battle. I-I know it." Legolas cried.
Speaking of my rede*, here he comes now." Theoden frowned.
Hama, the guard our friends had earlier met came out followed by two other guards. The others held a pale, sickly figure between them. Wormtongue. He opened his mouth to speak.
"You went far enough, serpent!" Sir Ian cried before Grima had the chance to speak. "How long have you been Saruman's? At what price? And when all the men were dead, you were to take your desired women?" Wormtongue's eyes glittered.
Eomer leapt up now. "Even if you did, the one you desire wouldn't let you!" Theoden cast a glance at the door Eowyn had gone in.
"It is all right, Rider of the Mark. She is safe." He returned his gaze to Wormtongue's icy stare. "You, either ride into battle or go off wherever you'd like." The creature pondered this for a long time. He rose, narrowed his eyes to slits, and hissed. To end this grotesque image, he spat before Theoden's feet and bounded down a flight of stairs.
"After him!" Theoden cried. Eomer, Hama, and one of the two guards ran after Grima. The other of the two rushed to get water from a well and wash away the saliva that so horridly defiled the stones.
Later on, in the eventide, all sat down to a feast. "Saruman has been using a kindly mask, as a crocodile uses its tears to ensnare you in his trap. He is an enemy of Sauron, yet wants something important for himself." Gandalf said. "Wormtongue had fooled you for quite some time. If not for Eomer, son of Eomund, you would be killed."
"Aye," said the King. "Now, choose anything in my kingdom. Say the word and it's yours."
"I'd very much like Shadowfax." Sir Ian smiled. "He is swift and sure, and we are friends."
"Very good choice." Theoden laughed. "He is yours. And for your friends, I have armor and weapons." Guards came in, putting the helms, swords, and other trinkets into the hands of Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir.
“We now will go.” Theoden said, the laugh in his voice gone. “But I fear this is my last ride into the heart of the enemy. My son lies dead.” He turned to Hama. “In whom do my people trust?”
“In the House of Eorl.” Came the reply.
“Certainly not Eomer! He is to come into battle! And he is the last!” Boomed the king.
“Not so, milord!” Hama chuckled, slightly astonished. “Why there is yet his sister, Eowyn. The people love her. Brave and fearless she is but also kind and beautiful.”
Theoden turned to his niece. “It is settled then.” He drew forth his sword. “We ride!”
They walked to the outside where a great multitude waited for them. A figure ran to stride next to Gimli. “My dwarf friend, do not let my words about the elf, er, Lady Galadriel hinder our friendship at all. I wish peace from you.”
John bowed. “It is given. If you ever happen to see her, make sure you think of her as the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.”
“I will.”
Theoden turned to Sir Ian. “Now my friend, I give you your gift.”
Sir Ian spoke up, “The horse is out in the field, I’m the only one to handle it.” He smiled. A whistle blew across the grassy fields to Shadowfax’s awaiting ear. He knew it was time. The horse galloped toward the party of soldiers with alarming speed. When next to the wizard, he knew everything was all right. Gandalf Greyhame put a foot in the stirrup and leapt up onto the beautiful stallion’s back.
“I love this part.” Orlando whispered jokingly.
“I know.” John couldn’t resist. “It’s so sweet!” He cooed.
“What is?” Hama said.
“Oh… nothing…” Was the embarrassed answer.
“Behold the White Rider!” Viggo cried.
Orli, John, Hama, and the rest of the group took up the cry. “Long live our King and the White Rider!”
“Yah!” King Theoden cried into the stirred air, digging into his horse’s flanks. The great army dashed off with alarming speed.
A figure in white stood on the stair of Theoden’s keep. A tear trickled down her face. Eowyn waved softly. “Farewell, Lord of the Golden Hall.”