The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth
By Camilla Sandman
Disclaimer: All Tolkien's. I don't own Middle-earth or its characters, but they're happy to camp out at my place any time they like.
Somewhere – it does not really matter where – a girl was turning on her computer. Red hair fell down her back as she absentmindedly brushed it off her face. Sitting down, she opened her word program and began typing, her fingers softly tapping against the keyboard. The girl was Lina Holling, one of many, many LotR addicts and fanfic writers.
Imagine… Space. Darkness scattered with small dots of light everywhere. They may seem small in this great nothingness, like the occasional oases in a huge desert, far in between. But they are beautiful, their light travelling far, far, far…
Imagine… One of these stars. It is not one of the biggest, or one of the smallest, it shines faithfully like it has done since the day it came about. Around this stars circles several planets, and one of them has life. Imagine…The planet. From space it looks like a blue-green-whitish pearl, but coming closer, continents and the sea would come into view. Then mountains, lakes, rivers, houses… Life. Mashes, snow clad mountains, forests, plains; a huge variety of living conditions. And everywhere there is life. Imagine…
Humans. Elves. Dwarves. Dragons. Haflings. Orcs. Demons. Wizards. In a world like this, magic does not only exist, but thrives.
Imagine…The magic. Every stone, every three, every lake, every river, every sunrise, every cloud, every sunset - magic. Not magic as we know it, but magic in the very existence. Imagine…
This wonderful world, so pure, so unspoiled…
Hold on. Something seems to be wrong, it seems there is a.. A gate? A locked gate. It has a sign on it.
“You cannot pass – until you have passed.”
Lina blinked, her gaze fixed on the screen. Surely she had not just written that? Not, she had to have dozed off and…
A discreet cough made her look up at the three suits who seemed to suddenly appeared in her bedroom. For a moment she wondered if she were hallucinating, especially when the nearest man gave her a huge, somewhat creepy smile.
“Trying to write a LotR fanfic were you? Sorry, no can do. Party's over. What, you didn't really think we'd let this go on, did you?”
“Huh?” Lina managed to croak out, wondering if the tic tacs she had eaten by some weird accident had been replaced with ecstasy or something else trippy.
“Ah, it will all become clear to you. I am One, this is Two and Three. Think of us as… Representatives of Middle-earth.”
“Middle-earth?” the girl echoed, and in her head a little voice muttered sarcastically. 'You've finally snapped' it muttered. 'Had to happen.'
The man was still smiling, the kind of smile that is meant to be reassuring but really just creeps you more out.
“Never mess with a land where magic exists,” the man went on. Then he took a deep breath and launched into what had to be a pre-planned speech. “But do not despair. You can still write fanfic. All you have to do is enrol and pass The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth. OFUM offers a wide range of subjects as diverse as Evil Is as Evil Does 101 taught by the esteemed Sauron himself and Poetry 202 with highly acclaimed author of 'Merry Dol and Dong Dillo: How to keep your neighbours out'; the one and only Tom Bombadil. Our esteem teaching staff also includes other well-known residences of Middle-earth. Upon successful completion you will be given a licence to write LotR fanfic. All clear?”
Lina opened her mouth, but closed it again. She had no idea what to say.
“Good. I'm sure you'll find it… Stimulating.” If it was possible, the man seemed to smile even wider. Reaching into his briefcase, he took out a few papers and a folder.
“This is your official enrolment papers. Your ride will arrive tomorrow, if you should chose to enrol, and I'm confident you will. If not…Oh, no need for that, I'm sure you'll come aboard. Good luck miss!”The folder was pressed into her hand, and gaping Lina watched the three vanish in the blink of an eye, leaving only scattered papers on the floor. She blinked, and blinked again. The folder was still in her hands, and it felt real. It was real.
“Oh. My. God,” she muttered, flipping through the folder. “I'm mad. I'm truly gone mad. This cannot.. 'Platonic Love 101. Lecturers: Mr. Frodo Baggins and Mr. Samwise Gamgee'. No way. NO way. 'Male Bonding 202. Lecturers: Legolas, son of Thranduil and Gimli, son of Glóin.' Oh my.”
She stared at the papers on the floor. Legolas as a lecturer – now there was a hallucination worth having. What harm could it do to fill them out, right? She was just hallucinating, so it wouldn't lead to anything. Right?
To her surprise, her hand trembled when she reached for the papers. They seemed standard enough, except for a few odd questions.
“Fear of spiders Yes/No,” she read. “Chosen side Evil/Good. Preferred Dark Lord Morgoth/Sauron.”
Maybe this wasn't a hallucination, but a dream. She was probably going to wake up soon, laughing about the wacky dream she had. Yup, a dream.
Laughing, she left the filled out papers on the desk and slipped into bed. The soft covers greeted her, and she hardly noticed that the computer seemed to have turned itself off and that the papers had vanished the moment she had let go of them. Soon she slept, the last sleep she would have in her world for quite some time, for the next morning she awoke in Rohan Riding Express Carriage headed for The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth in the city of Minas Tirith.
Her screams echoed all the way to Rivendell.