The Official Fanfiction University of Middle-earth: Part LV
by Camilla Sandman
Part Fifty-Five: Interactive Learning Week and Why Silence is a Virtue

Sometimes it seems certain that the fates conspire to get everything just right. Pouring rain when you have to be outside, brilliant sunshine when you must be inside. No stampedes when you are bored and cold use the entertainment, three stampedes at once when you are in a hurry and have to get to class. And of course assembly outside, in the rain, when all you want to do is snuggle up to a dwarf.

"Good morning," Miss Cam said, smiling in that odd, creepy way that usually had mini-Balrogs taking cover. "I hope we woke you all up from pleasant sleep."

"Yes," Kye muttered, looking down at her newly curled feet hair (hobbits took great pride in that). It had been shaped as an F, as Kye was quite the Frodo Fan, but the rain had ruined the hard work.

"Wonderful. Now, Elrond and I had a little talk and realised that all the learning difficulties the students have had have been our fault."

"Really?" Mouse asked hopefully. Lina sighed. Never get your hopes up at OFUM. They were always crushed, as surely as a stampede occurred when Legolas appeared.

"Yes," Elrond replied. "We have been too nice."

"Why do I not like the sound of that?" Dot whispered to Lina.

"Because you have been at this University a long time now and know Elrond."

"Good point."

"Also, we have not given you enough opportunities to participate," Elrond went on. "Thus we declare Interactive Learning Week for opened. There will be no normal classes, but many activities the teachers have agreed upon. I am confident you will find them all most stimulating. A few of you seem to have complained that there is s little sport here at OFUM. So today we thought we'd start off with The Middle-earth Language Orientation Run."

Nen looked annoyed and oozed a bit about having no feet to run with. Lina was not quite sure what exactly Nen was, but she was quite sure she did not want to find out.

"That's right kiddies," Miss Cam kept on smiling. "You will be divided into groups of four. Each group will have a map, written in Westron of course. You will then go to each post marked on your map and pick up the clues, which will be in a variety of different languages. The clues put together will give you the place where Elrond and myself will be waiting. We will then give you a pass to be allowed entry into the University again. If any of you run into trouble, we have a few mini-Balrog rescue groups about. Just holler in anguish when you need help."

"They will delight in saving you," Elrond said, exchanging a glance with Miss Cam. They both smirked.

Lina sighed as she was put into a group with Daydreamer, Marina and Jessica. Although she was fairly lucky. Dot looked slightly desperate at being paired with Cy 'Supah Chaos' who was known for making even the One Ring look sweet and caring once a month. OFUM sure attracted some 'colourful' people. It even attracted people doing field studies in the weirdness, Ally being the latest (she claimed she was studying it for purposes of improving humour writing. Lina suspected she just liked seeing people whimper under the hard stare of Lord Elrond).

"Couldn't we just follow Elrond and Miss Cam and find that spot they'll be waiting at that way?" Julia (the human, they had an elf by that name also) whispered to nearby students.

"I wouldn't recommend it," the rock by her feet said as it morphed into Shadow. "But by all means, do try."

"Come on, Julia," Moriagen said. "Maybe Glorfindel or Legolas is out wandering and we can rescue them."

Lina saw Miss Cam narrow her eyes, having heard the rescue remark. Uh oh. That was sure to mean trouble later on for sure.

The groups spread about, some trying to figure out the map, others just wandering on random, obviously hoping to trip over the posts by chance. Lina and Marina (who claimed to be Valar, which could be handy) quickly deducted that the first post was at the garrison in Minas Tirith and the group trotted off. It had finally stopped raining, the sun coming out to watch the show.

It was wet and miserable and quite muddy as they wandered, quite often hearing another annoyed yell of "I broke my nail/high-heeled shoe/glittering 'I love Legolas' banner". Two students could be heard arguing over how far it was to Rivendell where they thought the clue was ('Two days!" "Two weeks!"), neither being near the correct answer of course.

Barlog the Balrog acted a rescue central, being tall and able to see far. Sadly, whenever someone actually was in trouble the mini-Balrogs would have to wait for him to finish laughing before he could point them in the right direction. Wilderness wandering was not the easiest of things to do and plenty needed rescuing, which did indeed delight the mini-Balrogs.

"It seems so easy in the film and the book," Daydreamer muttered.

"That's because you're watching other people do it," nearby Ne-chan replied, smacking another insect buzzing near her face. "What is this, an insect convention?" (Actually, it was. The Annual Meeting of Insect Recognition was gathered to demand the attention they deserved. No true wandering in the wild was complete without them there to annoy, after all. Yet so often fanfic authors forgot them.)

"Hey, I have an idea. I am the Lady of the Dragons, I'll just summon Smaug," Marina said after a while. "We can ride on him!"

"No, don't." Jessica began, but too late.


There was a rumble.

There was a loud, sorting sound.

There was a strong gush of wind as strong claws gripped her and the rest of the group.

And then suddenly the ground looked very small and almost lego-like from above.

Smaug snorted.

"He says 'Smaug happy to fly you around and if you would support S.I.C.T.N.I.T.M he'd be delighted'," Harle the mini-Sky-Dragon translated, buzzing about near.

"Loooo-ovely. Ow," Lina whimpered, looking down. They were really soaring high. "Could he not hold me so haa-aard? Ow."

Immediately the grip loosened - a bit too much.

'Note to self: Shut up. Speaking means pain. Silence is a virtue,' Lina thought grimly and whimpered as she fell. Hey, she could see Morgoth and Sauron from here; it looked like they were practising. Walking on a catwalk? What the.?

Here came the ground.

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