Battle of Wise and Powerful Mentors:
Gandalf studiously pours over the old maps and tomes of the library by candlelight. He takes a deep drag from his long-stemmed pipe. The Shire tobac is smooth, but it does little to ease his nerves at this time. He wants to make sure the plan is perfect. This catastrophic convergence of worlds is spiraling toward a climax that will destroy them all. He hopes Theoden was able to reach the Dark One. He may be the only one who can save them all. The old wizard is tired. Since the beginning of time, Gandalf has had a hand in vanquishing evil in its many forms, but he has never seen a threat so perilous as this. Setting down his pipe, he attempts to rub the fatigue from his eyes. When he lowers his hands he sees darkness. Strange. There are no windows in this part of the library, nor ventilation. Gandalf mutters something under his breath and the candles relight. Gandalf is surprised to see a large, moist leaf lying across the desk. The dry, stale smell of the library somehow seems musty now… humid. The candles flicker and go out again. Gandalf searches the darkness, but sees nothing. Again, he relights the candles with a simple spell. The room of the library is now covered in foliage. Vines and huge leaves cover the book shelves and walls. The smell of dampness is overpowering now, but there is an odd coolness in the air. Gandalf pulls his grey cloak over his white robe and grabs his magic staff, warily. The candles blow out quickly this time and Gandalf impatiently yells, “Show yourself, conjurer! Do not toy with me!” Gandalf can hear and sense life now. Abundant life. The darkness begins to illuminate, slightly. His eyes adjust to the dimly lit place and he sees that he is in a dense swamp. He hears a strange, strangled voice say, “Welcome to Dagobah.”
Gandalf locates his addressor on a nearby large rock. He is small and green with long pointed ears and is wearing a drab, brown robe. He holds a crooked walking stick. Wrinkles cover his head and face and his sharp eyes display the wisdom of many years. “You are Yoda, I presume.” The Jedi Master nods in response to the wizard’s comment and says, “Questions, I have for you, wizard.” Gandalf smiles warmly, “Please, call me Gandalf.” He takes a step forward and Yoda raises a halting hand, “Your weapons, you will not need them.” Gandalf hesitates, looking down at his staff. He looks back up at Yoda and smiles innocently, “Oh, you would not part an old man from his walking stick…” Yoda’s eyes narrow slightly. He looks down at his own walking stick and back to the old man. Yoda: “Hmph.. Come.” As Gandalf walks up toward the rock, Yoda falls in next to him. Gandalf can’t help but notice the strange coolness about the swamp air. Normally a place such as this is warm. And he wonders to himself how so much life can grow in a place with so little light. He pulls his grey cloak tighter over his shoulders. As they walk, Yoda speaks, “Why I have summoned you, you are wondering.” Gandalf answers, “A great evil threatens both of our worlds. If we do not stop it, we will all be destroyed. I have been studying the histories…” Yoda cuts him off, “Yes. A great deal, you seem to know about our world.” There is a hint of contempt in Yoda’s voice that is not lost on Gandalf. “Tell me.. wizard.. your interference in this matter. To what aim are you hoping for?” Gandalf blinks, but keeps walking. “The preservation of Middle Earth. A great evil from your world threatens everything. He seeks…” Again, Yoda interrupts, “From our world?! It is on your world that I sense a great evil!” Gandalf’s voice goes quiet, “Yes.. yes. There is a powerful relic.” His voice strengthens, “That is why we must stop this evil!” Yoda: “The fate of your world, why should it concern me?” Gandalf stops walking and looks at Yoda. “Middle Earth will be destroyed. Unlike your ‘Jedi’, we can not simply flee to another star system when evil threatens our world.” Yoda furrows his brow and angrily says, “Nothing, do you know of our world! Hide, we did not out of fear, but of necessity! We had to protect the twins!” Gandalf considers Yoda’s words, trying to remember the histories he read. His face slowly grows grim. Yoda sees the enlightenment on Gandalf’s face and says, “Yes.. your world is what destroyed them! Hope for the future is lost, with the death of the Skywalkers!” Gandalf: “No… there is another…” Yoda’s eyes narrow further, “Who?! Him?!” He gestures toward a tree across a large pond and dense foliage clears away at his pointing stick. There, wrapped and hanging in thick vines, is Aragorn.
Aragorn’s arms are pulled out wide, his legs bound together straight. His limp head hangs down with the hair of his tangled beard matted against his chest. “Aragorn!!”, Gandalf yells. He directs his gaze at the Jedi Master, “To what purpose have you done this?! Anger?! Vengeance?! These are the reasons your world threatens ours so!” Yoda: “Oh-hoo! And what of the greed and corruption of your world! A simple trinket, you fools vie for!” Gandalf: “The One Ring is no trinket, Jedi! In the wrong hands it can tear the universe apart! It is the reason our worlds are in great peril!!” Yoda, cold and quiet, “Thought of that, you should have… Before you killed the twins.” Gandalf, incredulously: “You would abandon reason for madness?!” Yoda answers by slowly pulling open his brown robe and grabbing his lightsaber. A green light springs out and the Jedi assumes a stern battle stance. Gandalf assumes a discouraged look of resignation. Holding his staff before him, he whispers something and the staff becomes a sword. Yoda appears unsurprised. With a look of sadness, Gandalf faces his opponent and says, “Very well. Try to destroy me, Jedi.” With complete confidence, Yoda replies, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
* * * * *
The wizard is completely bewildered by the Jedi’s skill with the lightblade. A small, green blur, Yoda flips and spins in the air, swinging his green lightsaber. Gandalf struggles mightily to defend himself, and is unable to find an opportunity to counterattack. Knowing he is outmatched in physical combat, he tries to change the match. Quickly reconverting his sword into his magic staff, he aims it at Yoda and uses magic to force the Jedi back. Yoda flies into the air and slides thirty feet back from Gandalf. Yoda gets up calmly, “Ooooh. Strong, the Force is with you… But not strong enough.” With that, he aims a three-fingered hand at the wizard and forces him back hard fifty feet. Gandalf lands roughly and is stunned by the Jedi’s power. While still on the ground, he leans up and points his staff at Yoda, sending him into a nearby tree. Yoda falls to all fours and shakes his head. Just as Gandalf is struggling to his feet, he is sent flying again to his left. He lands, feet first, in soft mud. Before he knows it, the mud is up to his waist. He realizes he is sinking in quicksand.
As Yoda watches, Gandalf looks around for a means of escape. A dragonfly flies by his head and he quickly snatches it. Covering it with both hands, he holds it up to his face, hastily whispers something, and sets it free. Yoda advances slowly while Gandalf continues to sink. Yoda speaks at the fringe of the quicksand, “Undignified, this death would be for you. Skywalker… a chance to fight, at least he had.” Gandalf: “Don’t you see that you are succumbing to his very fate?! You tried to teach the boy yourself that vengeance can only lead to evil!” Yoda: “Sad, am I, that the twins are dead. Even angry… yes. But vengeance.. my motive is not.” The sand is up to Gandalf’s chest now. He looks confused as Yoda continues, “Strong, is your world. Fight it’s pull, I can. Very strong with the Force, am I. But the others… sucked in, they have become. Destroy you, I must or we will all be destroyed.” Gandalf: “No! I think I have found a way to save both our worlds!” Gandalf’s beard is touching the mud. Yoda: “Help you out, I will. Then, continue our fight, we must.” Gandalf’s eyes look up briefly. He looks back at Yoda and says, “I won’t need your help.” He reaches up his hands just as a large flying swamp bat flies low over his head and grabs him, pulling him out of the sand. Yoda glares at the wizard as he flies away.
* * * * *
Gandalf is carried for several hundred feet by the swamp bat before he commands the beast to bring him down to the ground. He gently pets the creature while pondering how to rescue Aragorn from the powerful Jedi Master. His grey cloak is heavy with mud. He starts to take it off, but stops as he hears a rustle in the trees behind him. Looking back, he sees Yoda up high, springing from tree to tree in the distance closing in fast. Pulling his cloak back on, he quickly mounts the swamp bat and takes flight, turning the creature back in the direction of Aragorn, where Yoda is fast approaching from. Readying his staff, he flies straight for the Jedi. Yoda skillfully spins in the air, swinging his lightsaber toward Gandalf. Gandalf is able to block it with his staff as Yoda flips past. Yoda catches a tree branch and back flips far onto the head of the bat, facing Gandalf. The bat lets out a screech. Wide-eyed, Gandalf swings his staff and knocks Yoda from the flying bat. Yoda tumbles on the ground, rolling up to his feet.
Gandalf can see Aragorn, bound to the vines up ahead. Yoda, making chase again, holds up a hand and two large trees bend inward in front of the swamp bat. It hits the branches, letting out a shriek, as Gandalf is thrown back off his mount. Using his power, he is able to slow his fall a bit, but still lands in a hard crouch. His head lowered, he slowly looks up. Filth covers his face and hair. His cloak is completely covered in mud. His eyes look dangerous, like a cornered tiger. He sees Yoda approaching, an unwavering confidence and determination set in his face. Gandalf throws back his muddy grey cloak, revealing his bright white robe and stands with his staff emitting a bright light, illuminating the dim swamp. “I am a servant of the secret fire! Wielder of the flame of Anor!” Yoda covers his eyes with his brown cloak and yells, “Bright light! Bright light!” Gandalf: “Go back to the shadow!” Yoda runs for cover from the light, looking for somewhere dark to hide, continuing to yell, “Bright light! Bright light!” After Yoda is out of sight, Gandalf reduces the brightness of his light, and looks, ponderingly after the Jedi. Something else from the histories seems to be tickling at the corner of his mind. He turns and heads toward Aragorn.
* * * * *
Gandalf has made it back to the large pond where Aragorn is bound. His sterling white robe strikes a sharp contrast in the dark, muddy swamp. He maintains a glow of light from his staff, less brilliant than that which repelled Yoda, but sufficient to light his way. At the edge of the pond he points his staff toward Aragorn and the vines start to bring the unconscious king toward Gandalf. The vines gently roll Aragorn onto the ground beside Gandalf, and the wizard kneels down to examine the man. He pats Aragorn’s face, “Aragorn. Wake up, king of Gondor. We need to find a way back home.” Aragorn slowly starts to open his eyes. He looks up at Gandalf and briefly smiles at the wizard. Then he looks past Gandalf and his eyes start to widen as a shadow covers them both. Grabbing the wizard, Aragorn rolls hard to his side just as a massive rock slams down on the ground where Gandalf had just been crouching over his body. Gandalf looks around quickly and spies Yoda on the far side of the pond. He scrambles to his feet and aims his staff, brightening the light in the Jedi’s direction. The illumination reveals that Yoda has on a blindfold, cut from his own brown robe, tied around his eyes. Aragorn takes a step toward the Jedi and Gandalf stops him, “This foe is beyond you! Run! Quickly!” Aragorn hesitates and is suddenly sent flying by a head-sized rock hitting him in the abdomen. He doubles over, coughing up blood. Gandalf aims his staff at an oncoming rock and the rock suspends in air. Gandalf attempts to send it back at Yoda, but it simply wavers in mid air between the two warriors, shaking violently as the two impose their will upon it. The rock cracks and falls to pieces in the pond. Yoda’s face looks briefly discouraged, but is quickly replaced by calm. “Surprises, I have yet for you.” The Jedi starts walking toward the pond. He steps onto the water and walks halfway over the pond. Yoda puts his arms out and suddenly drops, submerging himself in the pond.
Gandalf looks at the pond with confusion. He looks over at Aragorn and hastily says, “Hide, boy! Quickly!” Aragorn crawls behind a large nearby tree. Gandalf looks back to the pond and notices a bubble come up to the surface. Two more bubbles. The bubbles multiply and soon the entire pond is bubbling violently. A small, ball-shaped object shoots out of the pond. And another. And another. Balls are shooting out rapidly all over the place. Aragorn is seen peeking around the tree, his eyes wide. Gandalf sees that the first balls are starting to unravel and Yoda-looking creatures are coming to their feet. They look in his direction. Gandalf whispers to himself, “Fly, you fool!”
* * * * *
Gandalf runs from the pond, his white robe fluttering with his haste. Hundreds of small green monsters can be seen behind him making chase. Flicker… Suddenly Gandalf is running in the Mines of Moria from hundreds of Goblins. Gandalf looks confused as he runs. Something feels unnatural. Flicker… He is back in Dagobah running from Gremlins. He is greatly disturbed by this occurrence, but is not afforded the time to ponder on it. He sees a very large fallen tree, spanning a deep, dark chasm ahead. He emits a bright light from his staff to slow the creatures as he runs. The monsters shield their eyes with their arms and continue running after the wizard. Gandalf makes it far across the tree and turns to face the horde. Glancing above their arms, they tentatively step onto the tree. Gandalf speaks loudly, “You can not pass!” Flicker… Gandalf is standing down the Balrog at the Bridge of Khazad-dum. The fiery Balrog spreads its wings and puffs out its chest, bursting into larger flame. Flicker… Gandalf is standing down hundreds of Gremlins at a large tree bridge. They hiss and laugh at the wizard, continuing to advance. “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!” Gandalf slams down his staff on the tree, a white spark marking its place. The Gremlins are laughing maniacally now. They charge, climbing over one another to get the wizard. About a hundred feet separates the two ends of the bridge. Gandalf watches as every monster steps upon the tree, screaming as they run. The giant tree suddenly cracks and breaks in two. The monsters scream, many attempting to scurry up the broken halves of the tree as they fall away into darkness. Gandalf exhales heavily.
* * * * *
It takes Gandalf several hours to find his way around the chasm and back to the pond where Aragorn had been. Gandalf makes good use of that time, searching his memory for clues in the histories. As he approaches the pond, a look of sadness comes over his face as he sees Yoda using the Force to hold Aragorn hard against a tree, a lightsaber pointing at the king’s heart. His blindfold is gone and his back is turned to Gandalf, “Felt your presence, I did. Impressive, are you, to evade my minions. This, I wanted you to see. Your precious king to fall, as I had to watch young Skywalker meet his fate.” Gandalf speaks, “I recalled much of the histories while trekking back here.” Yoda: “Already, I have told you! You must be destroyed, or destroy us all, your world will!” Gandalf: “Yes… I thought you might say that… But… there’s something else I remembered from the histories.” Yoda partially turns his head toward the wizard as the Gandalf finishes his sentence, “How to destroy YOUR KIND!!” With that, he raises his staff up high looking to the sky. A brilliant cone of white light shoots up from his staff, parting the trees and cutting through the dense mist. The mist dissolves and bright sunlight pours into the swamp. Yoda, with a look of terror, starts screaming as the sun beam bathes his body. Smoke rises from the Jedi’s skin, as Aragorn slumps to the ground, released from Yoda’s power. Yoda’s skin starts to blister and his robe catches fire. He spins madly, screaming in pain. He sees the pond and makes a quick step toward it, but Aragorn catches his leg. The king holds Yoda as the small green creature writhes and screams. Eventually, Yoda’s screams subside. After several seconds of silence, Yoda’s body fades leaving only a charred robe on the ground.
* * * * *
Some time later, after the two men have gathered themselves, they talk about the events that have and may yet transpire. Aragorn: “So the images.. the flickers… they are rips in reality?” Gandalf: “So to speak. When their world and ours began to interact, it started a chain reaction, causing further interactions between our people. This repeated interaction is leading to a paradox.” Aragorn: “I don’t understand.” Gandalf: “Our worlds are so similar that the line between their reality and ours is becoming blurred. If it is not stopped…” Aragorn: “What will happen?” Gandalf: “I really do not know. Events have been set into motion that may destroy us all. But there is hope, yet. I have counseled Samwise Gamgee, he knows what he must do. Our fate rests, again, in the hands of two Hobbits… and another. May Theoden have been true to his task.”
After their discussion, Aragorn looks around, “So, how are we going to get out of this place?” Gandalf, with a twinkle in his eye, “I’m going to try a new trick.” Standing in front of the pond, the sunlight beaming across it, Gandalf raises his staff and mutters a chant. Small droplets begin to form on the surface of the pond and they fly straight up into the air. The pond is raining upwards! As the drops continue to fall up, a beautiful rainbow takes shape against the sunlit rainfall. Aragorn looks on, his mouth open in wonder, a smile touching the corners of his mouth. Gandalf looks to the king and winks, “Come, we must hurry back.” He motions Aragorn over to the edge of the pond where Gandalf has stepped up onto the rainbow. It appears to lead straight up into the sky. As the two men start walking up, a small green figure catches the corner of their eyes in the pond. Quickly turning, ready to strike, the king and the wizard look into the pond and see a frog sitting on a log in the pond with a banjo in its lap. It sings, ”Why are there so many.. songs about rainbows.. and what’s on the ooother siiide?..” The men look at each other, shake their heads, and continue walking up the rainbow.
**Gandalf remembers how to deal with Gremlins and beats Yoda** (Star Wars 6, LotR 6)