title art by Esme
TITLE: The Princess and the Tower
SUMMARY: A parody of an Angel the Series and the Fellowship of the Ring: the Two Towers crossover. This is a sequel to the Princess on the Plain. Coming back from Pylea things go awry for our fearless AI team, and they meet heroes from another time and place. Aragorn and Company have sent AI to find the evil wizard and attempt to return to Los Angeles.
SERIES: Princess Parodies II. To read the previous story, go here:The Princess on the Plain
DISCLAIMER: I own no one and no profit is made. Joss Whedon and J.R.R.T. are brilliant.
RATING: verbal snark.
DISTRIBUTION: Shadows and Dust, and Twisting the Hellmouth.
DEDICATION: To Esme who shares my love of the Lord of the Rings, and for all her hard work with the S&D sites. Babe, you rock.
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It wasn’t every day that impeccable evil schemes were foiled by foliage. Most evil wizards were thwarted by heroes in shining armor or at least a spectacular light show of magnificent power. But no, Saruman the White got his tail handed to him on an iron platter by a bunch of pissy trees with attitude problems. And to make matters worse, he appeared to be held hostage in his tower by said herbs on speed.
Granted it was a very nice tower, with all sorts of interesting things to read and investigate, if he hadn’t spent the last few thousand years doing just that. Sure, the décor was suitably gothic and imposing, with nice hooks to hang up unsuspecting orcs when they didn’t play nicely. Honestly, he’d have thought Gandalf-the-obviously-mentally-handicapped, would have figured out the whole ‘evil’ thing a lot earlier, what with the whole razor sharp nails and sneering manner. He couldn’t believe that it took a magic crystal ball to do him in, of all things. Okay, so it was a magic crystal ball of Doom, but hey, still just a rock. The sinister demeanor was much more in your face.
He sighed and turned away from the balcony to scan the room behind once again. He scrunched his nose up in a very undignified squint when his eyes fell on Grima Wormtongue. He really had to choose better minions in the future, because this one seemed to have a serious eye-leaking problem and atrocious personal grooming. As the White Wizard of the order, Saruman paid great attention to his wardrobe. Most people didn’t understand the amount of effort it took to keep his whites shining white with the deplorable lack of sanitation that this Third Age had going on. And now this Wormtongue creature wanted to make up his failure by sniveling all over his hems. It would take hours to get those sparkly again. With a great flare of irritation he yanked his outwear out of the slimy fellow’s greasy little hands.
“The trees are moving again. Go down and find out what’s going on.” He tilted his head in what he thought was a particularly scathing sneer and swept regally to his throne. Sure, Wizards didn’t usually do thrones, but if he was going to be the right hand of old Flamey, he’d better do it right. Grima bobbed few times and scuttled to the door and down the stairs.
The hallway was very creepy, and already Grima was thinking this whole ‘evil minion’ thing over again. Originally, the White Lady of Rohan was a perfectly good exchange for an eternity of servitude, but now that little courtship was out of the window. He wasn’t all that pleased with turning her in for a White Wizard that didn’t appreciate a good grovel. Groveling was rapidly becoming a lost art, and if Saruman couldn’t see how lucky he was, well, then maybe he’d go find someone who did. Just as soon as he could figure out how to leave the tower without becoming Ent mulch.
He peeked around the doorframe, and spied something all together strange. The miniature little men called Hobbits seemed in quite a tizzy over something and he leaned a bit closer to hear.
“I tell you, Merry, I can hear something! Call over Treebeard and have him hoist us up.” Merry shook his head. “Pleeeeease, Merry, I’m bored. We’ve already smoked most of that evil guy’s personal pipe weed and I’m hungry.” Pouting, Pippin looked at his friend with huge puppy dog eyes until Merry relented. The large Ent came ambling over at their call and hoisted the Hobbits to his shoulder. What they saw caused Pippin to come tumbling down with a squeak. “It’s a moving land ship! A metal moving land ship! Hide!” He scrambled to his feet and hid under one of Treebeard’s lower branches. The Ent in question wasn’t about to make a hasty decision about hiding or not hiding, so he stayed right were he was. Being hasty got you chopped down and made into furniture, something he had no interest in being involved in.
Said moving metal land ship coasted through the outer ring of Isengard and rolled to a stop. A window rolled down, and a perky English voice called out, “Hey there! Is this the home of Saruman? We’re looking for an evil wizard.”
Pippin crawled out from under Treebeard and glared at the newcomers suspiciously. “Yes, this is where Saruman is kept. What do you want with him?”
The metal land boat gradually began emptying; first out was the speaker. “A fellow we met a few days ago named Strider sent us this way. Seemed to think he could help.”
The hobbits both brightened considerably at this. “Strider! So he’s alright then?”
The foreign man shrugged. “Seemed to be, or at least he was last we saw.”
A striking woman in a slightly bedraggled gold bikini stalked out of the car, glaring at everyone and everything. “Yeah he was fine, last we saw. Had a nummy looking elf and a gutter-minded dwarf with him. We would have been here sooner if someone hadn’t taken the wrong turn at the smoldering pile of corpses- Angel. You were all, Oh look, pretty meadows of flowers that way, lets go see! Thank god Fred knew how to make burritos out of lichen or we’d be screwed.” The other girl in their company blushed prettily.
“Um, burritos? As in small horses?” A voice from the top of the tree called out. The group from the metallic cart started and stared up at him.
“My goodness, more little persons.” Wesley turned to the others. “It is little persons, not midgets these days? Or is it persons of small stature… I can never remember.”
Pippin puffed out his chest. “We’re Hobbits.”
“Erm, right.” Cordelia made a dismissive motion with her not quite so perfectly manicured fingers and opened her mouth to deliver yet another exciting pronouncement only to be interrupted by a big booming voice that sounded suspiciously like Gimli the Dwarf’s.
“And what may you be? Orcs?”
The company froze, and no one moved a muscle. Finally Gunn spoke, “Dude, did that tree just talk? I mean, I gotta say, I’m not big with the wildlife thing, but I didn’t think trees talked. Like ever.”
Treebeard turned his gaze to Lorne. “You are green, little not-Orc.”
Lorne’s eyebrows climbed up to his horns. “You’re one to talk, mister tall, green and leafy.” He straightened his now smudged coat and smoothed back his hair. “Really, the nerve of some Quercus Macracarpas.” He huffed and turned his back.
Wesley tilted his head and pushed his glasses up his nose. “Quite.” He walked closer to the visibly confounded Ent and poked at its side, or trunk, or whatever. “Fascinating. It appears to be completely animated…”
Treebeard blinked owlishly down at him then grumbled, “Well, what is it you want?”
Out of nowhere, Angel chirped in with, “We want... a shrubbery!”
Giggling, Fred responded, “A what?”
In unison, Wes and Angel chimed, “Ni! Ni! Ni! Ni!”
Fred pressed her hands together in mock supplication, “Please! Please! No more! We will find you a shrubbery.”
Angel boomed out, “You must return here with a shrubbery, or else, you will never pass through this wood... alive.”
Fred countered with, “O Knights of Ni, you are just and fair, and we will return with a shrubbery.”
Angel tilted his head to one side as if in deep thought, “One that looks nice. And not too expensive. Now, go!”
The hobbits and Ent stared at the newcomers as if they’d lost their minds. Cordelia heaved a huge sigh and rearranged her tiara. “Don’t mind them, they’re tragically unhip.”
“Hey, I’ll have you know that’s a classic.” Angel sputtered with indignation.
“Whatever Super-Fang. Ok, little people, or Hobbits, or whoever. We’ve got evil sorcerers to visit so chop-chop, lead the way.” She flitted her fingers through the air as if to herd them forward. “I am not spending one more minute in this Prada-forsaken place eating gophers that Gunn caught one more day. I’ve had it. I want a bath. I want cable. I want my loofa. I want silk sheets. I want Godiva. I even want a freaking taco. So move!”
“But, Lady, you don’t understand! Saruman is an evil wizard; he’ll corrupt your mind and force you to do his evil bidding. You can’t go in there!” Pippin was visibly upset, fairly vibrating with anxiety- no mean feat for someone who had recently indulged in the most choice pipe weed he’d ever seen.
The Angel Investigations crew groaned. Cordy stood straight and tall, the late afternoon light sparking off her metal covered breasts in arcing rainbows. “Believe me, Sour-patch-man has another thing coming if he thinks he can mess with my mind. No one, I mean no one, messes with Queen C.” Tossing her hair back, she waved to her entourage and strode to the looming door into the base of the tower. Angel shrugged apologetically at their audience as Cordy began banging on the door knocker with all her strength.
Lorne glanced around and tapped Angel on the shoulder. “If you don’t mind, Big Guy, I’ll just stay out here, and make sure the hedges don’t come a knocking. I have enough going on in my noggin that I don’t want any evil dudes messing around.”
Angel shrugged. “Whatever Lorne, maybe the Hobbits want to do a little sing along.”
Merry and Pippin perked up. “Sing along? Like pub songs? We like singing!”
The Ent rumbled a bit and began to sway back and forth. “Oh! My! Singing; I never did get to sing for you about the wonderful virtues of the crystal brooks of my seedling years!”
He began wheezing and creaking happily, and Lorne dropped his head to his hands. “Why me?”
Cordelia’s whacking on the door handle finally produced results. It swung open to reveal Grima smiling what he believed to be an engaging smile. “Come in, come in, my master is expecting you,” he intoned solemnly. He was particularly pleased with the acoustics in the entry hall; they gave his voice just the right ring. Not too weasely, not too grim. Just right. Like the porridge his mother used to make. Mmm, porridge.
Cordy rolled her eyes. “Who are you, Renfield? Ew. Don’t touch me. And it’s not like we were being quiet.” The rest of the crew shuffled in behind her.
Wes looked around, eyes darting this way and that. “Homey.” He tapped the simpering creature in black robes on the shoulder. “Could you point me to the library?”
A bit taken aback at the stranger’s lack of fear, Grima indicated a long room full of scrolls. Wes squeaked with delight and disappeared within, followed closely by Fred. There was nothing better than an afternoon with scrolls. Well, maybe an afternoon with scrolls and a pretty lady. Who cared that there was an evil wizard waiting to bend their minds to unspeakable evil acts. Unless they were evil acts with scrolls. Or not- that was sort of a disturbing image. Angel and Gunn flopped down on benches by the door as Cordy glanced regally around. “So, nice… Fortress of solitude you’ve got going on. What, your master decided to go for the Man of Steel look?” Grima blinked.
“My master wishes to see you. Once you enter this tower you can never leave.” He indicated the stairwell. Cordy rolled her eyes again.
Angel glanced in her direction. “Want some help Cordy?”
She flashed a million watt smile his way. “No need, Angel. I’ve got this one all covered.” She climbed the flights of stairs after the scuttling Grima and came out in a large circular room. Sitting across the open space was a glowery old man, long white hair and impressive robes.
“Welcome, I am Sauruman.” //You will bow down and serve me.//
Cordy rolled her eyes, yet again. “Whatever. We’re here borrowing some books, hope you don’t mind.” She settled elegantly down on the seat closest to the door. Crossing her legs, she waved her hand at Grima. “You are dismissed.” The toady in question glared at her as he stalked out of the throne room.
Sauruman-the-borderline-dingy-taupe glared at her. “That was my minion.” //Impudent wench! Bow and Serve!//
“Boy do you need to put an ad out in help wanted. He sucks. No polish.” She examined her nails. “You have a nail file? I seem to have lost mine.” The wizard gaped before rooting around in his side table. It was a relief to finally find someone who understood proper nail care. They had to be sharpened just right or they caught on his clothing, too dull and they just couldn’t scratch the eyeballs out of disobedient servants the way he preferred. He found what he was looking for and tossed it across the room. She caught it deftly, “Never underestimate personal grooming.”
Sauruman arched his eyebrows. “Indeed.” //What is with you! I want you on your knees… or erm, not that way. Though that has its merit too… You are now my minion! Obey me!//
Cordelia turned her graceful neck as if listening to something. “Did you hear that? Sounded like an insect, going all ‘buzz buzz’.” She continued filing her nails.
//Insect! Well, I never!// “I heard no insect, my lady. Perhaps I could offer you some refreshment?” The wizard hopped up and scrounged around in the cupboard all the time sending her dirty looks. //So what is so powerful in her mind that she could resist the call of The Great and Powerful White Wizard? Let’s see…// Suddenly, Sauruman covered his ears with a shriek. “No more, no more, I beg you to stop! Leave my tower at once!”
The Princess grinned evilly and stood with grace. “Are you sure? I’m having a lovely time.” He waved his hands in her general direction, squeezing his eyes shut tight.
“Just go! Leave me to face my fate in peace!” He whimpered and hid behind his throne. Cordelia Chase flashed another brilliant smile and trotted down the stairs. Wesley had just emerged from the library, Fred in tow, obviously engaged in some obscure reading material.
“We’ve got it. Everything alright with the wizard?” Angel held the door open for the team. Cordy nodded brightly.
“Yup. Funny thing, the man doesn’t like slumber parties. We just relieved every single one I ever went to. All that fun to be had with pre-teen angst? No appreciation for the finer things in life.” The group broke out in grins. Books in hand they were homeward bound.
~~~ The End~~~
For the title art to this piece, please click: Esme's Princess Parody Art