Lore of the Ring, Round 40: the Book

by Laiquendi

Hidden away deep inside an old oak chest, double-padlocked and triple secure, lay a book. A big, dusty, old book.

One day a man with decidedly too much curiosity, not enough common sense and a fair smidgen of death-defying madness happened upon the big, dust old book and concluded that it needed to be opened. After several attempts with a crowbar, four broken lockpicks, two empty bottles of joint oil, a wonky hammer and one un-opened flask of fairy dust, the chest magically sprung open like a spring

Peering inside, the man intermittently spied through the dust sandstorms a thick, heavy book. Throwing caution and the dust to the wind, he delved into the pit and removed the dangerous tome. Heaving its heavy bulk from the depths, it landed rather unceremoniously on his foot, causing a yelp and a thud and a rather painful big toe.

Sucking in the dust clouds as best he could, the man blew heavily on the encaked front cover in a vain effort to discern the name engraved there upon. The word ‘The’ was all that revealed itself. Coughing, then blowing again, another ‘the’ became visible. Growing tired, and wheezy, the man got an industrial strength vacuum cleaner and sucked the dust off in one quick movement. Glistening in the gloomy daylight, the book finally named itself as:

.... and what he found there
By C. J. T. R. F. U. N. E. T. X. Smith

The front of the book was marked with deep claw scratches, a few bite marks and the impression of a damaged crown. Opening the book slowly, the faded pages creaked and crackled to show their age and worth. Gently turning the precious pages, he noted that they were marked with a few dog-ears, some rabbits-feet, two tea-stains, and a carelessly discarded scrap of velvet sash that was now used as a bookmark.

A small breeze rustled the pages briskly and before anyone was aware of it, they had separated from the spine and danced on the wind. Blowing delicately in the air the pages pranced and played amongst the dust before carefully packing their pages, signing their passports, weighing their luggage and departing on a two-week, all expenses paid holiday to the south of France.

Grabbing desperately at the pages, the man managed to catch snippets of the text as they wavered just out of reach. The last page still left in the book was the contents page, now surprisingly empty. The only remaining text was a small scribble mark on the back that said: If found, please fill in and return to the LorePossum at LorePossum@gmail.com.

The library stamp on the inside of the book stated clearly: This book must be returned by midnight on the 21st April 2008. Any later and you shall be set upon by three very well trained attack dragons. Tie-breaker repercussions will be sent out shortly there after. Under no circumstances may you discuss the contents page with anyone under pain of death by six venomous pygmy kangeroos. All terms and conditions may be found here.

Gasping agasp with a-gaspment, the man stared at the few scraps in his hands and began to study them with renewed interest. It took him a few moments to realise what he had, for it had been a very hard thud on his big toe and as everyone knows, the male brain is connected to the toes. Gasping again at the sudden realisation, the man bespoke loudly:

Who Are You?

and the pages began to speak....

1. I, ahmm, well maybe not just me but well, mostly referring to me, if you know what I mean. I am the greatest... wait, should it be greatest? I mean, there have been greater before, and well, I’m hardly one to brag, but ok... the greatest Dwarrow, erhh... Dwadle... mmm Dwiffle... mmm, erhh... How do you spell Dwarf anyway? Ohh... like that? Really? You sure? Well, ok... So I’m the greatest (and most well known) Dworph that ... wait, what does that blinking red light mean? My time’s running out? How long am I suppose to have anyway? What?! My beard’s longer than that! What do you mean “only 10 seconds left”? I haven’t even gotten to the go...

2. So here I am, needle in my hand, thread falling to the floor and fourteen different pinpricks in my thumbs. What does he think I am? A sewing machine?! Do I look like a meek and simple girl with half a brain? Wait... don’t answer that. I was out twirling a sword before he was born. I can remember back in my 900’s when I went hunting with my brothers. Yes, I did accidentally cut off one of their toes, but honestly, that hedgehog was vicious. But yet, here I am, sewing away, trying not to think of those dreamy eyes... Wait, no, argghh! Men!

3. You know, I’ve always had a bad reputation, which honestly I can not work out where it came from. Yes, I burnt a few villages, and yes, I manage to bring an entire empire to rubble, but still, that was all part of the job. It’s not my fault that I prefer dark places, what with my intransient skin condition and all. None of the new lotions have helped... I just keep getting whiter! The others aren’t any good either. You would think that eight other assistants would get the job done but sometimes I think that they just signed on for the healthcare benefits. At least I have Egbert, my trusted steed and Daisy, my lovely big lizard/pterodactyl to play with....

4. Ahah me hearties! Grrr... Arggg! What’s up me lad-o’s? Let’s have some grog! I’m a mean and nasty man with too much hair and no bathing regiment! Grrr! Let’s eat some meat straight of the sheep! Arggh! Wait... do men actually do that? Hmmm, probably, what with their lack of a brain and all. Let’s go kill something and then eat it’s kidneys with some nice parsley and risotto! Grrr! Oh god, I can’t keep this up forever. My hair’s a mess of knots, my thighs have a rash from all the leather and I’ve definitely broken at least three nails. Wait, they’re off again. More pillaging and rampaging most likely, at least they wear sensible shoes and that Gríma’s nowhere around. Giddy up! Grrr! Arggh!

5. Well, yes... hick... I am he! The great... hick... and famous-ested of Hobbbbbbbbbeets. Ahah! hick. I single-handedly fought... hick... back and front an entire gaggle of Huruk-hi! Pip was there... hick... but I think he hid under a big bush... or something. hick. Then there was the tree... hick... ents... hick... trents. Big, huge, trees. That talked! And... hick ... squashed! Followed by some big, hairy, horse- hick- men. Big battle. I think I killed about 20... hick... hundred... hick... thousand morcs! Then there was this big mouth person. Bad teeth. And another huge battle... hick ... another 100 million dead dorcs.... hick... and then we rescued... hick... the Shire! I’m the greatested of Hobbbbiiiittttss! hick! *thud*

6. I was born Eustace Jeremiah St. Trinian Slopbucket, Jr. in the lovely cesspits of home. However, during my educationary years my fellow peers fell into a nasty habit of shortening my name to Eu Slopbucket. Following my formative years and an ‘unfortunate’ incident during training, they begrudgingly agreed to call me something more appropriate. I feel it is my duty to serve, and willingly applied for the armed forces of the White Hand, rising swiftly through the ranks to leader of a whole platoon. Sadly, our leader was lost in the battle, leaving me to complete the mission he begun. The only problem I have now is dealing with the riff-raff from Lugbúrz as we head home!

7. O beauty fair, O beauty bright, O bright green leggings taunt and tight!
I stab and fight on journeys far, my arrows fly faster than a speeding car!
O beauty fair, O beauty bright, O how lovely I must be to sight!
I walk on air as light as a feather; my form-fitting top’s made of leather!
O beauty fair, O beauty bright, O Dwarf and Man with me do fight!
I love myself to three times two, and I’m sure that that’s as much as you!

8. So what were you saying? Oh yes, my life story. Well, where to begin? The beginning you say, well that’s certainly a long time ago. Maybe better if we just skip that whole section and go right to the good bits. Your memory starts to go when you get a beard as long as this my boy, yes indeed! I sometimes forget what I had for dinner last night let alone every detail of fighting the Balrog. Or was that the incident with the dragon? Hang on, hang on, it just takes a little time to get the old slot machine in order. It is always better to start at the end of the beginning than the beginning of the beginning, that’s what I say. Or did I say that already? And yes, old age has never stopped me yet! You don’t think this coat is grey because I don’t wash it do you?

9. I was just sitting there, minding my own business when all of a sudden I was robbed and assaulted by a nefarious rogue, and in my own home too! cough. Then when no-one came to investigate my loss, I was forced to go and hunt down this villainous thief myself! cough. The tyranny of it all! cough. What’s a guy to do when he’s had his most precious possession stolen from right under his nose! cough. So there I was hunting this evil fellow when I got kidnapped not once, but twice! cough. The second group was worse than the first. I tell you, the hospitality of the world has deteriorated significantly since I was last out, if you know what I mean! cough. After a lot of ingenious tracking and plenty of cunning I tracked him down, only to find that he’d given it away to his relative! cough. The absurdity of it all! cough. Now I’ve got to go through some dark caves in pursuit. cough. And I think I’m coming down with a cold too! cough!

10. Mystery is my name, danger is my game. Hmmm.... maybe not. How about: The Dark Avenger? No? He Who Comes With The Dawn? Nope? King of the United Kingdom? Possibly. It’s hard to find a good name for yourself, especially one that makes you sound mysterious. And hunky. I think I’ve got the dangerous stranger look down. It wasn’t as hard to stop washing as I thought. The mud gives a ‘worn-in’ look, or so that fellow told me. I’ve even got a dark cloak and hood to go with it. I’m a roguish ruffian with no laws and a mysterious past... ooo... spooky. Hanging out in dangerous taverns watching and waiting for some little people with a big job. Personal bodyguard and protection service. Let’s just hope that old grey beard knows what he’s talking about for once!

11. Hold on a cotton-picking- sock-stitching-carrot-stalking- wallpaper-pasting-egg-laying-cake- baking-tea-making-telephone-answering- nose-blowing-eyebrow-twitching-clock-ticking- tape-playing-key-turning-tv-watching-train -hopping-tightrope-walking-egg-frying-book- reading-pencil-drawing-gum-chewing-paint- brushing-door-opening-onion-chopping-chocolate -eating-plant-growing-snow-falling-present -opening-rubbish-throwing-smile-making- tissue-wiping-eyes-crying-word-typing- pyramid-building-star-gazing-ruler-measuring- coffee-brewing-cow-milking-sheep-baaing- towel-drying-trouser-stitching-cotton-picking minute! I’m the one saving the world by destroying the ring now, aren’t I?!

12. Eye was once the most beautiful being in all creation, and now look at me. Or what’s left of me. You would not imagine that once Eye stood tall and proud, crushing all who knelt before me. But then Eye got a bit too caught up with the bling bling scene and ending up making a load of fashionable and powerful rings. What a lot of good it did me. Although don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of fun at the time, all the crush! Kill! Destroy! But with hindsight you have to admit it was a bit on the silly side. Eye should have put it into a big truck or something. The One Monster Truck. Now that would have been harder to destroy, and go very well with the rally track they built out on Gorgoroth.

13. Horses! No, wait, mustn’t think of horses. The psychiatrist told me to think of something else. Buttercups or something. Bluebells. A cool light wind blowing through my hair, on the back of a horse... No! Stop it. There is no such thing as horses. There is no such thing as horses. The only think you have to fear is the smooth hard back of horse... No! Stop! Horses! Horses! Horses! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!! I’m going mad with horses! Now uncle is dead and sis is married off, how’s a guy suppose to be the new King of a horse people if he’s always thinking about horses? Ugghhh! There are no horses like horses horses horses. All horses and no horses make horses go horses horses....Shetland Ponies! There... no horses, only ponies. We’ll be the pony-lords instead. That’ll work. Ponies.... ponies... ponies.... ponies.... horses....

14. It ish very hard you know, living with a dishability. No one at home took my sherioush becaushe of my tongue. I can’t help it that it looksh like a worm. Shome people have weird birthmarksh. I wash jusht bleshshed with a poishonoush pershonality, a pale milky complexion and the ability to shpeak with wormsh. Or sho my mother told me. At leasht I found shomeone who could appreciate my glamouroush looksh, after all thish time shneaking about. Thoshe long lushhioush legsh and shlender hipsh. That cold ash ice look that takesh your breath away. The shharp shtinging shlap of her hand on your pale cheek. Shhe really makesh a guy feel wanted. Shhame shhe comesh from shuch a deficient family though. A pratling uncle and hot-headed brother. Hopefully thoshe genesh will shkip a generation, after all, no one can reshisht the appeal of the worm-tongued man!

15. Hey ho, to the songs I go, eating till the end of show!
Pale as the moon like an apple pie, one as big as my right eye!
Oh yes, we dance all day, we dance all day as Hobbits play.
Hey ho, diddle, hey dee, we eat all night till half past three!

Four fried plums and a jar of jam, fresh roast pork and a great big ham!
Melted cheese on a toasted bun, with all these foods it’s so much fun!
Oh yes, we dance all day, we dance all day as Hobbits play.
Hey ho, diddle, hey dee, we eat all night till half past three!

I’ve walked so far so on lembas bread, my old feet are halfway dead!
Hobbits far and Hobbits lost, what in the world will our quest cost?
Oh yes, we dance all day, we dance all day as Hobbits play.
Hey ho, diddle, hey dee, we eat all night till half past three!

Taters and soup make hearty lunch, what we lack is a parsley bunch!
Oh Rosie’ll know what makes a meal, and how to make a fat pig squeal!
Oh yes, we dance all day, we dance all day as Hobbits play.
Hey ho, diddle, hey dee, we eat all night till half past three!