Children of the Boards

by Avondster

“I pronounce this meeting opened!” cried The Muse, banging her chairwoman’s hammer on the table. The many strange assembled figures slowly settled down.
“Everyone here? Yes? All right! Now, Children of the Boards, the reason why you were summoned here is…”
“Excuse me, Muse?” said a charming Elf politely, raising his perfectly manicured hand.
“Yes, Aldamir?”
“It seems to me that Varda’s children haven’t arrived yet.”
“Just something for them to come in late and make a big entrance,” muttered NorthStar’s Gríma.
“Shut up, Worm!” said Peregrine’s Éomer, whacking the young version of his hated enemy on the head with his sword-hilt.
“Order, now!” cried The Muse. “This matter cannot be discussed if you all keep arguing amongst yourselves.”

Just then the door of the Palace Of The Muse opened, and a group of very rugged-looking figures came stumbling in.
“Sorry we’re late!” said Marfach, panting. “Just came here straight from the battle and…”
“Yes, yes, we know,” said The Muse impatiently. “Sit down.”
But just as Varda’s characters had fetched themselves some chairs, the doors opened again, and Legolas dragged himself in, pushing Linaewen’s Boromir in a wheelchair.
“Honestly!” said the Son of Gondor when The Muse glared at him. “Why are there no elevators in the Palace Of The Muse? You know very well that I am wounded right now, and cannot climb all these stairs!” Legolas, too tired to even speak, collapsed in a chair next to Adulas, who immediately started dabbing his forehead with a wet cloth.
“I agree with Boromir!” said a very indignant Belladonna Took, rolling in behind them in her Hobbit-scooter. “Many characters are wounded in Inklings, O Muse!”
“Listen, I have not summoned you here to discuss my Palace’s wheelchair facilities!” cried The Muse, going red. “This is much more important! This is about your birthground!”

A silence fell among the characters, except for Auntkimby’s Pippin, who was desperately trying to restrain his wolf, which he had on a leash, since it was hungrily looking at the rather uncomfortable Frodent, who was settled on Morlothiel’s lap.
“How many times have we told you, Pippin?” said Avondster’s Warrior Merry exasperatedly. “No pets allowed in the Palace Of The Muse!”
“This is no pet!” said Pippin indignantly. “Greyling is also a Board Character, just as much as you are, Merry! And anyway he was here first.”
“Yes, but that is not the POINT!” said The Muse. “You are all Children of the Board, and The Powers That Be have revealed to me that those Boards will soon cease to be.”
There was much disruption.
“But where then will we go?” cried Minuiel.
“To a new and improved Board,” said The Muse sadly.
“Then they will not ‘cease to be’, Miss Muse,” said Ladyhawk’s Frodo politely. “They will just be changed. We will call ourselves the Children of the Old Board from now on.”
“Right you are, Frodo my lad,” said Prim’s Bilbo cheerfully. “And anyway we may come into existence on the Boards, but our home is my mistress’s beautiful Scrapbook.”
“Hear, hear!” said Strider, Man of Mystery.
“Perhaps, but the Boards are our writers’ home,” countered Veronica Sandyman. “They must be very upset about all this.”
“Yes,” said Avondster’s Merry. “I don’t know about you, but my Mistress hasn’t worked on her story since she heard about the old Boards shutting down, which I find alarming.”
“What if they all get writer’s block?” cried Agape’s Denethor. “That would be disastrous! We are all doomed! Ahh!” He waved his torch for emphasis.
“Is it time for coffee break yet?” asked NescaFrodo. Rosemary poked him in the ribs.
Vison’s Éowyn and Evermind's Éowyn carefully wrestled the torch from Denethor before he would set fire to either Faramir, Firtle and Stint, or the assembled Entwives.
“Honestly, I came back from Valinor for THIS?” said Ancalimë wearily.

“Please, do not panic, everyone,” said a commanding voice, but it was not The Muse who spoke. The characters turned to see an older gentleman sitting by the fire, puffing a pipe contentedly. They looked at one another questioningly. From whose story was he? They had never read him before. But somehow they felt like they knew him, and they all turned to him and listened.
“Honestly, why all the sad faces?” said he. “Yes, changes are coming, but all your stories are set in a time and world that is changing. Isn’t that the essence of the story? The world is changing, and we must learn how to cope with that. We must stand together especially in times like these.”
“Who are you, Master?” asked Samrendiel.
He smiled at every one of them. “What, don’t you know my name yet? Eldest, that’s what I am. I was here before the Fanclub and the Boards. I remember the first Inklings and the first books. I made paths for the writers and saw the fanfiction arrive.” He smiled mysteriously at them, and suddenly they knew, and they bowed to him.

The Muse cleared her throat and said: “right people, I think that’s it. Back to work now! Go back to your writers, or the Scrapbook. Don’t hang around here, I’ve got a lot of work to do. And so do you, we need loads of stuff to fill that new Board of us and make it home for our writers! Go on now, shoo!” She gave Boromir a push, so that he plummeted unceremoniously down the stairs, Legolas racing after him.

Before leaving the room, some of the characters looked back one more time, but the old man by the fireplace was gone. There wasn’t even a fireplace in the Palace Of The Muse, now that they thought of it…