After bumbling around in the fog for
what he guessed to be at least an couple of hours, Aragorn reached the
end of the barrow-downs. As he still had no idea where Bree was from
here, he tried using his
sword again for direction. It pointed in what appeared to be the exact
direction he was going anyways, so he did.
way he thought he heard the sound of a few ponies going past. Wondering
if that was the way to the road, he changed course and followed them.
...At least he thought so.
What kind of Ranger heads for a road and ends up falling into a ditch
under a bush, and can't get out
So he set himself to the long task of climbing out of a ditch.
Elladan felt ridiculous. He was wearing
rough clothes (they had taken away his embroidered silk
lounge-and-riding gear), a woolen weskit that smelled like a wet
weasle, an oversized coat painted with parafin, and great boots that he
was sure had once been on a scarecrow. The only thing that
his misery as he stood in the chilling rain was that his brother looked
even more stupid than he did.
"You and your bright ideas, Eldoofus! "Let's go for a ride! We'll
meet chicks! Dad'll never know!' THIS is not what I call
fun!" he shivered again and turned his waxed collar againt the
spray from the raintowers.
"Relax! Don't be such an uptight Eldalie! That lady
that if we do this, she can guarantee a scene with Lothlorien babes!
Just be patient. Fame takes time!"
Back at the Road...
Merry protectively grabbed his pack, in
which the bony hand now resided and snapped, "No, I'll not give Sam my
hand! It's my hand, I tell you! It's mine, my own!"
They all stared at him, and Merry turned red. "Oh...you mean give him a
He clapped politely, and Sam rolled his eyes.
"Oh...you mean a hand to help!" Merry clarified. He blushed again.
"Well, come on you guys! IN the last forty-eight hours and ten posts
I've had orange fish eggs, a potato bath, and had my picture taken in a
dress! I can't be acute and witty all the time!"
With that, he helped Sam load up Bill.
Frodo tapped his foot impatiently as
they finished gathering the ponies together. It helped that they
all been so frightened by Tom Bombadil that they had clustered together
as far away from the barrow as they could get without crossing the
Dressed in normal clothing, with their ponies beside them, the Road
before them and the prospect of cold ale and soft beds that evening
their hearts were greatly lightened. As they carefully skirted
edge of the churning Road, the fog was left behind and the autumn sun
shone warmly down. After walking along for a while their feet
to weary and Frodo wondered if perhaps this would be a good time to get
on the Road, as they were quite near to Bree and it would be faster
than walking. He paused and tossed the core from the apple he had
snacking on into a nearby hedge-shadowed ditch.
said, "we're almost to the town of Bree. If we walk it may be midnight
before we arrive, but if we take the Road I think we'd get there a lot
sooner. Are you game to try it? Just remember, I am supposed to
sneaking out of the Shire and Gandalf didn't want me telling anyone
about the Ring. Don't any of you mention it, and certainly don't
on that my name is Baggins! If any name must be given, it shall
Underhill. Got that?"
The hedge rustled in the breeze and
there was a faint scabbling sound in the ditch. Some small animal
making off with the apple core no doubt. The Road surged muddily
beside them as they somewhat nervously tightened their belts and
readied themselves to leap onto it. They hoped it really did end in
Bree - from here it looked like it went ever on and on.
Strider had almost managed to get out of
the muddy ditch when he heard someone walking past above him. He
couldn't see who because of the hedge, but he heard the words
'Gandalf', 'Bree', and 'Baggins' and was immediately ecstastic.
He was about to clamber out of the ditch when an apple core came
of no where and bonked him square on the nose. The footsteps passed him
by while he scrabbled around trying to regain his footing.
*crickets chirp, time passes*
Finally he clumsily heaved himself up out of the mud. By now he was
pretty much unrecognizable, and the mud was uncomfortable. But in the
first luck he had come across in days, it just then started to rain. He
hadn't noticed while set on getting onto dry (literally) ground, but
clouds had rolled in.
At least it wasn't ridiculously wet at the moment.
Just then it started pouring like no tomorrow.
...so much for that.
The Ranger peered into the rain. Now where was that road...?
He took a few steps forward.
I think that he said it was over hEEEEEEEERRRRRRRRE...
He was scared of taking showers from that day forward.
As Merry carefully picked his way
through the mud and wondered about that apple core, it also occurred to
him that he'd gone a few pages too far ahead in the script and helped
load up Bill before they'd even acquired him.
"My scriptwriter really needs to learn to pay attention," he apologized
to the others. "Do you all smell that? Smells like someone Dial
soap-challenged is following us. They say no good news ever comes out
of Bree, but I hope the bad news isn't following us."
He nervously felt for the hand in his bag and squeezed it reassuringly.
The hobbits carefully strapped down anything loose, hitched the ponies
in a line and....
stepped on the Road!
The relentless strength of the Road immediately swept them along at a
breakneck pace and they were hard put to keep their footing at first.
The ponies strung out behind Sam like fish on a line jerking and
dangling with each bump and turn and the wind whistled in their ears.
They shot past a yellow sign on the side of the road that read
traffic keep right" and figured they ought to move to the right just to
be safe. Sure enough not five minutes after they had managed to
towards the side, they had something pass them going even faster on the
"........eeeeeEEEEEEEYYYYaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgggggg" it said, a
flailing singular creature, about the size of a Big Person but a
strangely muddy color whipped past them, leaving a foul odor in its
wake. They wrinkled their noses and were grateful when whatever
vanished into the fading light ahead of them, still yodeling.
The Road swept them so rapidly towards the town Frodo just hoped they
would be able to get off of it safely when they got there.
The road whizzed along at an alarming
pace, and much to Aragorn's surprise, he shortly shot out of the rain
altogether. Looking back, he saw that the raincloud was only about four
yards around before it shot out of sight over a hill.
The Ranger grabbed a little tuft of grass sticking out of the road and
hung on for dear life. Unfortunately, he was so busy with holding on
that he didn't see the new lane, or the sign.
Abruptly the lane
he was in began to pick up speed, and soon, hollering, he was nearly
flying in the air only held down by his hand desperately holding onto
that sprig of grass.
This went on for a few moments. Then there was a sign that said
ominously 'THE HILL with the picture of a bump and a small figure
flying off into the air.
? was all he had time to think before Strider felt a hard jolt. The
road went up...
and so did he. The grass he had in a death grip ripped clean out of the
road and he went flying.
A few moments later he landed inside Bree's gates...
...in a mud puddle...
Of all the luck...
Meanwhile at the back of the line of
ponies, Pippin was swaying across their lane as he used the leathery
soles of his feet and the hitching rope from one of the saddlebags to
Looking ahead down the line of hobbits and ponies he saw that, where
the road curved there seemed to be some darker shapes against the
hedge, big folk all in black on black horses.
the rythym of his swing took him right through the muddy puddle created
by the short shower. The brown wave curled up into the air as his feet
slid through the curve, and it did look awfully pretty; unless you
happened to be on a horse on the verge by beside the road...
Elladan looked at the muddy, road-burned
ranger lying face-down at his feet. He elbowed his brother and
pointed. Both began to giggle.
"QUIET ON THE SET!!" came a loud voice, and everyone froze.
EVERYONE! CUE THE RAINTOWERS!" It began to rain buckets,
the sky was clear. Folk began to hurry around and stand on the
orange markers and golfballs that were scattered about.
"GET HARRY DOWN TO THE GATE!! I DON'T CARE IF MAKE-UP IS DONE
OR NOT... HERE THEY COME!!" There was a flurry of panic by the
Harry Goatleaf was rushed out, and his make-up bib snatched away.
Everyone stood waiting, staring at the gates with rain pouring
Elrohir turned up his collar against the torrent. "Hollywood,
here I come," he said with a grin. Elladan rolled his eyes.
"Hey, wait for me!" Merry yelled, and he
secured his pack and leaped into the muddy flow and skidded along
behind Pippin. Merry flailed his arms wildly as he tried to maintain
his balance, but then his pet bony hand stuck out of the bag to provide
additional ballast. Then Merry had enough balance to do figure eights,
pirouettes and even pulled off a triple axel before he realized that
Pippin was sprawled in the mud ahead of him next to a very muddy foul
"Eeeeeek!" Merry squealed, and plowed into his cousin. In the resulting
collision, the bony hand flew out of his pack and hit Sam right in the
Frodo saw a couple signs and in the
fading light he barely had time to read them before they were gone.
The first one said "BREE NEXT 2 EXITS - KEEP RIGHT" and the
a strange yellow one that said simply "THE HILL" with a picture of an
incline and a little figure flying off into the air. He led them
the right, avoiding The Hill and shooting off into a sort of muddy eddy
where the Road began to slow. It was getting dark and it had
rain. Behind him he could hear Sam making all sorts of odd
squeaky noises, as if someone were squeezing his face or squashing his
cheeks together. He was about to comment on this when he was
distracted by their rapidly slowing approach to a large wooden gate
with mulitple little shuttered windows cut in it. He squinted at
small sign to the side.
No Cussin' or Spittin'
No Belchin' with Carrots
Meanwhile an impatient , somewhat cacofonic singing was drifting out of
The Prancing Pony in Bree.....
"There's nothing so lonesome, especially here, nothing quite mental as
a pub with no beer.......or Hobbits or Rangers or wizards!!" Butterbur
sang as he stared out the window at the rain.......
Merry slogged through the mud to stand next to Frodo and stared at the
"Well, it would figure that after everything we've been through, you'd
bring us to a pub with a girly name and that has RULES!"
squinted at the even tinier print that read: HUMANS MUST HAVE SHIRT AND
SHOES FOR SERVICE; HOBBITS MUST PRESENT PROOF THAT THEIR FEET ARE
Merry groaned. "And us without any foot spray," he lamented.
Enter Harry Goatleaf:
*grumbles goodnaturedly* Someone's gotta open the *#%@*# door!
(shuffles off to his hut, blinking rain out of his eyes, wondering why
his career was taking this strange turn)
He suddenly curses, tripping over a Dunadan
lying facedown in the mud inside the gate. Two tall and rather
men giggle at the sight. Harry ignores them. He has lines
and the Director changed the script at the last minute again.
" 'What do you want?' No, no... ahHem... 'What do
you want?' nonono, darn it, I had it down at rehearsal...." continues
mumble as the raintowers spit on him and put out his pipe.
"I knew I should have taken that job as Riff Raff for the Denton
He goes into his gatehouse, relights his pipe and waits for his cue.
Frodo looked in bewilderment at all the
little peepholes in the gate. They ranged in size from approximately
smaller than a breadbox to large enough to shove Odo Proudfoot through
belly-first and were scattered about from near the very top clear down
to what appeared to be a catdoor at the bottom. They were all shut.
Unaccountably, it suddenly began to rain in torrents. Not seeing
anything like a bell-pull, he tenatively lifted a hand and knocked at
the gate somewhere in the middle and waited. Sam made garbled
behind him, but it was too dark now to tell why his friend sounded so
Harry fumbled his pipe when he heard a
knock on the gate. The burning cinders fell into his baggy
and set up a smoking. Harry jumped to his feet, entangling
his chair, and fell over with a squawk.
Kicking his legs to free them from the aggressive chair and slapping
wildly at his drawers that, in spite of the soddening rain were now
burning in patches, he wriggled over to the door, conscious of the
cameras whirling and the Director standing nearby with a threatening
carrot. He scrambed to his feet, still dancing and shaking his
to rid himself of the central heating system, and popped open the
nearest peephole with a yank.
A little too hard, for the
door had not been locked last time it was used, and thus the whole huge
panel of thick wood swung inward sharply, smooshing Harry against the
gatehouse wall with a crunch.
Anyone looking closely would notice a tindril of smoke issuing through
the cracks of the peepholes.
Before the eyes of the rainsoaked hobbits, the gate seemed to swing
open welcomingly, as if by magic.
They gaped at it wide-eyed, wondering if
it was some of that Elvish magic that Bilbo used to refer to, or if
there was some sort of trick going on here. Frodo remembered all
well some of the pranks that Pip and Merry had pulled on him in the
past involving doors. In spite of the rain, he hesistated.
Meanwhile at the Prancing Pony, two young gad-abouts were coming to
grips with the owner, one Mr. Barliman Butterbur....
"Look, here, Lads," said the barkeep.
"You, Mr. Nob, have drunk more than a cask of beer in the last
and your friend, Hob, has cleaned me completely out of pipeweed.
that this is a bad thing, as your entertaining stories have kept the
tavern full of paying customers. They like your stories and
the womenfolk are delighted by your frirtatiosity . . ."
"Now Mr. Butterbur . . . " began Nob, but the bartender continued his
"But I need to pay my workers, and all they want to do is sit around
here and drink." Butterbur fumed, "Hob-Nobbing they call it!
Hob-Nobbing it on my time!!! Well, I have a way to settle
Nob and Hob had not settled a score for over two
years. They had began in the Southfarthing, eating all of the
sandwiches at the Crabaccino Shack, then moved on to Bywater and
cleaned them out of Beulah's Bywater Blueberry Biscuits (By bouncing a
bogus Bankdraft), and had finally been run off of old Farmer Maggot's
farm when they tried to sweettalk Mrs. Maggot out of some of her
Mushroom Tarts. Their faces turned pale and they feared what
come out of the big man's mouth next. "Anything," they prayed,
that 4-letter word they feared more than the Barrow Downs . . ."
"It's raining again--came out of nowhere! Nob, you go out to the
and see that the horses aren't spooked, and make sure the doors are
closed tightly. And you, Hob, get back in the kitchen--don't even
THINK of going anywhere near the beer!!!--and I will let the two of you
. . . "
"Not, 'Work' " cried Hob. He his eyes brimmed with tears.
"Please, Mr. Butterbur, sir. Anything but that."
"Sorry Lads, but you owe me 326 goldpieces as it is, and you don't look
as sure of yourself as you did a few minutes ago when you ordered
'Drinks for everyone!' Pity about the timing--yelling that out to an
almost empty barroom just as the first lightning struck and the entire
membership of Bree's 'Woodsman's Interscholastic Nurturers Of
Squirrels' local 183 came through the door. These folks have ears
bats, and leave it to the W.I.N.O.S to drink two casks of old
Winyards--all at your expense."
"But, be that as it may,
you are going to have to pay me back, and if you don't have the
goldpieces, best you hop to and get it done."
Hob and Nob
looked at each other sadly, took off their nice waistcoats, put on the
regular aprons of common workers, and began to work off the money they
owed. Maybe, if fortune were with them, they could charm some
off of newcomers . . . but who would be coming tonight, in this weather?
Aragorn finally got up and skeedaddled down the street just before the
gate swung open.
The rain started again. It had finally caught up with him, no doubt.
He wandered down the street, and eventually reached what looked like an
Inn, bu he didn't have a chance to find out because just then he was
trampled by a crowd of semi-drunk men and hobbits talking about
Once again the Ranger found himself face down in a mud
puddle, and had to stand in the cold rain for longer than he would have
liked trying to scrub most of it off.
When he finally went into the place, he actually smelled half-decent,
although his hair hadn't improved much.
Settling himself down in the corner of the common room, he took a
gameboyranger out of his overcoat and started to play "Orcmen II".
Frodo reached back and grabbed a handful
of hobbit, which happened to be Merry. He shoved him forward
the gate first, just in case there was a booby-trap of some kind.
there was, he thought it would serve his "ho ho, look at Frodo with a
bucket of oatmeal on his head" cousin right. He was almost
disappointed when nothing happened.
They slogged forward. Noticing the little tendrils of pipe-smoke,
Frodo curiously stepped over to the gate as they passed it and opened
the little door it was issuing from. He squawked with surprise
jumped when he found a squashed-looking and very grouchy face
at him through the opening. Slamming it shut on the gatekeeper's
again he hurried after the others towards the distant inn nearly
plowing over a short fat carrot-vendor who belched at him most rudely.
Hob nudged Nob. "Doesn't it just figure
. . . we get put on the payroll just as the W.I.N.O.S leave, and
only guy in the tavern not filled to the gills with Liquor is the guy
who looks like he just got thrown out of a "Miss Breck" commercial.
Sitting in the corner, picking gravel out of his hair.
heard that Short hair is all the rage in Gondor? How are we ever
to get money from him?"
Nob, giggled. "He gave me a silver penny when I brought him his
Better than the Nuts the Squirrely folk left--like that is a
tip for a bloke .He's a little odd, perhaps, but a nice enough fella.
Just proves the old saying--Not all that glitters is gold--or
something like that."
"Well," replied Nob, "we best hope that some free-spending folk come in
soon, or we will be here forever!"
But the door just stood closed against the rain . . .
Still resentful over Frodo pushing him
through the gate into what could have been a perilous situation, Merry
grinned at the vendor who belched in Frodo's face.
"Eh, not bad, mate, but you gotta give it more 'umph'. You gotta reach
deep down inside and give out like you mean it!"
To demonstrate, Merry grabbed a can of Athelas Infusion from a passing
porkpie vendor and gulped it down in three mighty swallows.
"Oh, no," Frodo moaned.
the glass shattered in the nearby houses and every hobbit and human
hair in the vicinity went completely straight.
"Now, THAT's a belch," Merry said contentedly.
Sam was busy trying to wrench the hand
off his face and when he did, he threw it at Merry's head. Sam was
knocked over, though, by the stench of Merry's burp.
As he stood back up again, Sam looked around. He accidentally said out
loud, "Now where is that Pony?"
The others looked at him. "Er, I meantersay, where is the Prancing
Pony? You know, the place we're trying to find." He grinned sheepishly.
Sam thought to himself, "Sam you ninnyhammer, why'd you go and do
that? Anyways, I do need to find Bill...maybe he's nearby..."
Pippin (his hair once again resembling a
certain firework related 'wow that was good' incident) slapped Merry on
the back and cast an apraising eye over the ruined street vendor's
stalls, and broken glazing.
"Hmm, not bad a 5.4 maybe...lets get some beers in and then a curry,
then you can really show'em!"
Mortified, Frodo pulled his hood a
little further down over his face, hoping no one would recognize him as
being related to Merry later on. He quickly led the way up the
track that apparently served this burg as a main street. The
leaned in over them, making him even more critical of Man-Style
architecture than usual. He just hoped none of these overtall
fell on them.
Up ahead, a creaking wooden sign showed the likeness of a Pony.
Dodging wagons, more men brandishing carrots and various other
unidentified objects they finally made it to the door of the Inn.
Carefully avoiding some very large puddles, Merry tied the string
ponies to the railing.
They approached the heavy door and
gave it a good shove causing warmth and light to wash over them
they gratefully stepped out of the rain, shaking themselves like dogs.
Unfortunately a thick wave of assorted odors also washed over
nearly made them change their minds about purchasing any food there
after all but this was where Gandalf said they were to come. ..
Well, thought Frodo, first thing is to find him.
"Excuse me?" he asked, craning his neck to try to see over the
oversized bar that faced them. "Excuse me?..... HEY! HEY! Anyone
there?! You've got customers down here! Hurry it up!!"
A muffled voice came from behind the door . . .
"Rf yrrd lrt grrr rrf thff drrrrr, R'll srr whrt R crn drrr!!!"
A set of hobbit toes (shaved hairless by the thrust of the door) stuck
out from the door.
They looked up, down and around trying
to locate the muffled voice before spotting the feet. Pippin and
experimentally yanked the door to see what might fall out from behind
it. The large door stuck for a moment, then suddenly loosened and
slammed shut with a tremendous bang. Frodo found himself looking
very bedraggled and squished hobbit. He appeared to be someone
worked at the Inn, because he was wearing a pony-shaped white tag that
"(smudge)OB" with a subscript "SERVICE IS OUR PLEASURE."
In spite of his tag, Ob didn't appear to be too pleased to serve.
In fact he looked a bit dazed.
Merry took in Hob's bedraggled
appearance and then noted the hairless feet with consternation. Hobbits
generally had at least peach fuzz on their feet by age 15, and this
hobbit had not so much as a hair.
"Don't they have child labor laws in this town?" he wondered. "Not to
mention I dont think you oughta be starting out in the bar."
clapped poor little Hob on the shoulder and pushed him back out the
door. "I just tied up our ponies at the rail, lad, see to it they have
a bit of fresh carrot, won't you? There were plenty of 'em thrown at us
on our way in here."
Hob stood out in the rain in Stunned
Silence. Not only had this new pack of hobbits clipped off the
his feet (And he was a Proudfoot!), they thought he was not even in his
A moment later, Nob came bustling through the door, and started to
examine the damage inflicted by the new arrivals. "Sorry, Hob, I
as quick as I could." These new folk are inside talking to
and from the look of them, we won't be getting any great tips.
me to carry their bags to the rooms for free!"
tears mixed on Hob's face as he stared ashamedly at his feet.
what they did!" he burst out in sobs. "They . . . they . . . my
Nob looked at his friend, and a glint of steel came into his eyes.
"Wait here," he said."I'll fix this."
A few seconds later, Hob was surprised by the reappearance of his
friend, who said, "let's get into the barn--I have a plan."
Twenty minutes later, Hob came dancing out of the barn, with a look of
sheer joy on his face! "Nob," he said, "You are the best friend
The hair on my feet was always a source of pride, but now they
even better! Though I wonder how the tall Ranger in the bar will
to your removing a few of his dreadlocks to make me a toe-pee!"
Nob, just grinned and winked--"He'll never know it is gone. But
better get back to work before Barliman get's his girdle in a bind.
Come on, you Rastafarian Reprobate!"
Hob almost shouted, "Daylight come, and me wanna go home!"
Frodo forgot about 'Ob as soon as he was
gone. There was still no sign of anyone like an Innkeeper that he
could see, but then he couldn't see much. He tried jumping and
his arms above his head, hoping at least his hands would show above the
tall bar. "HEY!" (bounce) "SERVICE!" (bounce) "HELLLLOOO!"
On one of his jumps he spotted what appeared to be a brass bell on the
surface of the bar. He stopped for a moment. "Sam - c'mere."
stepped forward questioningly he clambered up him like a ladder and
just managed to bop the brass knob on the top of the bell before
falling back to the floor.
That ought to bring someone.
Merry strolled in with another can of
Athelas Infusion in one hand and a pork pie in the other, munching
contentedly. He saw Sam straighten up with a grunt, as if some plump
large-footed creature had jumped on his back without warning, and said,
"Sam, I sincerely hope that you didn't let my hand get crushed...and
speaking of which, what did you do with it? Did you just use it to ring
that bell for service, did you, huh? I know you want that hand for
Elladan and Elrohir hastened to change
their clothes from the now soaking rags to the party gear they hoped
would woo the hoards of blushing females that they just *knew* were
waiting for some young Elf-Lords-in-training to sweep them off of their
feet. When they reached the costume trailer, however, they
Now dressed in semi-dry rags and wigs, they were told to "mill around
and mumble, and don't forget to smoke your pipes!", and shoved into the
back door of the tavern. It was dimmly lit and full of thick
Elladan coughed and waved a hand before his face. Elrohir
see; his eyes were watering.
"Gah! What kind of party is
this? There is no deejay, not music. I can't see a dancefloor, El," he
added with a note of worry. Half-blind and disappointed, he
forward and stumbled over something lost in the reeking haze.
looked down and saw four tiny beings soaked to the skin and shivering,
one with blue eyes so big he looked like an anime character.
stayed "in character" and shoved past the quartet to pick up his
brother off of the floor.
He whispered fiercely in
Elrohir's ear, "What is this... a milk bar? Those kids can't be
10 years old! And where are all the women at?"
Meanwhile on the other side of the Pony ...
Distracted by all the racket at the door, Bill Ferny cussed as his dart
missed the board and struck the posterior of a hobbit farmer who had,
up to that moment, been enjoying a quiet half-pint by the fire. Then
Ferny laughed as he decided that hobbit-bums resulted in a much more
satisfying "yowch" than a darts board, or even the practice target he'd
painted on the backside of his poor old pony. Darts in hand, with a
malicious laugh, he turned to find a new target ... Hmmm, those two
pretty boys slipping in the back door might do nicely, he thought ...
Sam raised his eyebrows. "What do you
mean, 'did I use it?' Of course I didn't, I hate that thing and I
threw it at your head 15 minutes ago!"
Sam rubbed his shoulders where Frodo had once stood. He was taken aback
the the yelling in his 'ear'.
"SAM! What are you doing? You, here in Bree, and you don't bother
Sam sighed. "Sorry Bill I've been a little busy."
"What, too busy to think?"
Sam rolled his eyes. "How did you know I was here anyway?"
"News travels fast in Bree."
"Ah, well, ok."
Sam was interrupted from his thoughts however, by Frodo...
.... who was climbing back up his
faithful companion to try to see over the top of the bar. By
Sam's hair with his toes he managed to get enough traction to clamber
up onto the bar-top itself. From up here he still couldn't see
the place was so smoky, but he did find a guest register and a listing
of available rooms.
"Hey! They've a list here," he called down to the others, "And is says
there's still some Nice Hobbit-Sized Rooms available." He picked
the nearby quill and dipped it in the inkwell. "I'm marking us down for
one of them. Party of four. Underhill." He carefully marked the
ledger. "There's a guest register too, but I don't see Gandalf on
it..." he flipped back through a few pages, scrutinizing each one
the dim lighting. "Here he is - but this entry is from six months ago!
At least I think it's him. It just says 'Old wizard, long grey
pointy hat.' - that's got
to be him...but where is he now?"
looked around the room again, but saw no wizard. There was a
scroungy sort of Man over in the corner who seemed to be watching him,
and he suddenly decided he better be getting down and not drawing so
much attention to himself.
He suddenly jumped down from the bar,
landing most conveniently on the soft padding that Pippin provided by
being in the right place at the right time. It provided an
sound effect as Pippin was knocked sideways into Merry and they all
went down in a tumble. So much for not being noticeable.
they were still hidden by the bar for the most part.
Just then the door behind the bar
opened.........Barliman rushed through............"Ive got some nice
Hobbit sized rooms and your name is and elderly fellow , grey beard.
"I'm too late aren't I?"........
"I was ..delayed" no ..not my line he thought.
He tries again..
"Oh would you like an ale maybe...it comes in pints you know!"
Doh! Not my line either he thinks to himself scatching his head...
Meanwhile back in Rivendell...
Arwen Evenstar slammed the door of her
chambers shut behind the retreating back of her therapist and made a
mental note never to let in anyone anymore who got paid by her Daddy.
"You get attracted to the wrong Men...". Pah! She flicked her long
locks for emphasis.
None of them understood. 'Wrong Men...'
Her Dunny-Bunny may never take a bath and be from another species, but
what did that matter when you were in LOVE? She sighed dramatically and
flicked her hair again.
Dr. Phil-Galad had also said that he thought she was a kleptomaniac and
that she was in denial.
She had denied it all and stolen his wallet.
But he would never find out, no one ever did. He had not been looking
and by the time he would find out he would already be halfway to Rohan
to see his next client, some claustrophobic blonde.
She flicked her hair again. Glorfindel's Herbal Essence Shampoo did
work wonders, indeed.
Where would Gorny be, she wondered. Probably hanging out in that Shire
again. He had told her all about it and the little guys that lived
there and showed her pictures. They looked cute. She hoped he would
bring her one on his next visit.
Arwen sighed sadly and quickly ran to her balcony so that the wind
could play with her hair and make her look all melancholy.
She sniffed the air.
Nope, no sign of him yet.
On the other side of Rivendell...
After a gruelling ride searching for
Elrond's Twins, Glorfindel stood under the warm showers behind the
stables and reached for his bottle of 'Herbal Essence.' His
couldn't find it, so he huffed in frustration. Wiping the water
his eyes, he looked down at the floor of the stall to discover that the
bottle had gone missing . . . again.
That is the third bottle this month. 'Honestly, he thought, 'if
the twins didn't have time to buy some before they left, they at least
could have left me a note of thanks.
Still frustrated, he reached over into the next stall, and
small bottle left in the twin's hurry to get moving. 'I hope this
doesn't dry out my hair' he muttered, as he squeezed a bit into his
palm and began to lather it into his golden tresses.
But he needn't have worried about drying it out . . .
A few moments later, a scream of indignation was heard from the shower
room. The stableman who came running, found Glorfindel seething
locker, dressed in a robe, with a towel wrapped 'Swami-like' around his
head. "You okay?" he asked. "I heard a scream . . . "
I am just fine
!" said the elf through clenched teeth. He
with both water and rath. "But when I get my hands on those
they are going to be anything but fine.
stormed out toward his rooms, he yelled over his shoulder, "And you may
want to get a plumber in there . . . the drain is slow . . . must be a
clog of some kind . . .
Meanwhile, in Elrond's study ...
His script having disappeared, Elrond wasn't sure how much longer it
would be before everyone assembled in Rivendell for the council scene,
but he thought he'd best get the preparations going. So he locked
himself in his study (not an easy task since his house had no doors or
windows) to get on with the work. He had already accepted five more
delivery dwarves and turned away a dozen disappointed teenelves who
showed up for the Elbrats' party, and Dr. Phil-galad's report on
Arwen's therapy was certainly not encouraging. As if he didn't have
enough to deal with, now somebody had stopped up all the plumbing in
Rivendell with what appeared to be a deceased golden Tribble.
Elrond removed his Agent Elrond shades so he could better see the
invitation list on the desk before him. Making tick marks with a
flourish beside the names, Elrond muttered, "Okay, Gandalf RSVP'd, hope
he gets here in time, wandering old coot ... Saruman has been invited,
assuming the Elbrats followed instructions ... Thranduil can't stop
wallowing in his jewels long enough to come but at least he's sending
his spare son ..." Elrond wondered if Legolas was any more use to
Thranduil than his own sons had been to him, and remembering the lad's
cheek regarding his chosen method of communication when he issued the
invitation, he added a pair of horns and a balrog tail to the "O" in
Legolas's name. He thought of who else to invite, making a mental note
to find a suitably handsome elf to hover in Aragorn's vicinity and
hopefully distract Arwen's attention from her foster brother. Elrond
shuddered to think of the implications of that situation.
Finishing up the list, Elrond decided he'd better start planning the
menu. He put away his pink flamingo quill imported from Dol Amroth, and
donning his Agent Elrond shades again against the bright sunshine
(there were a few perks to this gainful employment thing, he reflected)
he headed for the hollow tree on the edge of the valley where dwelt the
Rivendell caterers. ...
In a hollow tree on the edge of the valley ...
The Rivendell caterers were hard at work preparing their tasty treats
for their own consumption (their round faces and bellies testified to
their own immense appetites) as well as the rather less demanding needs
of the folks at the big house. Short, plump, and especially fond of
cookies and crackers, the catering elves were set apart from the High
Elves in more ways than one.
They dwelt a respectable
distance from the main house -- close enough that Elrond and his guests
could benefit from their services, but far enough away that visitors
need not be exposed to them. Although Ernestel Keeblerion and his
helpers called themselves "elves", Elrond could not fathom what exactly
their kinship was to the High Elves of Valinor. The Keeblers looked
more like the results of a horrible experiment in genetic engineering
combining the races of elves and halflings, perhaps the early work of
some wizard heading down an evil path, perfecting his methods before
moving on to more sinister purposes. The Keeblers' obsession with food
was definitely a halfling trait, but their culinary skills were second
to none, particularly in the area of light refreshments and snack food.
Elrond thought he'd have a quiet word with Saruman about their origins
when the white wizard arrived for the council.
Ernestel Keeblerion sighed. "Here comes 'Elrond Longbritches'"
he moaned. Wise
in the way of Middle-Earth he may be, but he throws a party that could
bore the dead. I am just glad that he understands the importance
refreshments and leaving that to the experts like we "hollow tree"
elves. I remember that 'Eregion Derby' party he threw a few
ago. Thought it would be a great trick if he could get Gandalf to
the Ice Sculpture Horses dance around the punchbowl--Didn't think that
one quite through, did he?!! The ice melted, and they are all
now. And what use, may I ask, are a bunch of wild
Dripping all over the stables and ruining the straw for the other
horses. If it weren't for the fact that I need to stay here so I
sneak a little "Elfin Magic" from the Rivendell Larders, I would move
to the Shire, where we could make some REAL money!
By the time these thoughts had gone through his head, Elrond had
arrived at the Hollow Tree. Before he could begin, Ernestel
Keeblerion, or "Ernie" as he liked to be called started in . . .
"Now, Elrond, I know you want to make a grand, Ritz-y impression on
these folks, but you are looking at mixing Elves, Dwarves, Hobbits and
Men all in one room, with many different tastes. Plus, with all
bad will between some of the races, the only logical choice are some
festive "Sociable" crackers. They are "uncommonly good" and
some Elfin Magic, covered with some E-Z canned cheese would make people
more relaxed. Don't go for grand gestures, we have enough Water
Back in Bree...
Merry grunted, "Pippin, kindly take your
big hairy foot out of my ear, and Sam, you really need to cut back on
the crumpets. Now then, what do we need to do to get some service in
His eyes brightened. "I've got it- I'll sing my favorite drinking
Over the other hobbits' protests, Merry climbed up onto the bar,
cleared his throat and began to sing:
(you all can start humming "The Wanderer" by Dion and the Belmonts
I'm the kinda hobbit who could really go to town
I'll drink so much ale that you'd think that I would drown,
I'll sing silly songs and dance with a pretty girl
I'll spin around so much my head will start to whirl
...cause I'm a Brandybuck...oh, I'm a Brandybuck...
I'll spin around around around around...
Merry spun too close to the end of the bar and lost his balance,
flailling his arms wildly and landing on top of Barliman, who had
finally remembered his opening line and run into the public room.
Frodo clambered up from the floor and
dusted himself off just in time to see his cousin regaling all and
sundry with a drinking song when they hadn't had so much as a
thimbleful of ale yet. He winced as Merry hit an especially high
decidedly flat. When the Innkeeper finally arrived and
put a stop to it he was grateful.
"I hope you don't mind, but I've already marked us down for a Hobbit
Size Room. You'll see it on there under Underhill. Understand? We'll be
staying for supper - bring us your very best!"
Sam looking at him funny and suddenly remembered that he was not
supposed to be giving away anything about himself, including his
carrying a suitable portion of Baggin's wealth. "Er, I mean, your very
best deal, you know, that is your special of the day. We're
just wandering travelers of no consequence without any money to speak
of, I mean...just ale, bread and cheese would be fine..." He
that scraggly Man leaning forward and listening to him and
trailed off. Turning, he lead them to a table near enough to the
to be warm while also being as far away from the Man as he could
reasonably get. Something about that guy gave him the creeps.
Out of the smoke, a dart flew past him and he heard a "yowch" somewhere
to the side. He wasn't so sure about this place.
Merry grumpily folded his arms and sat
on a bar stool while Frodo tried to save face in front of Barliman, and
resentfully muttered something about there not BEING any high notes in
his drinking song and he HAD had something to drink- two cans of
Athelas Infusion. Which reminded him...
He interrupted Frodo's blather to Barliman by asking politely, "Might
you tell me where the little hobbit's room is?"
Barliman pointed to three doors to the right of the public room. One
tall door read MEN; a shorter one read DWARVES, and the shortest one of
all read HOBBITS.
Merry hurried gratefully into the HOBBITS door,
not noticing that Sam, still angry over the crumpets comment, followed
him and slipped a chair under the doorknob.
Bill Ferny eyed the newcomers with
suspicion. Drat! His carefully aimed dart was blown off course by the
wind created by the spinning fellow. He was sure they were up to
something, especially that shifty-eyed rosy cheeked little fellow who
seemed to be the ringleader. He sneaked up behind them to investigate,
hoping they wouldn't notice as he leaned over them holding an ear
Hob stood up embarassed. As he and Nob
returned from the barn, one of the dreadlocks on his feet caught a snag
in the floor, and he tripped. This was both good and bad. . . .
he hit his head on Nob's tray, and the empty mugs from Merry's "Altheas
Infusion" (or 'King's-foil Kissers' as they are called when they have
little umbrellas in them) spilled all over the floor, adding another 3
silvers to the money they owed Barliman.
the tilted tray deflected a wild dart aimed for Nob's head, and set it
high in the air, where it hit a ceiling fan, and shot across the room,
hitting ol' Ferney right in the seat of his pants, drawing the new
hobbit's attention to his presence as he yelled, "Yowch!"
beside the newcomers, with a ear trumpet stuck into his ear and a dart
stuck in his rear, he was easily spied as an interloper.
As Hob retrieved the mugs from the floor, he smiled at Nob and sang,
"Come Mr. Barliman, tally me bananas . . ." sending the two miscreants
into the kitchen in a fit of laughter.
Having grown tired of standing on her
balcony looking beautiful, Arwen decided to get out among her people
and let them gaze breathlessly at her beauty while they still had the
She strolled through the peaceful gardens of Rivendell, greeting all
the Elves warmly and gracefully, whereby some of their belongings
'accidentally' seemed to fall right into her sleeves.
Many Elves dwelled in Imladris fair in those days.
It was a good thing Arwen's gown had very roomy sleeves.
She wondered if Glorfindel had gotten some new shampoo yet and decided
to wander over to the He-Elves' locker room and find out. She took the
short cut through the stables.
The stables were deserted
(well, except for the horses of course) and Arwen stood still and took
a deep breath, coughed, nearly choked, and sighed.
'Oh Aragorn, even though thou art far away, thy smell lingers in my
heart and in the stables of my people for ever.'
Having said that (and written it down to use in romantic situations
later on), she turned and found that she was not alone after all.
Glorfindel was sitting on the floor in a corner, fussing over something
and mumbling to himself. "Disaster... will never go unnoticed... must
find reasonable substitute..."
Arwen hoped he was taking a
look at the plumbing, because she had not been able to take a
strawberry bubble bath for three hours and was getting annoyed with it.
She had just decided to wander on, be pretty, and not notify Glorfindel
of the fact that he still had a towel wrapped around his head with his
rubber duck perched on top, when she noticed something strange...
"Glorfy, where has Asfaloth's tail gone?"
Glorfindel spun around so quickly, that
the rubber duckie on his turban fell off behind him. He stepped
and jolted forward, right into Arwen.
"What? Who? Well . . . uh. . . why are you asking me? What would
want with a Horse's Tail?" He was afraid that he would be
He hid his right hand in his robe, and then drew in a tense
As he did so, he caught the smell of "Herbal Essence" Shampoo
from Arwen's direction.
Could it be that I have blamed
the twins for my misfortune, and it was Arwen who pinched my shampoo?
He decided to do a little digging . . .
So Arwen, your hair is sparkling in the sunlight. Have you had a
new color treatment, or perhaps changed Shampoo
? It has a
lovely fragrance, what do you call it?
A knowing smile played over his lips as Arwen, caught like a fly in a
spider's web drew in a quick breath...
Frodo drew in a quick breath, almost
sucking in a passing fly. It had been a near thing with that Big
Person suddenly having some sort of fit right next to them like that -
it was unnerving. He hoped this wasn't typical behavior for the
Bree. He watched Ferny screeching and hopping around the room
to remove both the dart and the ear-horn and failing at both, aided
ineffectually by a couple of his cohorts. The mysterious man in
corner watched it without comment then turned his attention back to the
He was grateful when the Innkeeper juggling their bread and cheese onto
the table. He quickly slapped his hand over the chunk of the cheese and
tucked the loaf under his arm to be sure he would get some, then tugged
on the grimy apron to get Barliman's attention.
- that man over there in the corner. Who is he?" The bread was
around under his arm. Without losing his grip he elbowed the
competition and heard a small oof from Sam. Pippin was trying to
the cheese from his fingers. He briefly wondered where Merry had
to as he tried to hear what the Innkeeper had to say.
Hob ducked into the "little Hobbit's
Room" to reattach the dreadlock, which had tripped him in the tavern,
to his big toe. He was just getting ready to leave, when he heard
moaning coming from one of the stalls.
A bedraggled hobbit stumbled out, looking a complete mess.
"Hey, there. Are you allright? What happened to you?" Hob
asked the dazed hobbit.
Aragorn looked up amusedly from his game at Ferny.
Serves him right, the rotter.
He saved his game and put it back into the pocket of his overcoat.
Looking around the room, he again spotted the hobbits. This time he
only saw three. Hmm.
One of them took off, making a beeline for the bar, the other two sat
down at a table.
He had seen them before, and remembered that it was important, but he
couldn't remember why it was important.
It had something to do with...bugs? Bags? No...
He sat there stewing over it for a while and watching
them, not realizing that he was making them extremely uncomfortable.
...I know it starts with 'B'. Bigger...bubble, babble,
...Bill Ferny throws the dart and the chatter in the crowded
commonroom is drowned by a strange music...
As the dart came arcing toward him, Elladan moved
with characteristic grace; he used the moves Ada
had taught him during his "Matrix" training. Leaning back at an
impossible angle, he let the feathered missile fly past, striking his
brother in the seat of his borrowed trousers.
out a "Yee-OUCH" and leapt up into the air, grabbing a ceiling beam
like a startled cat. A second dart flew by and was deflected by a
hobbit weilding a silver tray.
Elladan reached up and
yanked on Elrohir's cape, pulling him noisily to the floor. As he
fell, Elrohir pulled of his brother's disguise. "Stop trying to
attract attention!" Elladan growled. He helped his brother
feet, his Elvish awareness honed over centuries of hunting wiley beasts
in the forests, somehow failing to notice that Elrohir had dropped
MithrilMasterCard. A hobbit with dreadlocked foot-hair snatched
it up and made it disappear into the pocket of his weskit.
Elrohir yanked off the fake beard that was making his
face itch. "I am
not trying to attract..." he pause as a silence fell over the patrons
of the Prancing Pony. Everyone was staring at him.
tall, rough-looking man with swarthy features and bovine manure on his
boots sidled over to the twins. "We don' get many broads, er... I
mean, ladies in Bree. Can I buy you and your sister a drink,
Frodo could feel that Sam had given up
on getting the loaf of bread from where he held it against his side and
was now bent over, chewing on the end of it where it was. The cheese
wiggled. Frodo clamped down on the cheese so hard it began to emit
small drops of whey and changed shape. Pippin finally gave up on
getting any of it and headed for the bar seeking pretzels, nuts or
whatever they might have that was edible. He ducked past a couple
strangely dressed ladies and clambered up on one of the tall stools.
The Innkeeper stood by the table, but seemed a bit tongue-tied
regarding that stranger in the corner, who was still staring at them in
the most unnerving fashion.
Then Strider noticed that one of the hobbits, as well as the innkeeper,
were staring at him in the most unnerving fashion. His thinking sped
...badlands, banter, burgler, bargains..
. hmm - that sounds
close... naw - brandy, beggar, beagle...
"Oh... well... it's just... some foreign
stuff Gorny bought me once..." stuttered Arwen. "From Rohan, 'Sheds
& Boulders', you probably don't even know the brand..."
She looked around frantically, trying to find something she could
distract Glorfindel with, and from out of nowhere (or so it seemed to
the other Elf) she conjured up a silver hairbrush that had been in
Erestor's handbag until a few minutes ago, and offered it to
Glorfindel. "Say... I found this on the way here, is it yours?"
At the sight of the brush, Glorfindel burst into furious tears and ran
Arwen, looking slightly bemused, wandered back to her chambers as
quickly and gracefully as she could.
Sam snickered as Merry stumbled back to
his seat. "Wha....snicker
held in his
Merry just glared at him. Apparantly the smell he was locked in with
was too much for him to handle. Sam knew what Merry could do to him,
however, so he said no more and just stared intently into his ale,
which had little gnats having a swim party in it. He put it down.
"What are we waiti....?" Sam started to ask, but he noticed that Frodo
was seeming to be having a staring contest with a straggly looking man.
He looked back and forth, back and forth, and neither one was blinking.
"Wow," Sam said, "I never knew you were good at that game, Mr. Frodo."
"I practice," he said, still staring.
Frodo's eyes seemed to grow even bigger
(if it were possible). If that man was going to stare at him,
gum he wasn't going to take it sitting down. Or well, yes he was
not without staring back. Give him a dose of his own medicine he
would. Yes sirree.
The strangers lips kept moving, as if he were whispering something to
himself or perhaps making a sound like a motorboat.
Very strange. Bill Ferny stumbled past again and the Ring
softly in his pocket but Frodo was determined he would not back down.
Before he moved on, Barliman muttered something about Rangers from out
in the wild, and that they didn't know his proper name but 'round here
he was sometimes called Greasehead...
Merry took his pint, glowered at his
companions, and stalked out muttering something about hobbits needing
to learn to act their age. He needed a hot bath to eradicate the smell,
so he got his shower cap, bathbrush, his rubber duckie and the bottle
of Cucumber Melon shower gel he'd pinched from Goldberry and went back
outside. He stopped at the door, marched back over to Sam, yanked the
bony hand out of Sam's pocket and whacked him with it, and then stalked
Brandybucks can only be pushed so far. After his bath, he thought he
might take a walk to clear his head. Surely there couldn't be anything
less unpleasant outside than inside. Besides, from long and painful
experience he knew what the atmosphere was like after Pippin ate too
Frodo still kept his eyes focused on the
staring stranger, but he was somewhat distracted by being aware of
Pippin talking with the Big People at the bar. The topic was
to events in the Shire and the name of Baggins
caught his ear...he desperately hoped Pip remembered he was only
Underhill here. He wondered how he could stop the Pippin gabbing if it
was needed...! Thinking on this, he nervously fingered the Ring
pocket. It began to emit a golden purr that had a strangely soporific
effect on him and his eyes began to droop of their own accord...he
struggled to keep eye contact with the "Greasehead"
but it was
more difficult by the moment.
Suddenly Strider sat up straight and
stopeed staring at Frodo. He thought that he had heard something.
Glancing over at the smallish hobbit over at the bar, he strained to
hear the conversation in the room.
The little hobbit said something and Bill Ferny, who had been hopping
past, perked up his ears. This caused the ear-horn to go upwards, catch
on the ceiling fan, and knock him into the wall.
The now semi-concious man muttered, in between various bizarre curses,
something about 'baggins'.
"AHA!" The Ranger yelled happily. Then clamped a hand over his mouth
when he realized that now everyone was staring at him. After a moment
of completely silent staring, everyone looked away and went back about
All, that is, except for the hobbit he had been having a staring
contest with, he kept glancing at him nervously.
that I've remembered the word, I must set about remembering it's
significance. What did Gandalf tell me he had again? It was something
that started with 'R'...
Nob, trundled out of the kitchen, arms
loaded with braces of "Coney Con Queso" and headed towards Frodo's
table. As he stepped over the supine body of Bill Ferney, he
"Hot Hasenpfeffer (Hare), comin' through."
He set the plates in front of the hobbits, and said, "For four
'Farthing' folk, Receive Roasted Rabbit Ratatouille . . ."
Albeit, a lame alliteration
he thought But not worth a
Meanwhile, out behind the Pony somewheres...
Merry, leaving a noxious cloud of fumes
behind him and hearing mysterious gagging noises in the dark alleyways
he passed, clutched his bundle of bath things as he spotted a long, low
roofed building filled with tubs of hot water. This must be a public
bathhouse but there was no one there to take his money. Shrugging, he
got out of his clothes, donned his shower cap and got his rubber
duckie, and sat down in the water with a happy sigh.
Just then, three human females walked in with bags full of laundry.
Merry had stumbled upon the local sorority house laundromat, and all
three girls began pointing and giggling and staring.
Merry flew out of there so fast he was barely aware of the black-robed
figure he knocked down-the same blackrobed figure that had given him a
"swirly" in the little hobbit's room.
The blackrobed figure lay on his back and groaned.
"I deserved that," he muttered.
Back in the Pony....
With a strangled cry, Frodo leaped to
his feet and dashed for Pippin. Sam was too occupied with
roasted rabbit that had suddenly landed in his lap to even realize what
was happening. Pippin, who had just finished pointing straight at
undercover Underhill cousin to indicate that yes, he did know someone
who might carry some sandwich baggies that a man could borrow gaped as
Frodo abruptly richoceted towards him through the crowd then
dramatically slipped, fell and vanished.
The Ring squealed happily to be on someone's finger again and set about
doing it's darndest to call for papa while it could.
Frodo staggered back up in confusion as things that were normally solid
appeared to be made of jello, and other things....like a giant floating
red eyeball....were suddenly thrown into high contrast. There was
sound like a train screeching to a halt and a deep voice thundered
around him... "PEEK-A-BOO! I SEE YOU! COME TO PAPA!"
The Ring was glowing and the jello was wobbling and he suddenly
realized it was on his finger
- drat! That would mean all the Jello People and even Jello
couldn't see him! This was very embarrassing and not a little
disorienting, plus that giant eyeball was deafening him! He
scramble underneath one of the jello-tables and yanked it off.
Immediately the world congealed. The eyeball was thankfully gone and
his surroundings were nice and solid. He took a deep breath to
himself and stuffed the Ring back into his pocket, ignoring it's
Turning, he found a pair of very
muddy boots next to his face. Carefully sliding up in the booth,
realized he was now sitting right next to the "Greasehead!
Nob rushed into the Kitchen.
"Hob, you won't believe what just happened?!! I was out in the
seeing if I could charm a few coins off of the new Shire-folk, when the
little one dashed up from his Rabbit and headed straight for the bar.
I thought, 'Now's your chance, Nob. See if you can snatch
purse of his as he rushes by.' Being a Sackville-Baggins, and
distantly related to ol' Mad Baggins
, though I never met
the man, being as he had accused my mother of stealing some spoons, I
thought I would try my hand at a little Burgling. So as he made
mad dash across the floor, I reached out to help it vanish.
I don't know my own strength!
My fingers grazed the leather and just as I did, It disappeared . . .
along with the hobbit! I was so stunned, I dropped it. But
something strange about these new hobbits. If I were you, I
have sold their horses . . . "
Hob, sighed . . . "too late.
A fella with a black cloak just paid 15quid for the lot of them.
maybe if we are lucky, they won't find out 'til morning."
But as they stood there, they heard something disturbing that they
hadn't heard in a long time coming from the Tavern . . .
Standing on the bar to drink his newly
acquired pint Pippin had had a perfect view of events and while half
his mind pondered jealously about the possible causes of the fall and
how to recreate them at some opportune point later, the other half
realised that this was potentially Big Trouble. But then the people
here seemed to do weird things every five minutes or so, so with luck a
good blarney would smooth things over in time for the next idiot trick.
The fellows of the bar, started grumbling about disappearing hobbits
'never seen that afore'
'aye he's not had the bill yet' (at which Sam unnoticed and busy
gobbling hot fowl pricked up his ears and looked around suspiciously)
"Aye I'm still here, right in front of you! Whatd'ya mean he
disappeared. Och! Don't be simple! He just saw the size of the beer
here, comes running over to get some, gets scared on account of them
leaping ladies and people with iron-mongery in the ears throwing
themselves about, and let's face it there's more'n a few folk here who
hit every branch falling out the ugly tree!
thinking he has to do a turn to get served (he's not the sharpest tool
in the box y'know) he tries to show off his break dancing; some silly
bugger's spilt some ale so he's spun off sideways and I daresay he's
ended up in the bog."
He supped a sup
"He'd best come back though, he knows where the party is."
He supped another sup
"Mmm, good beer this, anyone want another pint?"
Strider sat up straight. The hobbit had disappeared entirely! That is a
Eveyone had fallen silent for the moment. Not good, and many of them
were either staring or glancing at the Ranger.
Something bumped up against his boots, and he leaned over and peeked
under the table.
There was that Baggins fellow, staring right back up at him.
This was not good. Not good at all. Gandalf said that...oh no.
Suddenly he remembered.
Frodo's eyes were huge as saucers already, but they widened when
Strider grabbed him and dragged him hurriedly into the hobbits' room.