Bucklebury's LotR Parody

An ongoing role-play parody by various fans on Bucklebury.net

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
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.
 
Along the 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.

In Bree....

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 lightened 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 Phillipa said 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 HAND!"
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 had 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 Road.  
 
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 the 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 began 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 been snacking on into a nearby hedge-shadowed ditch.  
 
"Well," he 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 be 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 let on that my name is Baggins!  If any name must be given, it shall be 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 out 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 "slower 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 jockey towards the side, they had something pass them going even faster on the other side!
 
"........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 it was 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...
 
...face first...
 
...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 'road-ski'
 
"Woo...hoo...!!"
 
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.  
 
Unfortunately 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.  "PLACES, EVERYONE!  CUE THE RAINTOWERS!"  It began to rain buckets, even though the sky was clear.  Folk began to hurry around and stand on the little orange markers and golfballs that were scattered about.
 
"GET HARRY DOWN TO THE GATE!!  I DON'T CARE IF MAKE-UP IS DONE WITH HIM OR NOT... HERE THEY COME!!"  There was a flurry of panic by the gate as Harry Goatleaf was rushed out, and his make-up bib snatched away.  Everyone stood waiting, staring at the gates with rain pouring into their eyes.
 
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 smelling Something.
"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 face.

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 other was 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 to 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 begun to rain.  Behind him he could hear Sam making all sorts of odd garbley 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 a small sign to the side.
 
BREE
No Loiterin'
No Trespassin'
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 sign.
"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!"
He squinted at the even tinier print that read: HUMANS MUST HAVE SHIRT AND SHOES FOR SERVICE; HOBBITS MUST PRESENT PROOF THAT THEIR FEET ARE FUNGUS-FREE.
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 skinny men giggle at the sight.  Harry ignores them.  He has lines to learn, 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 to 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 Performers...."
 
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 sounds behind him, but it was too dark now to tell why his friend sounded so odd.

Harry fumbled his pipe when he heard a knock on the gate.  The burning cinders fell into his baggy pantaloons and set up a smoking.  Harry jumped to his feet, entangling himself in 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 pants 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 too 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 week, and your friend, Hob, has cleaned me completely out of pipeweed.  Not that this is a bad thing, as your entertaining stories have kept the tavern full of paying customers.  They like your stories and jokes, and the womenfolk are delighted by your frirtatiosity . . ."
 
"Now Mr. Butterbur . . . " began Nob, but the bartender continued his lecture.  
 
"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 this score."
 
Nob and Hob had not settled a score for over two years.  They had began in the Southfarthing, eating all of the shrimp 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 might come out of the big man's mouth next.  "Anything," they prayed, "but 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 barn 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 like 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 money 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 squirrels.
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 through the gate first, just in case there was a booby-trap of some kind.  If 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 and jumped  when he found a squashed-looking and very grouchy face glaring at him through the opening.  Slamming it shut on the gatekeeper's face 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 the 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.  Hasn't he heard that Short hair is all the rage in Gondor?  How are we ever going to get money from him?"
 
Nob, giggled.  "He gave me a silver penny when I brought him his pint.  Better than the Nuts the Squirrely folk left--like that is a proper 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.
BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAp!
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 muddy track that apparently served this burg as a main street.  The houses leaned in over them, making him even more critical of Man-Style architecture than usual.  He just hoped none of these overtall dumps 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 of ponies to the railing.  
 
They approached the heavy door and gave it a good shove causing warmth and light  to wash over them as they gratefully stepped out of the rain, shaking themselves like dogs.  Unfortunately a thick wave of assorted odors also washed over them and 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 Merry 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 at a very bedraggled and squished hobbit.  He appeared to be someone who worked at the Inn, because he was wearing a pony-shaped white tag that proclaimed:
 "(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."
He 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 hair on his feet (And he was a Proudfoot!), they thought he was not even in his tweens!
 
A moment later, Nob came bustling through the door, and started to examine the damage inflicted by the new arrivals.  "Sorry, Hob, I came as quick as I could."  These new folk are inside talking to Butterbur, and from the look of them, we won't be getting any great tips.  Wanted me to carry their bags to the rooms for free!"
 
Rain and tears mixed on Hob's face as he stared ashamedly at his feet.  "Look at what they did!" he burst out in sobs.  "They . . . they . . . my feet are b-b-b-bald!"
 
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 ever!  The hair on my feet was always a source of pride, but now they look even better!  Though I wonder how the tall Ranger in the bar will react 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 we 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 waving his arms above his head, hoping at least his hands would show above the tall bar.  "HEY!" (bounce) "SERVICE!" (bounce) "HELLLLOOO!" (bounce)...
 
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."  When Sam 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.
 
*DING!*
 
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 yourself!"

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 suffered a setback...
 
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 smoke.  Elladan coughed and waved a hand before his face.  Elrohir could not 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 walked forward and stumbled over something lost in the reeking haze.  Elladan 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.  Elladan 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 over 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 telling me??"
 
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 gripping 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 much as 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 up 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 in 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 beard, pointy hat.' - that's got to be him...but where is he now?"  He looked around the room again, but saw no wizard.  There was a gangly, 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 interesting sound effect as Pippin was knocked sideways into Merry and they all went down in a tumble.  So much for not being noticeable.  Good thing 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. pointy hat........."
 
He paused..
 
"I'm too late aren't I?"........
 
"Bugger......."
 
"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 fingers couldn't find it, so he huffed in frustration.  Wiping the water from 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 grabbed the 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 by his locker, dressed in a robe, with a towel wrapped 'Swami-like' around his head.  "You okay?" he asked. "I heard a scream . . . "
 
"Oh I am just fine!" said the elf through clenched teeth.  He was dripping with both water and rath.  "But when I get my hands on those twins, they are going to be anything but fine.  
 
As he 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 of refreshments and leaving that to the experts like we "hollow tree" elves.  I remember that 'Eregion Derby' party he threw a few centuries ago.  Thought it would be a great trick if he could get Gandalf to make the Ice Sculpture Horses dance around the punchbowl--Didn't think that one quite through, did he?!!  The ice melted, and they are all grown up now.  And what use, may I ask, are a bunch of wild water-stallions!  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 can 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 the bad will between some of the races, the only logical choice are some festive "Sociable" crackers.  They are "uncommonly good" and perhaps 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 Horses!"

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 here?"
His eyes brightened. "I've got it- I'll sing my favorite drinking song!"
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
 
Ohhhhhhh...
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 note decidedly flat.  When the Innkeeper finally arrived and subsequently 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!"
 
He caught 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 noticed that scraggly Man leaning forward and  listening to him and suddenly trailed off.  Turning, he lead them to a table near enough to the fire 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 trumpet ...

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. . . .
 
Bad--because 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.
 
Good--because 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!"  Standing 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.  
 
In Rivendell...


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 chance.
 
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 on it, and jolted forward, right into Arwen.
 
"What? Who? Well . . . uh. . . why are you asking me?  What would I want with a Horse's Tail?"  He was afraid that he would be discovered.  He hid his right hand in his robe, and then drew in a tense breath.  As he did so, he caught the smell of "Herbal Essence" Shampoo wafting 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 Men of Bree.   He watched Ferny screeching and hopping around the room trying 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 the corner watched it without comment then turned his attention back to the hobbits.
 
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.  
 
"S'cuse me - that man over there in the corner. Who is he?"  The bread was tugging around under his arm.  Without losing his grip he elbowed the competition and heard a small oof from Sam.  Pippin was trying to pry the cheese from his fingers.  He briefly wondered where Merry had got 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 a 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 thought.
 
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, baggage...bandaid...bragger....

...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.  
 
Elrohir let 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 to his feet, his Elvish awareness honed over centuries of hunting wiley beasts in the forests, somehow failing to notice that Elrohir had dropped their Ada's 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.  
 
One 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, sweet thing?"

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 of 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.


...barbell...banner...bagel...bonbon...barman...
 
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 up.
 
...badlands, banter, burgler, bargains... hmm - that sounds close... naw - brandy, beggar, beagle...



In Rivendell...

"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 off.
 
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 happened to...snort.. you?" He held in his laugh.
 
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, then by gum he wasn't going to take it sitting down.  Or well, yes he was but 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.  B..b..b..b..b..b..   Very strange.  Bill Ferny stumbled past again and the Ring squeeped 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...
 
"Greasehead..." Frodo whispered...

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 back outside.
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 much cheese.

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 turning 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 in his 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 getting 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 their business.  
 
All, that is, except for the hobbit he had been having a staring contest with, he kept glancing at him nervously.
 
Now 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 muttered, "Hot Hasenpfeffer (Hare), comin' through."
 
He set the plates in front of the hobbits, and said, "For  four fair 'Farthing' folk, Receive Roasted Rabbit Ratatouille . . ."
 
Albeit, a lame alliteration he thought But not worth a strangled cry

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 juggling hot roasted rabbit that had suddenly landed in his lap to even realize what was happening.  Pippin, who had just finished pointing straight at his 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 a 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 Pippin couldn't see him!  This was very embarrassing and not a little disorienting, plus that giant eyeball was deafening him!  He managed to 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 steady himself and stuffed the Ring back into his pocket, ignoring it's disappointed whimpers.  
 
Turning, he found a pair of very muddy boots next to his face.  Carefully sliding up in the booth, he 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 tavern, 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 that fat 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 his 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 there is something strange about these new hobbits.  If I were you, I wouldn't have sold their horses . . . "
 
Hob, sighed . . . "too late.  A fella with a black cloak just paid 15quid for the lot of them.  But 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 . . .  
 
 
Silence.


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!  
 
Anywho, 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 rare gift.
Eveyone had fallen silent for the moment. Not good, and many of them were either staring or glancing at the Ranger.
 
Huh?
 
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.