Bucklebury's LotR Parody

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

A Conspiracy Unmasked
It was raining, lots.  Pippin looked thoroughly soaked as he squelched between some bushes and poked
Frodo, who was hunched up apparently listening to something.
"Hey Frodo, what's going on? I'm soaking wet and we'll be out here ages before we get to the next nearest Inn. Have you got any spare cloaks in those packs Sam's lugging "
He leaned against a tree, huddling into his damp jacket before suddenly slipping on the bark and rolling down the slope.
"Hey," he called. "That's funny, its not raining over here!"
 A bearded figure grunted somewhere in the distance and the rain mysteriously moved slightly to keep all the hobbits wet.

Frodo squinted up at the little grey raincloud that was following them as they squished and squelched along. He tried dodging rapidly from side to side for a while, leaving a wet zigzag as he went.  The cloud stubbornly stayed exactly over his head, though the others fell behind him.  He finally had to stop, out of breath.
"Why is it only following me?" he panted, " You got away from it, but it stays with me! No fair..." 
Somehow he guessed it must have Something to do with the Evil of the Ring.  But he couldn't remember Gandalf mentioning it attracting clouds.  With a resigned sigh, he figured he was just going to have to wait until the cloud ran out of water.
The Brandywine could be heard up ahead of them now. They zeroed in on the sound and followed it, as the woods were starting to get kind of dark.  Up ahead they could just make out the light from the ferryman's cottage. They were relieved to see it, and looked forward to a warm bath and bed in Crickhollow.

Suddenly something bright blue dashed out of the hut, looked at the hobbits, fluttered its wings, and dashed back inside.
The Bucklebury Fairy skittered into the Ferryman's room and tried to wake him up, but the hobbit slept like a log.  She sighed and dashed back out, it looked like she was in charge of things at night again.
The blue thing was there again in a moment, and disappeared behind the hut. 
"What is that?" the Fairy heard one of them say. She'd wait for them to get here, but something was making her nervous
 at the moment. Something...scary beyond all reason!
There was a sudden sound of hooves behind them in the dark, and loud, creepy sounding music!
"Bucklebury Fairy! Follow me!" cried Merry and charged through the bushes toward the nearby river. The others looked at each other, shrugged and followed him.
"What did he say?" shouted Pippin to Frodo as he shoved bushes aside and leaped ferns.

"I don't know - that creepy music was too loud. But he's going somewhere, and fast. And we need to get away from that horse!"  
To the tune of Sam's wildly clanging pans, they charged down towards the river with the sound of hooves getting louder and louder behind them. A wooden fence suddenly loomed up out of the river's mist.  With hardly a pause, Pippin vaulted it, following Merry.  Sam struggled over a bit more slowly, hampered as he was with his large pack.   Frodo glanced back and his eyes widened even further than usual as a dark black horse and rider came charging out of the trees towards them.
He didn't even remember vaulting the gate, he was moving so fast. In short order he had reached the bank of the river where the others stood, panting and looking around in the gloom.
"Wh....wh....where's the ferry?" 
Behind them there was the sound of a thud and muttered cursing as the rider's horse balked and refused to jump the fence.  Frodo looked at the deep, rushing water in front of them, and then back over his shoulder at the horse on the other side of the closed gate.
"Hi!" said the horse amiably as it's rider muttered and kicked in futility at its sides.

The Bucklebury Fairy zipped out from behind the hut and hovered above the hobbits' heads for a moment like a giant blue dragonfly. Abruptly, she grabbed Merry's shirt and began to fly across the river with him. The other hobbit's eyes nearly bugged out of their heads, but by the time she had set him down on the other side, he had struck up an interesting conversation about the best way to eat mushrooms. Soon the Fairy was back for another one.
"Which one first?" she said in a little voice.
"What's that?"
"Which one first?" asked again.

Meanwhile, Bill was in his stable, pacing. (if ponies can pace, that is) "Where is that Sam? He should be here by now." 
"I'm coming soon, Bill! Just hold yer horses!" Bill looked around. "Do you really want me to hold my horses?"
Sam sighed. "No, of course not! I just, well, nevermind...just hang on!"
"What's taking you so long?"
"Well, you see, right now, we are following this blue thing, and Mr. Merry is talkin to it. Don't know how long it will be for us to get to Bree, but we're taking the Fairy to it."

"Fine then, Sam, but I'm sick of hiding for Barliman! Hurry up!" 
Sam turned to Merry. "Um, do you think you can tell this thing to hurry up a little?"

Frodo looked at Sam like he was addled.
"I'm not Merry, he's across the river there - and I don't even know what that thing is much less how to hurry it.  Are you all right, Sam? It's me - your Frodo. Don't you know your Frodo?"
The Fairy buzzed her wings impatiently, spraying them with glitter and making them sneeze.

Okay, who's going next ? asked Pippin,
The others dithered and Frodo kept looking back over his shoulder in a distracted fashion, what with the rain, the darkness and all Pippin hadn't noticed the black horse and rider.
I know Rock paper scissors! One, two, three.
Frodo made paper & Sam made scissors as Pippin's fist showed he'd picked rock, and won. Hauled up by  the strong but diminutive ferry fairy the hobbit of some intelligence was soon on the other bank with his cousin.
'How did you choose?' asked Merry watching the slightly erratic flight of the fairy on the next trip.

'Oh the old rock, paper, scissors. Frodo always makes paper and Sam always makes scissors first go in five,  did you not know its a great way to decide who gets the round in?!' replied Pippin.
Just then there was a damp thud followed by a clang as the fairy dropped off Sam.

The Bucklebury Fairy lifts Frodo just in time!

The Fairy whizzed back across the river to get Frodo. Just before she reached him, the Ringwraith finally got the gate open and the horse came charging forward. 

The Fairy frantically tried to lift Frodo, but his overcoat came off and he fell down. The Fairy tried again, this time successfully getting him into the air. The Ringwraith's horse galloped right up to them, and- stopped.

"HI!" it said cheerfully again. The Ringwraith screeched at his steed and kicked it repeatedly for it's friendliness. By then, the Fairy was across the river and dropped Frodo in a heap on the other side.

Frodo gasped for breath - it had not been a comfortable feeling, having the water right under his kicking feet like that.  The Fairy had been getting kind of tired by the time she got to him, so he had only been inches off the water most of the way over. He clambered back to his feet and adjusted his coat, watching as the bright blue...whatever it was....made its way back to the far side again. 
"Quick - let's get away from here before that thing tries to carry that black rider and horse over!"
Brushing glitter off of their clothes and out of their hair, they turned down the lane and headed for Crickhollow as  fast as they could manage, considering the dark.  The sound of the river slowly faded behind them but they heard no hooves, no cheerful equine greetings.  As the small light in the windows of Crickhollow hove into view, they  finally began to relax.  A hot bath, a hot meal, a soft bed!  They all hoped Fatty had done his job properly and that is what they would find.

Sam sat down and leaned his head on one hand. He coulda sworn it was Merry he was talkin to. This whole telepathy thing was still confusing and was causing him alot of stress. Frodo came over and asked if he was all right.

"Yes, Mr. Frodo, I'm fine. I just need some food, and maybe some sleep. I guess steppin on the road for that  little bit just rattle me up a bit."
"Well, ok then. Get some rest, Sam." He handed Sam a mushroom. Everything seemed to clear up after that.

Meanwhile, at the house in Crickhollow...

::YAWN:: "That was a nice nap! Now for snacks... let's see, theres some cheese, cornbread, a nice apple pie, strawberry tart, gooseberry jelly, butter, coffee, tea, cream, cold chicken, sourdough bread... just enough for an evening nibble."

Fatty chatted to himself as he wandered around the kichen gathering the food and utensils and placing them on the table... after he cleared off a corner. It took a while to find everything he wanted what with having to dig through the dirty dishes and piles of rubbish.
Boxes of Frodo and Bilbo's things were stacked along the walls, still packed. The beds had not been assembled and the only tub was filled with cold gray-water from Fatty's last bath. Piles of rumpled clothes covered the furnishings, discarded trash littered the floor. The fire had gone out during Fredigar's nap and now the house was getting chilled by the night air. Fatty pulled on another sweater and sat down to table.
Just as he was about to sink his teeth into a huge sandwich, there was a knock at the door. Irritated at the interruption, he set his sandwich down rather forcefully. With fire in his eyes and a rumble in his belly he crossed the great room to the entry hall.

Even if he could have seen his feet past his belly, he wasn't watching where he stepped.
"Oh, drat and botheration! Who is iiiiiiiiiiiit?"... just before he reached the entryway, his foot stepped on some moldering bit of last week's elevensies, sending his bulk smashing through the door!
"Oh!!" sputtered Fatty, breathless with surprise, "Mr. Merry! You're here sooner than I expected..."  His eyes traveled past Merry's expression of disbelief to the horrified faces of Pippin, Sam and Frodo.

Frodo gaped at the broken door and the horrific heap that was revealed beyond it.  And besides that, the house was a mess too!
"Fatty!" he managed to sputter. "What have you done...?! Where's our hot bath and warm fire and....and....." He trailed off and heaved a sigh. 

"On the other hand, at least you're consistent."  He stepped over Fatty's prostrate fat and waded into the house, wrinkling up his nose. Somehow he didn't think he'd be staying very long.
"Sam!" he called back over his shoulder, "Get to work! Hot bath! Hot fire! Hot food! Clean floors!  Clean beds! Hop to it!"
He scooped debris off of an easy chair and sat down to watch. 

Sam looked at him in disbelief.
"What? Why not make Fatty do it? It was his job in the first place. Besides, I'm a gardener, not a housekeeper, and I just don't feel too good."
It was true. Normally Sam would have done it, but for now, Sam was achey all over and everyonce in a while Bill would say something to him, causing Sam to flinch. Sam batted his eyes, hoping that Frodo would let him rest. When it didn't look like Frodo would let him, Sam sat down on the nearest chair, crossed his arms, and wouldn't move. 
Sure, he was being ornery, but he had a right to, didn't he?

Frodo widened his big blue eyes piteously and little tears welled up in the corners of them.

"B...but Sam" he whispered softly with heartbroken tone "How can you, of all people, say something  like that to me? *sniffle* I.. I'm your very, very own Master, and I always look out for you, and I'm so weary and dejected and..... *sniffle*" He wiped his eyes with the back of his hand and pouted endearingly at his dear, dear Sam on whom he relied for everything that really mattered in life. 
 The others sniffled in sympathy as they waited to hear what Sam would say. 
"And besides," Frodo added in his soft, entreating voice, "You don't really want to eat something  Fatty has cooked, do you?....."
Sam sighed and rolled his eyes.
"Of course I don't want to eat Fatty's cooking, and I never said I wouldn't do the cooking. But if I am to cook the food, I'm not also taking on the job of cleaning and getting the baths ready. Fatty can do that," he glared at Fatty. "Besides, it was his job in the first place. I will need some help in the kitchen though. Pippin, you're helping. Just until the baths are ready, anyway. Then I suggest you take the first one." Sam wrinkled his nose. Merry looked at him in disbelief, as Sam is not normally so 'Take charge', but I guess when food and less work is involved, anything can change a hobbit.

Pippin, looked dubiously down the hall at the state of the kitchen,
"Well given the state of the kitchen, if I do anything in there I'll need the first bath!"
He turned to leave and there was a sickening squelch noise

"Fatty, I'm not goin to look at what I've stepped in but if you don't clean up, starting with the bathroom, there will be con-se-quen-ces."

Fredegar scowled at Pippin and Sam, but grudgingly (and none too gracefully) heaved himself up off the floor. With a last longing glance at his sandwich he turned toward the bathroom.

Though outwardly he appeared peeved at having to clean things up, he really was mortified at the state of the house. A hobbit who loves both food and leisure, and with a propensity for procrastination, Fatty often finds himself in embarassing situations. He set to work with a will, tackling the heavy job of dragging the full tub outside to dump the gray-water first.

Left to himself in the parlour, Frodo sighed and put his feet up for a few minutes but the chill of the house was too uncomfortable to rest properly.  He poked the fire a bit to stir up the embers and blew on it until he got it going again.  Feeling pleased with himself for having  managed that little trick without any help from Sam, he ate Fatty's abandoned sandwich and curled up on the settee to watch the others work.  
Outside it grew fully dark and he wondered how he was going to manage to give Merry, Pippin and Fatty the news that he and Sam were heading out again right away.  He decided he would write it in secret code, and getting a scrap of paper he began to work on it with lemon juice serving for ink.  He thought about checking in the other rooms to see if he could locate a proper pen, but it sounded like they were having a  food-fight in the kitchen, and Fatty filled the bathroom sufficiently to leave little room for anyone else.  The house was warming up and getting steamy.
"Dibs on the first bath!" he hollered to no one in particular.

Red faced and sweating profusely, Fatty poked his head out from the bathroom when he heard Frodo's exclamation,
"No need to argue about who goes first, I've found 3 other tubs among the stuff Mr. Merry had delivered! Just have to draw the water." His large round face beamed with excitement as he stepped back into the bathroom. He was slow to start, but once you got him going he was like a charging bull: hard to stop and dangerous if you got in his way!
He emerged carrying two large buckets, "Mr. Frodo, now that you've got the fire going, would you kindly put the kettle on? Unless you'd  like to bathe in fresh-drawn COLD water!" Then he stumped out the door to the water pump at a breathless pace.

Frodo obligingly swung the iron pot on it's hook over the fire.  Figuring that he had made a worthy enough contribution to that effort, he wandered over to the door and peered out at Fatty by the well.  The night was kinda...creepy.  He thought about the horse and rider and wondered if they'd crossed the river or not... 
"Hey!" said Fatty, "How about a little help over here?"

Frodo, thinking he'd heard "Hi!" jumped in the air, slammed and bolted the remains of the door all in one movement.  A moment later as his pounding heart began to slow again, he realized what he had heard had been in Fatty's voice, and he sheepishly opened the door just in time to let a glaring Fatty back in.  
"Isn't that food ready yet?" he hollered into the kitchen as he headed back to his chair. He moodily ate the rest of Fatty's snack. You just couldn't find good help these days.

Sam peeked out of the kitchen to where Frodo was sitting. "Yes, the food's almost finished.....if Pippin would stop 'tasting' it!" he said in a scolding tone. "You'll have to set the table though. We're too busy in here to do it."
Frodo seemed quite helpless towards them. You'd think that he thought he owned the place!

Frodo continued working on his secret note, but found it was difficult to tell where he had already written with the lemon juice.  Maybe it would be better just to tell them plainly. Suddenly remembering that the table needed clearing, he looked at it with disgust and considered the problem. He didn't want to touch any of what he saw, so he finally just spread a fresh tablecloth right over the mess and kind of mashed it as flat as he could.  That would do.
He pulled out one of Bilbo's old maps and considered the best route to Bree. The road wended all over the place - he figured they could save lots of time if they took a shortcut through the Old Forest - it was only a few inches wide on the map and colored a nice friendly green. It couldn't be that bad.

Meanwhile in Orthanc...

Saruman still hadn't come out to greet his old friend, even though, according to Radagast he was expected - sort of. No he hadn't sent a letter saying he was definitely coming, but no message would have reached him any sooner than Gandalf's arrival so he didn't worry about it all that much. Besides, in the last century or so, a lot of his mail had either gotten misplaced and didn't arrive on time or never arrived at all!

Gandalf had already paced a loop around the tower's base with no sight of the other wizard. He couldn't find where Saruman had moved the stables to since his last vists so he gave his steed water from his own canteen and cared for his horse with the Elven currycomb getting all the sweat and dirt off his steed.
Then since Saruman still hadn't appeared he took his own personal Elven brushes out and gave himself  the once-over. With clean robes and hair, the grey wizard then ambled up the steps again to knock on the door with his staff, hoping Saruman might be awake now and could hear him, all the while grumbling at the wind that was messing up his clean locks.

Saruman walked towards the door saying, "I don't want any cookies! Go away!" but when he opened the door and saw Gandalf, he changed his manner. "Oh! well, hello there, old friend. I didn't think you'd be here so soon." He burped.

Gandalf just looked at them, but then noticed a crumb hanging from his lip. He uncomfortably tried to tell Saruman it was there, but he wasn't getting the hint. He just kept talking.
 "....so anyway, old friend, that is why I couldn't get to you. Let's take a walk around all my trees."
 As they walked, Gandalf asked, "Why are you not wearing your white robes?"
Saruman looked down, and noticed too, that his outfit was not his usual white robes. Instead, it was more of an off-white dress type thing. (or muumuu, if you prefer)
"Oh! Well, you see, I can't find my white robe. No one can, so I'm just wearing this as a replacement until my other robe comes back."

Meanwhile, on the road between Buckleberry Ferry and the gate to Buckland, a dark rider moves stealthily

I realize I am one of the undead, but honestly, can't the giant Flaming Eye  see that I am Hungry?! There are only nuts and berries here.  What am I . . . the Black Squirrel of Mordor?  And those pesky hobbits we were chasing had MUSHROOMS.  This horse wasn't the only thing here with a frothing mouth!  

Say . . . I know!  When I get to the gate, I'll tell them my name is Pete, and that I am a travelling teapot salesman, and if they would be kind enough to make some crumpets, I will furnish them with the most wonderful tea they have ever had.  By the time they have the food on the table, I will just snatch some and run. They are short and portly, they will NEVER catch me on Creampuff, my trusty steed.  Especially when I say his name in the black language that Sauron likes so well.  And why not . . . these little people are not going to be afraid of 'Creampuff', but one hearty "Heigh-ho Grablaxt away!"  and they are looking for a table to hide under.   As he nears the gatehouse, his heart is lightened by a wall with a small window in it.
Well I never!  These backwoods bumpkins finally figured out how to build a "Ride Thru Window." What shall I have . . . 

Meanwhile in Rivendell...

Elladan walks into the garden, where he finds his twin brother Elrohir speaking to a small group if elfmaidens.  He taps him on the shoulder, sighing, "Father has another errand for us."

Elrohir rolls his eyes, and dismisses the ladies with a few hand-kisses, and conceals a book under his robes so that his brother does not see.
"Not again!" he exclaims when they are alone, "PJ said we were not in the films; why are we having to run errands?"

"I think Father is trying to get us out of the picture.  He sent Glorfindel on some wild goose-chase. We have to ride all the way to Isenguard and ask His Whiteness Saurman to come to the council." Elladan sighs again heavily.  "It is no fun, being an immortal extra."
The twins dress in their ReadyRangerTravel outfits and ride off into the growing darkness, telling knock-knock jokes to each other.

Back in Crickhollow...

Pippin, wiped his lips as he put down his pot of ale,  "Ah...that's much better, its surprising how well ale will settle after a trip, but you do have to make sure its good to drink.
Sam harrumphed at him as he bustled about between the pantry and stove. Pippin, checked the fire hatch on the front of the range and added some more kindling.
Sam had his back trurned and was obviously contemplating the herbs, so as he was at the other end of the range to the mushroom pan (and therefore presumably safe from suspicion). Pippin lifted the lid on the tureen to stir the soup, and just happened to  take a taste as he swirled the dumplings with the ladle. "Mmm" Sam's special onion, and mushroom dumpling surprise! 
Sam had spun around and given him a stinging ding on the ear with the dishcloth he'd been using to move pans with.
"Now don't you go eating before it's time, Young Took. You can wait till it's time. Besides, I need you to fill the mugs with the Old Winyards and take them out to the table."

Pippin rubbed his ear and muttered to himself as he went to get the wine. When Pippin had left the room, Sam lifted the lid and took a sip. "Mmmmmmmmm!"

Frodo wondered what was taking them so long. He was tired, he was hungry and it was getting late. He decided to just go take his bath first, and eat, then he would make his announcement. That way if they all reacted badly, he wouldn't miss out on either luxery.

He stood up and headed for the bathing room where Fatty had just gone with a steaming kettle.  He found him doodling his name in curlicues on the steamed up mirror. "Fatty!" he said, "I understand there is good food to be had in the kitchen..."  The rest of his comment went unsaid as Fredegar Bolger, Esq. practically bowled him over heading like a shot for the cookery.  Frodo quickly shut the door and settled himself into the bliss of a warm bath, ignoring the various sound effects of Fatty getting cracked with a dishrag around the corner.
There was a strange tapping sound at the bathing room window.  He glanced up to be sure the shutter was closed, and decided to ignore it.  Probably a large moth or a squirrel... but then he noticed how the Ring burbled and blew tiny bubbles in the bathwater and seemed quite happy about something. He remembered the last time it was so cheerful was when one of those strange riders was around. Suddenly he decided he was done bathing.

He clambered out, toweled off and went back to the parlour to dry off by the fire.
"Fatty!" he called, "Get the other baths ready! You others can bathe now while I eat. I promise I'll save some for you."

"Ow!!" Fatty got the snap of a dishrag to the ear and stood rubbing the sting out while he took deep draughts of the lucious aroma of whatever mushroomy delicacy Sam was cooking up. The rumble of his belly was now audible to all those around him.
"If you'll just let me have a bite or two (or three or more), I'll go fetch the water for your well-deserved baths!" The earnestness of his tone and his honest, good-natured face did little to disguise his greed for mushrooms. Fatty was not pleased when he heard Mr. Frodo order him to get baths ready for the others while he ate!

After long, lonely travel, Gollum arrives at the Dimril Dale entrance to Moria. The falls of the Dimril Stair glint softly in the first rays of dawn, its frosty mist filling the vale.::
 ::wheeze, cough:: "Ach! Curse the Yellow-Face! There must be a hole in this mountain somewhere... ::gollum::
...follow the water, it knows the way in... fishes, lotsss of nisssce fisssshes..."
Gollum smacked his thin lips at the thought of food. Though hunger and fear drove him into the bowels of Moria, revenge on Baggins was never far from his motivation...
 As he splashed his feet in the mountain stream, he sang...
 Fishie, Fishie, gleaming bright
 In the waters of the night
 What malnourished hand or eye
 Could grasp thy slip'ry majesty?

 ::cackle, choke::
 ... scenes of horseback riding and friendly pranks including Elladan removing one of Elrohir's horse's shoes and giving his brother motion-sickness...
Isenguard rises like a black spike between the toes of the mountain, forbidding and crowned with sooty smoke.  Elladan shades his bright eyes with a long hand, peering at their goal, tho in fact they have not yet even left Rivendell.
"Come on, Elrohir!  If you feel sick again, we can pull over.  Let's get this errandry stuff done and get back to the babes."
Elrohir climbs back into his saddle, his face slightly green.  They rode off at once, and Elrond watchd them leave, a smile on his saguine face.

Elrond watches his boys ride out of the gate with fatherly pride. As the sound of "Knock knock" "Who's there?" and oddly unrhythmic hoofbeats fade into the distance, Elrond's smile turns into a scowl as he realized the twins left without finishing the list of chores he had given them. He sighed, wondering how many more centuries it would take before Elladan and Elrohir finally grew some responsibility.
"At least they remembered to take the message to Saruman for me," Elrond muttered. Then he sighed again as he noticed a roll of parchment neatly tied with ribbon lying nearby.

In Crickhollow...

Frodo pulled a chair up to the table, considered the state the table was in and pulled his chair over to the fire instead.  Balancing his plate on his knees, he rapidly consumed his portion by blowing on it as he went, then with hardly a pause methodically ate up the contents of the other plates that Sam and Pippin had brought in. Right before he reached for the last one, he remembered he had said he would save some, so he carefully split the contents of that plate among all the other empty ones instead of eating it.  They looked a bit plain, so he garnished each of them with one of the drooping marigolds that were in a vase on the sideboard. Feeling very generous as well as warm and full, he settled down for a pipe.
He could hear them splashing and singing in their baths and rather wished he'd thought to bring his earplugs along. He considered the Ring in the firelight and it stared back at him.  It was soooo pretty.....maybe when he got it to Bree, he could talk Gandalf into letting him keep it after all.... He petted it to get it purring happily before slipping it back into his pocket.

In the Wild...

Aragorn scraped more dirt aside with his broken blade, wishing he had one good trowel or something instead of that blasted sword.  Aha! There - he could see it! The biggest earthworm he'd ever seen!  What a fish he could catch with that one!

He reached for it, but it slipped out of his hand and disappeared into the dirt, burrowing away from him. Annoyed, he stuck his arm clear down the burrow trying to grab it and found his arm stuck.
Argh!  Now he'd done it. How could he get free? Where was that strange fellow with the hat and feather? Was he still anywhere near that house? Was he anywhere near Bree? He didn't even know which direction he had been going chasing worms...

"Help!" he cried into the bushes and trees. "Help!"
 It was very undignified.

In Crickhollow...

"Heigh Ho!" Sam started out, but he stopped suddenly. He sniffed, then growled. Merry looked at him like he was nuts. Sam knew what he was doing though. Mushrooms could no longer be smelled, and Sam suspected his wonderful meal had been all eaten. He wrapped a towel around himself and peaked into the room where his food should have been. Frodo's back was turned towards him, and he was a bit hunched, talking quietly to someone it seemed. Sam saw the plates practically empty, and he snuck back into the Bathroom.
"Ok, guys, you want an accomplice? Well, I'm willing to do anything."
"What are you talking about, Sam?" Merry asked.
"Frodo ate our food."
The room was an uproar. Frodo yelled to them. "What are you guys up to in there?" 
"Oh nothing!" Sam yelled back. "Just, um, singing." He lowered his voice to a whisper. "Ok, so what are we going to do?"

With Sam's news about Frodo scoffing all the food, Pippin felt very glad he'd sneaked as many tastings as he had done.
He hissed at Merry "You sort it out and I'll cover the chat with a song.
"Sing hey for the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away!
A loon is he that will not sing:
O! Water hot is a noble thing!


Frodo added a log to the fire, and innocently curled up on the settee to doze contentedly while they finished up. He felt so grateful for his dear, wonderful, loyal friends and his steadfast, generous gardener that he was glad he had left them each one brownie from the panful in the kitchen. 
It would be hard to leave them all behind in the morning.  He was glad he got to take the best cook of the lot with him.

In Rivendell...

Elladan and Elrohir rode back to Rivendell when they had realized they had forgotten the scrolled message they were charged to deliver, and after eating and changing clothes a couple of times (this outfit looks much better in the violet evening than my 'afternoon sports ensemble', said Elladan petulantly) and Elrohir trading up his horse for one that did not make him feel like he was waltzing to square-dance music, the peredhil rode off grandly into the setting sun.  After a few hours they rode back by, heading south toward Isenguard.  They waved at their father as they finally rode out of sight.

"This is gonna be fun, you wait and see, Elladan!" exclaimed Elrohir.

"I don't see how, allowing that we are going to be sent around on errandry
for the whole picture, just so that they don't have to list our names in
the credits."
Elrohir only chuckled at his brother's irritation, and patted the saddlebags strapped to his horse's gear.
"Twenty Questions?"asked Elladan.
"Yeah, okay..."
"You ask first."
"Are you male?"
"Are you an  Elf?"
Elrohir sighed.  "Are you Eowyn sister-daughter of Theoden, King of the Mark?"
"Yes! How did you know?"
"There are only three women in this whole epic, and only one of them is not an Elf!  Sheesh!"
The twins rode on into the growing night over the plains of Eregion, oblivious to the shadows following them.

Elrond was rather irritated to see the twins ride back by hours after he had thought they had gone, and he made an impolite gesture in their direction that might have been mistaken for a wave at a distance. The twins happily rode out of sight.
Elrond turned back towards the house and rolled his eyes as he caught sight of bit of parchment tied with a ribbon lying nearby. "Wait a minute," he said, "I handed Saruman's message to Elladan myself." He looked more closely at the parchment and realized his own ribbon wasn't quite that shade of pink.
Curious, and reminding himself that he was master of the house and any parchment lying on his personal verandah was subject to his inspection, he untied the ribbon and unscrolled the parchment. He immediately recognized the loopy, frilly, girly handwriting of his daughter.
"Dear King Snuggle Bear," Elrond read, "I miss my widdle sweetie pie soooo much. Does hims miss hims widdle cuddly elfie?... " There was a great deal more of the same, but Elrond didn't read any more. He went in the house, feeling suddenly sick.

From the gate in Buckland, a shrill cry fills the night...

Vlash grakta agnish VLIXIULN! *

The gate comes crashing down and the ringwraith rides through in fury. . .
*In the black speech, this translates roughly to:
You're out of Curly-fries!?

In Crickhollow...

Frodo woke with a start as the Ring cheeped.  He pulled it out of his pocket and gave it a good looking over. It looked shiny and round and golden and lovely and...happy.  It cheeped cheerily at him again.  He suddenly grew uneasy and wondered if waiting for morning was such a good idea after all.  He slipped it back into his pocket and got up to tighten down the shutters. 

He dumped out his and Sam's packs on the floor, rapidly sorted out all the candy wrappers, apple cores and junk and began repacking them, stuffing in all the food he could find at hand. He figured anything would do, even putting that somewhat greasy old box of cold curly-fries in one of the pockets on Sam's coat.
"Sam!" he called - you better towel off pretty soon or you're going to wrinkle into a giant pink prune!  We need to be going!"

"Leave?? Now??" Sam panicked, but was suddenly struck with a master plan. It kinda hurt when it hit his head, but when he looked at what it was, he brightened up. 

"Ok," he whispered, "Merry, you said you noticed Frodo was acting strange, and you wanted dirt, right? Well, I'll tell you everything."
Sam told them everything that was going on, about the Ring and Bilbo, and that they were planning to leave very soon.
"I knew it!" Merry yelled, then quickly quieted down when Pippin shot him a look, not wanting Frodo to hear. He kept singing.
"Anyway, I wouldn't be telling you this if I didn't have a reason. You come with us."
"What??" Fatty didn't want to be traveling anywhere.
"Don't worry, Fatty, you were never meant to come with us anyway. No, what I mean is, Frodo ate our food, right? Even after he said he would leave us some. Well, I know that, though you are his cousins, and he does love you, he sees this adventure as a bit of a break from you two. He doesn't want you, Merry, or you, Pippin, coming along, so if you do end up joining our little journey, that will be payback enough for him eating our food."
"Wow! Was that all in that idea you got? Let me see." Merry took the idea and looked at it, skimming it over. "Well, that is a very fine plan, indeed. Alright! We'll do it!"

"You're right, Sam, I was not meant to go along! I've no desire to see anything beyond the borders of the Shire.
Besides, somebody has to stay behind in case Gandalf comes looking for Frodo and it may as well be me."
"But if what you say about that Black Rider is true, where are you to go? You can't go back onto the Road, you'll just get swept right to the very place that Rider's going, to the Brandywine Bridge and the East Road! You can't go around the Old Forest .... you certainly can't go through it...." As Fatty surveyed their faces, all looked thoughtful, but Merry's eyes lit up and a smile spread across his face...

*Happily strolling along with an om tiddly om pom pom, is Tom Bombadil back from his recent visit to his good friend Winnie (The Pooh) at the hundred acre wood, he's just rehearsing that charming lil ditty that the old bear had taught him when poof! 

He stops with a start as he notices a dirty little man with his arm embedded deep down  in the mud. The little fellow then cackled madly and broke down in tears of laughter as the downtrodden traveler desperatly tried to turn, to look at him, a pleading look in his eyes.
TB, wipes a tear from his eyes and tries to speak, but to no avail, yet he manages to stoop and and stare at the poor bloke, he then urges him to speak . . . . . *

deep in the woods, if you listened carefully, you could hear muffled conversation pierced by occasional laughter.
It was the Entwives. 

Moving closer you could hear what they were saying.....and remember it takes
a considerable time to say anything in Entish so it must be important......

"I said love, I said pet, I said love.......now I know it upset you when that Hobbit thought the gardener had planted you there but, you
do look like a tree and you know what they say, if it looks like a cow and smells like a cow then it must be a cow! Ents!!" said one Entwife shaking her ...errr...head?
"Oh I know.....I know.." said another.
"And they never notice when we've had our branches waxed or our leaves styled....."

"Oh I don't know..When that She-Elf and that human decided "wouldn't it be nice to carve our initials into this here tree", I came home and he commented on my new tattoo!" and they all chorused with laughter.
"Here's one for ya love" piped up one of the more mature Entwives, "My son-in-law commented on a photo of me in my wedding dress and he said he wondered why they were always white and I said to him, aren't all household appliances white?" she cackled.
They decided time was getting on and they'd best be heading home.

"Careful on your way home ladies...there's some shady characters about. Why on my way here I saw four Hobbits, nine Black Riders,a grey bearded homeless guy who told me that he always arrives precisely when he means to, a grey
wrinkly thing that looked kinda like a nude sheep, an Elf with a hat made of leaves (very graceful) and a human who wanted to eat worms,fat ones,skinny ones,worms that squiggle and squirm ".
"Ohhh nothing we haven't seen before...."

"Let's go ladies or they will all be wondering what ever happened to the
Entwives!" and the y giggled like schoolgirls as they went their separate ways......
" Be careful of that road! Its stuck in overdrive and you never know where it could take you!" shouted another.

As the wraith rides Northwest through Buckland, he stops suddenly...

Halt, Creampuff.  Can you feel it? can you sense it?  The breeze is coming from the place near the Old Forest.
Listen closely!
Creampuff rolls his eyes, and wonders . . . how is it that I am the one with a BIT in his mouth 
A faint 'cheep' is heard . . .

There, the sound of the Ring!  Wafting on the wind.  And . . . I can't believe it.  Joy untold! Along with the ring's call comes the smell of Curly Fries!!  Fatty Bolger and his friends. Fatty ALWAYS has them with his dinner.  And sniff . . . sniff aaahh. They have congealed! You can smell the lard hardening on the crispy edges.
Come, Creampuff!  We shall find our two treasures--Rings and Fries.  But we must move stealthily . . .
They blend into the foggy night, heading towards Crickhollow . . .
"That's it!" exclaimed Merry, "We'll go right through the Old Forest!"
Fatty's expression of incredulity changed to horror as Merry announced his idea. "You're crazy! People don't go into the Old Forest... unless you just want to get lost!"

"Oh, yes they do! The Brandybucks even have their own private entrance in the Hedge that leads to a secret Buckland Rangers Hideout with password, secret hand-shake, and decoder rings! Why, they've even got a..." But Merry's revelation was interrupted by Frodo coming through the door...

"What's wrong with you people!? You've been sitting in here for over TWO HOURS! You're wrinkly as prunes, and Pippin, you still have smudges on your face! Come on, your food's gonna get cold."
Someone muttered, "What food?" and Frodo shot them a quizzical glance, but then thought, "Naw, they couldn't have known..."
"And Sam, we have to um, go back to 'BagEnd' for....something..." Frodo tried winking but it really didn't work.

"What do you mean, Mr. Frodo? We got everything we need. Come here for a second sir, let me check your eye, I think there's something in it..."
Frodo rolled his eyes and came closer...while Sam was checking his eye, Frodo whispered, "It's time...for us...to leave..."
"Leave? Leave where?" Sam asked, though he knew quite well what he was talking about.
"The Shire!" 
"What Mr. Frodo? I couldn't hear that..."
Frodo raised his voice. "The Shire! We need to leave the Shire! It is NOW TIME for US to LEAVE the SHIRE!"
Merry and Pippin looked at each other then at a very proud-of-himself Sam and they grinned. Sam was a genius.

"Aye, we'll go with you." piped up Pippin from over his towel, "Merry knows a great way out of the Shire
without using any roads and know one will know we've gone!"
"Just give us ten minutes to get dressed and make up packs, we can take whatever food is left with us, because it won't be much to carry. Hey Frodo, it'll be great!"
Pippin slapped him on the back and hurried after Merry to get dressed, having spotted his cousin relieving Sam's hook of his trews
to avoid any chance of Frodo bullying him into sneaking off.

From behind a small topiary shaped like a stork, a snort is heard . . .
Keep quiet, Creampuff.  We don't have a choice.  According to the laws of physics, you can't be in two places at the same time. And since Dr. G is both The Old Forest and us, we can't just follow these hobbits into . . . uh, us.  We ill have to go fetch the others and try to catch them on our, uh, the other side of the forest. 
The truly maddening thing, is that if we had been five minutes earlier, the Rings and Fries would have been OURS!!!
They speed off into the night, hoping to find a fish and chips stand open on the road . . .

Frodo shook his head, snapping out of a dream in which he was at some faraway distant public library, where the sound of the ocean pounded just beyond the windows... it wasn't the pounding of the surf, it was the pounding of hooves off in the distance!
He rammed in a few more pounds of assorted ingredients from the kitchen shelves and slung a rope of sausages from the rafters over Sam's shoulders. "Here!" he hefted the overstuffed pack onto Sam's back and grabbed his coat and walking stick.  "What are you all standing there staring at me for? We need to get moving! Er...uh..... I mean, Sam and I have to....uh.....go to a.... there was a.....Oh blast and confusticate it all.  Merry, Pippin, Fatty....don't follow us! We have everything under control!"  He shot out the door into the dark and promptly tripped over a bucket and with a loud flump tumbled off the front steps in a heap. 

Aragorn tried not to show how weirded out he was by the little cackling man. Instead he asked, "Can you help me get out of this hole?"
The man just cackled and danced around in that annoying way of his, singing nonsense.
The man stopped and looked at him with a wide grin on his face. Aragorn put on Bambi eyes.

"Nope, sorry Mr. Frodo. They already have thier things, and are coming. Just be glad it's only Merry and Pippin. Fatty's not actually coming"
Sam heard a groan. He helped Frodo up.
"C'mon! Let's get going. Merry, you have to lead, as you're the one who knows the way..."

Pippin, who'd spotted the sausages grabbed at the small bag of tomatoes on the worktop nearest the door and hurried out after Sam.
"Hey Frodo, there's a keen hobbit, is that you Tookish side all dashing off towards the beer in Bree! Eh?! My grandfather said there's good inn there call the Prawn and Pony. Maybe once we're through the forest we can stop for a jar or three?"
Sensing that all was not well with Frodo Pip scurried off after Merry and his lantern.
Shortly after giggling could be heard from under the shadow of the trees.