Bucklebury's LotR Parody

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

Flight to the Ford

Frodo was afterwards never quite sure what had gone wrong. It had been such a foolproof plan,  what had given him away, and why oh why had he been such a fool as to put the Ring on?  Hindsight being 20/20 he looked upon his folly with a clarity that made him want to go rub a little vaseline on the lens.  He tried kicking himself but only managed to hit Sam, so he didn't repeat the exercise.
 
He remembered the wraiths all suddenly moving around, agitated and disorganized, like the way cartoon elephants jump away from mice.  Then there were the marshmallows, and the marshmallow sticks....Aigh... A stick in the dark.
 
And stick him it had - first there was the humiliating whack on the rear (he never had known what hit him) and Aragorn flailing past...Sam shouting... and the hot marshmallow stick, complete with remains of mallow stabbing into his shoulder! After the confusion was past and they were back to Weathermiddle, Aragorn had been most grave about it.  Morgul marshmallow, on a morgul stick - a terrible combination.  
 
And now everyone was unhappy with him because he had to be put on the pony, which meant they had to carry the packs too.  It just wasn't his day.

Aragorn took another look at Frodo's wounded shoulder.  It looked very marshmallowy.  "I cannot heal this - it's too sticky.  He needs Elvish medicine.  However, if one of you can go find me some athelas, I can chew it up and stick it on there."
 
He whispered aside to the others "It won't do much of anything, but maybe he'll at least think it's better, y'know...kind of like  whatchcallums...placebos.  Elvish for 'fake-out head-tricks.'  Even parsley will do in a pinch."

After traveling a ways, they stopped to rest.  Frodo slowly managed to get down from Bill.  His shoulder was feeling more and more squishy and turning white, which concerned them all greatly.  He also had an growing desire for warm sweets, and occasionally snapped his fingers though he himself didn't know why.
 
Frodo lay on the ground and looked up at Aragorn, who was busily chewing on a large mouthful of some sort of greenery.  The whitish roots dangled from his lips, dusting his shirt with bits of peat and mould.   Green juice ran down his chin.  Frodo looked at Sam inquiringly.
 
"That's some sort of medicine that he has for you, Mr. Frodo." offered Sam helpfully.
 
"Is that Elvish medicine? Because if it is, I don't want any!" Frodo replied, utterly revolted.

Somewhere in the Wild...

Gandalf took a few hours to rest. Well it would have been restful if he could ever work out the cramps in his legs. After nearly a full day of galloping his butt hurt, his hair was a mess and he was hungry. Grimey didn't allow anyone to refresh his travel pouch and he ate the last for the bread taken from his last meal at Orthanc hours ago.  He drank a little water from the stream they stopped at and tried to ignore his rumbling belly as he stretched and massaged and stretched some more trying to work out his sore muscles.
 
Knowing time was precious, he only rested a little while, then he and the horse headed north again and Gandalf started up a one-sided conversation with the  horse making it's horsey comments on choosing a name for Gandalf to call him. 'Hey you' and 'Horse' just didn't seem poilite and the horse nodded it's head in agreement.
 
After nearly being bucked off on the way to Edoras, Gandalf never used the term pony again, at least where the fat pony could hear him.
 
The hours whiled away and Gandalf soon forgot his hunger in his preoccupation with names. He found the conversation becoming quite interesting as he began to understand what some of his steed's head movements were really meaning. Fleetfoot was nice, but the horse made it clear it wasn't good enough, too plain for his sensitive nature. Snowflake was out of the question as a name, as was Whitey. He remided the wizard with a few sharp jolts as he switched gaits, that he was not a White horse and much more than he looked.  
 
After scrambling for a handhold Gandalf grimaced. "Who, er just what at do you think you are, a spirit?" the wizard said to the creature he sat upon. The horse jigged sideways. "A shadow perhaps?" The beast threw his head up in the air nodding. Gandalf laughed. "Then I shall call you 'Shadow'?" The horse put it's head down and slowed it's forward momentum.
 
"Not enough, eh?." The horse raised it's head again and resumed running. Gandalf kept a hand on his hat and continued thinking. He watched the land whip past him as the horse, happy that his rider was on the right track about his name picked up even more speed. Gandalf began remarking about how fast the horse was. The Shadow-horse whinnied. "Fast... Shadow... Shadow... Fast... Shadow..." The old man mumbled the words over and over.
 
"Shadowfast! How about that?" yell the wizard delighted. The horse snorted and bounced his rider. Gandalf thought and thought about similar sounding words and said them aloud, trying them out. Eventually, as he was getting tired he nearly lost his seat as the horse whinnied and changed from his smooth gallop into a prance."Wha-what?"  
 
The horse made a few motions as the slow human finally realized nothing was attacking, but he'd said something right. Gandalf stretched his mind to recall the last thing he'd said. "Shadowfax?" The horse whinnied and pranced again.  
 
"Shadowfax it is then." Gandalf patted the horse and feeling quite tired after the long conversation, with no food or wine to sustain him, the old man was soon napping upon the happy horse as it continued to speed northwards.

Somewhere in the woods...

Arwen halted her shoppingbag-laden steed and alertly looked in all directions.  
The signs were clear: her Strider-sense was tingling and the smell of marshmallows and chewed weeds was in the air. This could only mean one thing...
 
Mr. Stubble is in trouble!!

 
"Come on, Muff," she said to her bleached steed. She reached into her saddle-bag and pulled out a First Aid Kit, a bottle of shampoo and that gorgeous new white dress-thingy that made her look all angelic. "We need to help Gorny! You know? Like, us to the rescue!" The horse tossed its head in disagreement.  
Arwen leaned forward. "Oh, come on, it'll be fun! We'll have some quality screentime and be heroic and look pretty and stuff. Don't you want to beat that git Asfaloth at something?"  
Muffy merely grunted.
 
A few moments, pouting sessions and infamous "lips" later, Arwen was riding in the direction of Weathertop with a smug expression on her face.  Yet a voice within her (that, strangely enough, had a delicate Oxford accent and kept referring to someone called 'Trotter') told her that what she was doing was nothing short of stealing Glory's glory.
 
"Oh, but Glorfindel will be glad I handle this for him," she countered the voice as she rode on. "You know, with him having other matters weighing on his head lately. Ha, get it, on his head? Get it, get it? Because he hasn't got, like, anything on his head? Get it, get it?"  
She went into a fit of giggles at her own joke.  Both Muffy and the voice would have rolled their eyes if they had been able to.

On the borders of Imladris, stern sentinels stand, impassive and undaunted by weather and time.  They guard the lands behind with their very lives.  They are the Imladris Border Patrol.
 
It had been a quiet day on the frontier for the officers of the Imladris Border Patrol. Actually every day was a quiet day. Just a long long string of quiet days, one after another after another after another. They'd chased a few young orc hoodlums off the South Forty half a century ago, but that wasn't even a real skirmish, just some punks out for kicks and a bit of minor vandalism ... easily vanquished, much to their disappointment.  
 
Seargent Aurnould Swartzenthalion was starving for a fight. It had been an Age since Rivendell had been beseiged, but he and his Border Guards were still at their posts, ever watchful and ready to harass any passing squirrels who didn't have their papers properly stamped and notarized. He longed to become the hero that saved Rivendell from a deadly swarm of evil creatures, but for now he had to be content keeping a careful count of the Rivendell rabbit population. Oh, what he wouldn't give for a band of unwelcome visitors! Not another orc in a blonde wig seeking asylum, a right and proper gate crasher, oh what fun that would be!
 
A thin reedy scrap of an elf came running up to Sgt. Aurnauld and saluted him.  "Message for you, sir!"
 
"Out with it then, private."  Everyone was 'private' to Sgt. Aurnauld, regardless of their true rank, except for his superior officers and the Lord Elrond, whom he worshiped.  Sgt. Aurnauld held out his gauntleted hand.
 
The page handed him a piece of parchment, rolled neatly and tied with a red ribbon.  Sgt. Aurnauld read it and a large wicked smile spread across his stubbly cheeks (implants).
 
"They are mine!" he whispered, crushing the paper in his callused fist. "Don't worry, My Lord Elrond; I shall make Men of your boys, er... I mean Elves of your boys! PRIVATE!" The page snapped to attention at his shout.  "Inform Captain Figwit that he has two new recruits coming for 'special training'."  Sgt. Aurnauld watched the page hurry away back to Rivendell.  He smiled again as he thought of the fun he would have shortly.  The only thing more fun than thrashing orcs was house-breaking elven princelings.
 
The day was looking up, indeed!
 
"Private!  Saddle my nag!  I'm going to fetch our new recruits!  Be sure to pack some extra chloriform and handcuffs."
 
"Do you think they will put up a fight, sir?" asked the guard.
 
"I hope so," growled Sgt. Aurnauld.  "Oh, I do hope so!"

Elrohir came running into the chamber he had shared with his brother since their birth.  He ran straight into Elladan, who had risen from his couch to learn what the shouting was about.  For shouting there was, down in the dell of Imladris; martial shouting, as if an army was drilling on the fair lawns of Elrond's house.
 
"Quick, grab anything and run!"  Elrohir said breathlessly to his brother, as he shoved a saddle-bag full of hair-and-skin care products.  He ran then to the wardrobe and began to strip the hangers.
 
"What on Middle earth are you on about?" Elladan asked, "And where are you going?  You know we are grounded!"
 
"Hurry! Before it is too late, and he see us!  Don't you understand?  Father has assigned us...
 
{insert dread music here}
 
... to the Border Patrol!"
 
 
"No!" whispered Elladan, disbelieving.  "He wouldn't!  Not his only twin sons!"
 
"You can bet your best pair of bracers on it, brother!" said Elrohir.  He was knotting a bed-sheet and lowering it out of the window.  "I am not going!  I would rather date an orc than serve for one hour under Sgt. Aurnauld "Ironguts" Swartzenthalion and Captain Figwit Fancyboy!  Aren't you ready?  I can hear them coming!"  Elladan dove toward the window but collided with Elrohir, knocking them both to the floor just as the door was kicked open.
 
"AS YOU WERE, PRIVATE PEREDHIL!"


Merry approached Frodo and poked him experimentally, and gasped when his cousin made a distinct "squish" sound. He spun around to look at Aragorn, who was still preparing Frodo's "medicine".
"What's happened to him, Aragorn? Was it the poke in the shoulder or the whack on the rear or too many carbs or what? Frodo looks terrible! Are we ever going to get to Rivendell? Because if I don't get there in time to..." He stopped and turned bright red. When the rest looked at him inquiringly, Merry instinctively reached for his pack and stammered, "Um, uh, I mean, WE have to get to Rivendell in time to, um, uh, unmarshmallow Frodo here. And, ah, has anyone seen the Pipmeister recently?"

Sam said helpfully to Aragorn, "Don't worry, Mr. Strider sir, I know how to get Mr. Frodo to take his medicine. I've seen Mr. Bilbo do it often enough, and me Gaffer did the same for us kids, so leave it to me."
He took the goop from a surprised Aragorn and carried it to a visibly- repulsed Frodo. "Well, Mr. Frodo, this is gonna hurt me even more than it hurts you." Before Aragorn could say a word, Sam stomped hard on Frodo's foot and when the other hobbit yelled in pain, Sam shoved the goop into Frodo's mouth and pinched his nose closed to make him swallow.  
"Works every time!" Sam declared, pleased. It was then that Aragorn calmly informed him that the medicine had been meant to be applied to Frodo's shoulder, not shoved into his mouth.
"Oops," Sam said meekly. "Guess I'll, ah, go feed Bill now..."

Gagging and retching, Frodo picked up a dirt clod with his one working hand and lobbed it after the departing Sam, hoping to score one on his noggin. It was lucky for Sam he was too ill to throw properly.  He snapped his fingers with frustration.  Gaining nothing from his medicine but a good dose of vitamins A & D and the ability to spit green for the rest of the day, he grumpily allowed himself to be bundled back onto Bill again. Bill's back had been very bony to sit upon before, but today it seemed softer, more like firm jello.  Very odd...but comfortable....

Strider and the hobbits finally came to the Last Bridge. There was some sarcastic muttering about the...creative name.
 
Aragorn stopped before he reached the bridge and bent down to pick up something from the path.
 
"It is an ALPHstone!"he exclaimed.
 
"Huh," Sam said, "Looks like a rock to me."
 
"What's it mean?" Pippin asked.
 
"It is an Aluminum Phosphate Hydroxide. A-L-u-m-i-n-u-m P-h-o-s-p-h-a-t-e H-y-d-r-o-x-i-d-e. This is a good sign indeed."
 
Obviously, none of the hobbits knew what that meant either, but at the moment Aragorn was much too happy for them to make him explain, so they went on.

After carefully picking their way across the edge of the bridge's stonework to avoid the churning mass of the Road, they reentered the forest and continued the dreary picking along through the brush and trees,  camping wherever they could at the end of each day.   Strider offered occasional impromptu history and geology lessons, which they only partly paid attention to, and then only because it helped break up the monotony.
 
To Frodo it seemed a never-ending and vaguely wobbly journey, as each day brought about slightly more gelanitous feel and appearance to the waking world.  The only good thing was the pony was quite soft now.  Unfortunately, so was his shoulder, which had gradually began to be scented of vanilla.
 
He was quite dismayed when one day found them facing what amounted to a cliff as the only way up and out of a dead-end ravine.  Why had the Ranger led them this way? Didn't he have any sense of direction?

In Imladris...

Elrond paced his terrace anxiously, wondering how on Middle-earth he would be able to raise the necessary for passage to Valinor. And oh yeah, there was that Ring mess to deal with too. Drat that Namo for making such a big deal over it! Denied his visa application, indeed! The muscles in Elrond's neck twitched with tension. Oh well, he refused to worry too much about that; surely Gandalf and the council would come up with something. If that stupid Isildur had just listened to me in the first place ...
 
Through careful budgeting, the jewels Idril smuggled out of Gondolin in Earendil's diapers had seen the family well into the second age, but supporting a haven such as Rivendell in this age of Middle-earth was too big a burden on the Halfelven's pocketbook. He'd been forced to seek outside employment just to make ends meet -- he just hadn't had anything left to set aside for his retirement, hard as he'd tried. Even though he degraded himself to play a sheep dog's voice, they had not even included him in the sequel to that stupid pig movie. Granted, the Priscilla role had not brought in as much cash as he had hoped for, but the wardrobe was infinitely better, just what he needed as he mourned the loss of Celebrian and half the contents of his closet. And as for the Matrix sequels ... well, at least he got to keep the shades.
 
Elrond supposed it was too late to weasel out of hosting this council thingy, but then again it would be a convenient time to announce his imminent departure to the crowd and finally tell them what he really thought of them. Gandalf with his constant breezing in and breezing out trailing a cloud of pipe smoke delivering crises for Elrond to solve, pompous Saruman who didn't know the meaning of "indoor voice", Galadriel and her constant whining about how she had warned Celebrian she would come to a bad end if she took up with that half-elf!  
 
Celebrian! "Poisoned wound," Elrond snorted, yeah right. An orc conveniently strolled into the poshest ski resort on Caradhras and scratched her with a poisoned arrow, sure he did. That was all the excuse she needed to take off. Elrond strongly suspected his mother-in-law set up that scenario - Celebrian didn't have that much imagination. Poor Elrond! His wardrobe just hadn't been the same since she'd left.  
 
Elrond sighed as he thought of his wife, especially that silky, flowy cotton candy pink frock of hers that would have been perfect for such an occasion as the council meeting -- it really set off the blue in his eyes. Oh, well, he thought, it did not do to dwell on such things. He would join her and their frocks in Valinor sooner or later ... as soon as he could find something to pawn. If he thought anybody would give a brass farthing for it, Celebrian's precious second parlor furniture would be the first thing to go, Elrond thought bitterly.
 
Let's see how the twins manage the family business after I'm gone, he thought. About time they grow up and accept some responsibility. He was banking on Sergeant Aurnauld's tender care to finally prepare the twins for assuming the positions of Imladris chief executive officer and general manager. This was the last resort, Elrond thought desperately. If this didn't work, he didn't know what he'd do. ...

In the ravine...

Merry gazed up at the cliff face with dismay, his arms folded; Cousin Hand helpfully scratched his head to stimulate thought.
"Well, how are we going to get up that?" he asked. "We hobbits don't do heights- though I guess we could just dribble Frodo and bounce him up there." He looked up at Strider. "So now what do we do, Direction-San? We passed the last service station hours ago, and would you ask for a map? NOooooooooo. let's have the cute little hobbits wander around in peril and panic for..."
He gasped suddenly when someone rammed a handful of marshmallows into his mouth to silence him. Aragorn smiled gratefully at Sam, who was endeavoring to atone himself for making Frodo eat recycled athelas leaves.

Sam nodded with satisfaction and then turned to Frodo, who was quivering at an alarming rate.
"You do smell exceptionally vanilla-y, sir, but you can't keep wobblin' and bobblin' like Mr. Pippin's rubber ducky in the tub. Here, let me help you down so's you can take a rest. Besides, I think you're gettin' Bill's back all sticky and he don't much like bein' sticky."  
He solicitously helped Frodo get down, and lost his grip on him twice because his sides were all goopy and squishy.  
"Mr. Strider, sir, can't we do somethin' for Mr. Frodo? At this rate, we'll be carryin' him into Rivendell on a graham cracker!"
Sam wiped his eyes. "Poor Mr. Frodo- endin' up a giant smore..."

Meanwhile, inside Frodo....

The Morgul Marshmallow began its deadly work.  From the Moment it had entered the cut, the Marshamllow, enhanced by the power of the Ring, had begun to turn Frodo's blood into Marshmallow cream.  It was a slow process, but the added sugar tended to make the victim slow and listless . . . first giddy, on a sugar buzz from Mordor, then slamming downward into a stupor, caused from all the sugar turning into alcohol in the blood stream.  
 
The presence of the Ring was both a help and a hinderance to this process.  It sped the growth of the Mallow, but the Mallow which flowed past the pocket holding the Ring tended to pool, and when enough was there, it would form into little Marshmallow Ducks, Gold like the Ring, and peeping through his bloodstream.  
 
This was compounded as the Pocket holding the Ring was near the stomach of Frodo, which when filled with the disgusting juice of the cursed Elvish plant morphed some of the yellow peeping Mallards of Mordor into pinkish rabbits, who began to wage war with the ducks.  
 
This was both a blessing and a curse.  It kept Frodo from succumbing to the Marshmallow Mallards of Mordor, but the fallout from the skirmishes was turning Frodo into a giant lump of marshmallowy goo.  And the Mallards kept on coming . . .



On the Borders of Imladris....


Sgt. Aurnauld Swartzenthalion marched up and down in front of his newest recruits.  The twins stood utterly still, like marble statues dressed in their new fushia and cream coloured uniforms.  They stood out from the forest like candycanes in a healthfood store.  Both looked exhausted from the drills and excersises that the masocistic seargeant had but them through non-stop since he had caught them after their last escape attempt.
 
"Listen up, girls," growled the seargent.  "It's my job to make you into the finest warriors ever to wear the uniform of Imladris, and I am going to do it even if it kills you!  Do you hear me, privates?"
 
"Sir! Aye! Sir!" both of the halfelven lads shouted as loud as they could.  Elrohir tried to get some spittle on the seargent.  Aurnauld did not mind... he kinda liked spittle.
 
"Here are your orders.  Guard this path.  Let no one enter who doesn't have authorization.  Anyone trying to get through without authorization is to be detained... that means anyone!"  He grabbed each lad's face in one mighty meaty hand and turned their heads, forcing them to look at a small shack, half hidden in the bushes behind them.  "See that?  No on, absolutely no one is to go in there!  The only person with authority to go in there is..." Aurnauld snached his hat from off of his jar-shaped head and covered his heart, "... the Lord Elrond."  He slammed the hat back on his head and glowered at the twins.  "He don't deserve to have such weasely and girly sons as you two scum!  I am going to make Elves out of you!  Now... GUARD!"
 
When the sgt had slammed off through the trees, the twins heaved a collective sigh of relief and promptly sat down, tugging open their collars and removing their shoes.
 
"I feel like an idiot!  Who designed these uniforms?"  Elladan said, ripping open his jacket that was covered with epaulettes and chains, with hundreds of sequined stars sewn onto the seams.
 
"That would be Figwit the Fancyboy, Mr Military Fäerie himself!" retorted Elrohir.  "I will get even with him for this.  I know he was the one who assigned us to this Eru-forsaken rabbit-path in the middle of absolutely nowhere, so we won't see anybody for a hundred years who isn't running on all fours and chewing on carrots!  Unless, of course, they are utterly lost and roaming around in the wild, looking for a place to cross the Loudwater River.  No one could be that stupid!"
 
"What do you think is in that shack, El?" asked Elladan.  "Why would Eldad be the only one who would go there?  You don't think..."
 
Elrohir's eyes lit up like a christmas morning short-circuit.  "It has to be..."
 
"Miruvor!!" they cried together in unison, then scrambed up to race to the shack.
 
A few hours later, singing could be heard in the woods near the Ford of Bruinen:
 
"99 bottles of miruvor on the wall
99 bottles of wine!
If one (or two) of those bottles should happen to fall
97 *hic!* bottles remain on the wall...."


Back to the ravine...

Strider looked at Merry with mild disgust.  "Of course I have a way up there. We Rangers are always prepared."
 
Though he hadn't meant to  come this way at all, he didn't want them to think that. Besides, the rock face had some fascinating geological layering that he wanted to get a closer look at anyway.  He pulled out his Ranger Manuel from his pack and thumbed through it.  Ah, there it was, at the letter "U" -  "Ways to get Up."
 
He considered the catapult diagram, but it looked pretty tricky to build, and he didn't have any suction-cup shoes with him... aha...!
 
With a purposeful stride, Strider went to Bill and pulled out an envelope and paper from the saddlebag.  He rapidly wrote something on it, sealed it then walked over to a nearby postal service box which was, strangely enough, standing nearby in the brush.
 
Within fifteen seconds of his dropping the letter in the slot, a mail-delivery Ranger rode up on a lathered horse.  
 
"Delivery for Strider the Ranger," he said and dropped off a large box before riding away again.
 
Strider triumphantly opened the box and pulled out the instruction sheet for the ACME Deluxe Giant Trampoline.

Frodo huddled in his blanket and watched the others wrestling with the strange contraption and arguing over which one was "slot B" and whether or not it needed the rubber feet on the ends of the legs.  Once it was set up it seemed to fill most of the ravine's end and looked like a tremendous black rubber plate on legs.  Strider snapped the last piece into place and experimentally heaved a rock onto the taut surface.  They all had to suddenly run for cover when it shot up into the sky and promptly headed back down, leaving a small crater in the ground where Pippin had been only a moment before.  
 
Strider went around the edge of the thing, propping half of the legs up on piles of dirt until it tilted towards the towering cliff and nodded with satisfaction.
 
Frodo looked at it dubiously and thought about the fate of the rock. "Who goes first?" he asked.



Meanwhile, on the Imladris frontier...

As soon as his watch ended Captain Figwit raced to greet his old chums at their post. Since there was little to do but gossip and count rabbits out here on the frontier, it had not taken long for word to spread about the twins' arrival, and Figgy couldn't wait to see his old pals. It wasn't hard for him to get away from his own post -- no one trusted him with any real responsibility anyway, just an occasional tailoring commission or squirrel containment operation, and the elves under his command were rather glad to see the back of him.
 
Fig and the Elbrats had been inseparable once upon a time although it had been about half a century since he'd seen them last and they had been rather chilly on that occasion. The twins snubbed him for his gainful employment, but it wasn't like Fig had had any choice in the matter. His exasperated father had shipped him off to the tender care of Sgt. Aurnauld just as Elrond had done to the twins. Once posted to the frontier and the clutches of Swartzenthalion, it was no simple matter to get away. Even his superior officers lived in terror of him.  
 
Now that they're out here in the sticks too, Figwit thought, they'll understand. It will be like old times! We'll be brothers in adversisiss ... adsissiverty ... brothers in whatsit. Figwit cantered along happily and naively on his horse Neutin until the sound of raucous singing reached his sensitive and delicately shaped elven ears. He gasped and the usually vacuous expression on his face, which was excessively handsome even by elvish standards, was replaced with one of shock and horror. Oh no, not the ... anything but the ... Leave it to the twins to be the only elves in an age and a half to dare violate the sanctity of Elrond's closely guarded miruvor still.  
 
Figwit kicked Neutin into a gallop, hoping to reach the twins before Sgt. Aurnauld did.


In the ravine...

Pippin eyed the small crater and its surrounding collection of shrapnel, that had been the Rangers's test piece. Shivering with pent up rage and not a little fear...
 
"Look, just because I had five sticks of prime marshmallows is no reason to kill me! All you had to do was ask! But no, you had to go running around with a flaming brand scaring everyone off. You do realise I'd have happily shared but it becomes rather dificult to make marshmallow canes properly when someone's chased away the two guys with the Bree-Mart Mega Marshmallow Sack, and everyone else is running around shrieking."
 
"Now if you want to get us up that cliff with that 'thing' I suggest we use Merry's fancy face paints to test the angle you've set it to, that way if they go splat, we'll see how far up they got anyway."
 
Frodo looked at Pippin miserably.  "Please, don't talk about marshmallows..."  
 
He watched as Strider efficiently loaded all of their heavy baggage onto the contraption and shot them one at a time up the cliff.  Sam winced as his precious pans landed with a resounding clang and clatter up among the brush.  When Frodo offered to go first, Sam wouldn't hear of it and bravely clambered aboard to shortly become the first Airborne Hobbit followed by becoming a Hobbit Landing Mat as Frodo came sailing in and bounced off of him.   Their uulating cries of terror had barely faded from the canyon walls before Strider was loading it up yet again.
 
Frodo gasped for breath where he lay on the ground.  "Go look back over the edge, Sam - What about Bill the Pony?" he asked, eyes wide at the thought of an airborne horse landing on them.

Strider shot the last of the baggage up, including the protesting Master "Bag" Meriadoc, but Pippin eluded him for the moment.
 
He took a good look at Bill and tried to figure out how to coax the mournful-looking pony up onto the trampoline.  

Pippin knew he couldn't scurry away from Strider forever, he just didn't have the breath, or the legs.  
 
"Oh well, at least I can get something to land on" and while Strider tried shooing the visibly nervous Bill towards the trampoline, Pippin took a few paces back. He rubbed soil on his hands, scuffed his feet on the ground and began running as lickety-split fast as he could, a stomach clenching leap and he was on the ranger's back. Pounding over his backpack, almost losing his step on the shifting quiver, and then sliding on the greasy locks so he tumbled rather than flew onto the pony's back. The plan had been to face the right wway but too late now as the pony, scared by the sudden turn of events clattered up towards the machine. Looking over his shoulder, Pip tried to time things and slapped Bill's rump as they reached the thing so that he jumped on rather than ran around the contraption.  
 
"Hiiiiiiyyyoooaaaaahhhhh eeeeeeee a wwwwaaaayyyyy!"  
 
The speed was almost like the road, but the countryside below wasn't so blurry, although it was getting further away. Looking back it seemed like Bill hadn't taken to lightening his load. Oh well Strider was smelly anyway.  
 
Now if only I was facing the right way, how do we land?

A strange screeching and garbled blend of unidentifiable noises was suddenly followed by the appearance of a terrified and bewildered pony in the air above them with something on its back. Sam dove to the side, then doubled back to snag Frodo right out from under the now rapidly descending equine blur.  With a huge whoosh, whump and thud Bill crashed past and over them into a fat brake of ferns and springy brush thus managing to stagger up out of it shaken and wild-eyed but in one piece.  
 
Well, mostly one piece.  From Frodo's viewpoint it had looked like something had come off when he landed - but as the pony still appeared to have all four legs, a head and a tail, he couldn't imagine what it must have been.  Frodo was rather shaken up from it all anyway and the horrible effect of his wound kept making everything appear jiggly.   He closed his eyes to stop the jiggly effects.  This helped somewhat. Now if he could only stop that infernal peeping noise that kept intruding itself on the edge of his hearing - it seemed to get worse each night.  He absently snapped the fingers on his one working hand and desperately wished he was back in his own hobbit hole again.
 
Thus occupied with his own troubles, he didn't see what Bill had dropped into the bushes when he landed.

Wig askew, one hobbit foot barely hanging on, and generally looking rather tattered, Pippin's stunt double stumbled out of the briar patch with a dazed and confused look on her face. "Wha... Wher... Did... did... did somebody get the number of that bus?" With a flop, the "hobbit" fell face forwards and lay motionless.


...Up in a tree in Imladris, two pairs of feet swing to the sound of Elven banter...

"Elf, I am telling you... Galadriel is the most beautiful elfwoman in the world... and she is our grandmother!"  
 
"Arwen would be hot, but she's our sister.  *Sigh!*  We are related to all the babes in Middle earth!"
 
"Almost... how about that sweet thing we met in Mirkwood that one time... whazhername..."  Elrohir raised a bottle to his lips, but it was already empty.  He tossed it onto the growing pile behind the little shack.
 
"Legolas?  Dude, he is a guy!  You're not going... fäe on me, are you?"  Elladan asked with concern.  Miruvor always tended to loosen the twin's tongues, (not that they were particularly tight-lipped to begin with).
 
"No, no, not Legs... though now that you mention it, he is a little too pretty... almost as pretty as ol' Fitwig."
 
"Speak of the devil... isn't that ol' Figs himself, riding up?"  
 
The twins watched as Figwit rode his horse up to them, shushing them and looking around franticly to see if someone else had overheard their drunken singing.  
 
"Whew, don't he look like a million mallorn leaves!  Hey, Fitwit!  Come on up here and have a drink..."  Elladan shouted, waving merrily.  "Oh, and let me see your papers... we are on guard duty, you know!"  Both twins disolved in laughter.

All of Figwit's shushing and wild gesticulations to make the twins pipe down only made them laugh louder. The twins mocked Figwit's serious expression and cried, "Woooooo, you've been a baaaad boy," shaking their fingers at each other before collapsing in gales of laughter.  
 
"Keep it down! Shut your cake holes, you stupid half-wits!" Figwit hissed. The twins only snickered, one of them muttering "better a halfwit than a figwit." Fig rolled his lovely eyes in exasperation. "You just don't get it! Sergeant Aurnauld is going to ... he will... he'll be sure to ..." Figwit shuddered his slender perfectly-formed frame at the thought, but words failed him to describe the catastrophe it would be if Sergeant Aurnauld caught the twins in this state.  
 
Figwit knew he would have to take matters into his own delicate and beautifully manicured hands. He kicked an empty bottle in frustration and looked around frantically for inspiration. How on earth could he cover up this mess? It looked like a horde of drunken teenage orcs had held a rave in the little shack. Wait a minute ... the faint glimmer of a plan formed in Figwit's feeble brain. It wasn't enough for a lightbulb to appear over his gorgeous head, but at least there was the faint flicker of a firefly.  
 
Looking around desperately, Figgy's eyes finally lit on a large flat rock. He picked it up, tossed it in his hand thoughtfully for a brief moment until satisfied with its weight, then with a sharp glance at the twins hid it quickly behind his back. Puzzled by the strange expression on their childhood friend's face, the twins' laughter began to falter. Figwit approached them slowly with a saccharine smile and a slightly maniacal gleam in his beautiful eye. Before they could recover enough of their halfwits to run, Fig threw the rock at Elladan's head with aim a hobbit would envy, knocking his head into Elrohir's with a sharp crack and knocking them both out cold. They fell to the ground with a plop and a clatter of bottles.   
 
"Ai, ai! Help! Help! The orcs are upon us!" Figwit cried shrilly, kicking the pile of empty bottles across the grass and throwing a few arrows around before, with a anticipatory grimace that almost (but not quite) made him look less than phenomenally attractive, he bopped himself in the head with the rock and fell senseless to the ground.

.. a cry through the trees comes to the keen ears of the Seargent of the Imladris Border Patrol...

This was it... the moment that Sgt Aurnauld had been born for.  He took a deep breath, swelling his already massive chest so that his own uniform split at the seams.  Leaping upon his steed, he sounded the 'advance' call on his horn, leading the troops of the Imladris Border Patrol into pursuit of those devilishly quickfooted orcs.
 
"Attack, men!... I mean, Elves!  Show no mercy!  Avenge the fallen!  No prisoners and no quarter given!  Chase 'em all the way back to the mountains!" he bellowed.  He rode to the scene of the melee, then dismounting, he looked down at the three fallen elves at his feet.  
 
A tear formed in his masculine eye.  "These boys are heroes... their memories will linger in the fair fields of Imladris.  O, that their short sweet lives should end!  Alas!  But they shall not have died in vain..."
 
Elladan stirred, raising his head to peer up at the eulogizing Elf.  "Huh?"  he said eloquently, gingerly touching the goose-egg sized bump on his head.  "I'm not dead yet... I think."
 
Sgn Aurnauld strolled up to him and casually whapped him on the other side of his head with his scabbard, knocking him sprawling over his brother.
 
"They shall not have been mortally wounded in vain..."
 
Elrohir groaned as his brother landed on his solar plexus, "I was feeling okay... now not really!"
 
Sgt Aurnauld cursed beneath his breath.  "You guys are costing me metals!  Cant you at least pretend to die?  Cough up some blood maybe?  I deserve an Oscar for that speech!"
 
The sgt sighed, and picking up both lads he flung them over his horse's saddle.  Captain Figwit he hauled over his shoulder in a fireman's carry.  
 
"And you guys call yourselves soldiers?  Well, if you are going to lolly-gag around, you can watch the Ford of Rivendell while we chase your orc bootleggers cross country."  He tossed them down at their post, setting Figwit down with marginally more dignity.  He turned and climbed on his horse, who's legs nearly buckled under his weight.  He reached into his saddlebag and threw Elrohir a small flask.  "Here's some miruvor; that'll help fight those headaches you girly-elves are going to have."
 
Elladan looked at his brother, who was turning green at the very mention of that drink, and then both half-elves lurched to their feet and made retching noises behind a convienient bush.
 
Sgt. Aurnauld shook his head as he rode away,  but before he disappeared around the path, he turned in his saddle and said,  "I'll be back!"


In the ravine...

Strider wrinked his nose in disgust at the steaming pile of...stuff which had missed him by a hair. There was oine advantage to having enough grease to keep all your hairs in one solid oily clump.
 
Ah well. It was time to move on. Strider scribbled another quick note and shoved it into the leafy mailslot. There was scarcely enough time for the ranger to hop onto the trampoline and bounce upwards before a used horse drawing a white cart, the words Good Will painted on the side zoomed in and the rider dissembled the trampoline to load up.
 
The ranger landed on top of a startled pony which promptly expelled excess waste onto the already soiled bushes in fright.
 
Aragorn got up and brushed himself off, not that it helped. That just got his coat greasy too.

Angmar sniffed the night air and turned to the twins, Reginald and Khamul . . .  
 
"Do you smell anything?" he hissed.
 
"No." said Pete.
 
"And . . . " hissed the Witchking.
 
"Beuford would say 'it was Bubba' I'm sure" chuckled Kyle.
 
"You IDIOTS!!! Where is the Marshmallowy smell?  What happened to the smell?  A few minutes ago, Pete was over by the fire roasting . . . "
 
"No I wasn't" interrupted Pete.  "I thought it was Khamul?"
 
"It was too small for him." the twins replied.  
 
" . . . well Someone was roasting Marshmallows, and now the smell is gone, and not only are the Marshmallows, but also the sneak, AND the party, not to mention, The RING!  We had better get after them before they get too far ahead.  Saddle up the rides, and lets get a move on!"
 
Clem snatched the horse head from under Ferney's reaching hand.  "Ha, it is true!  Heads you win."
 
Bill wondered about that comment for a few seconds.  
 
After 5 minutes out on the road to Rivendell, he finally figured out that it meant "Marshmallows gave Clem gas."

The hobbits and Strider spent a cold and dreary night up on the ridge.  Sam pet and coddled Bill until the pony finally stopped gaping and drooling and seemed to come out of his flight-induced shock.   The others spent their time dozing and wishing for a nice, warm Inn.
 
Frodo lay on the ground underneath the pile of blankets and extra clothing Sam had covered him with in an attempt to keep him warm, though he had protested that it really, really did not have to include undergarments and such it seemed every scrap of cloth that anyone wasn't wearing (and a couple that were) had been heaped over him until he looked like a derelict's laundry pile.   He hated the night.  The endless peeping noise seemed stronger then, and the world felt more gelatinous than it did in the day.  
 
When morning came he was awakened by the sounds of the others breaking camp and slowly peeled his face off of the wooden buttons that had been on the shirt serving as a pillow.  He allowed himself to be bundled onto Bill for another day's travel.  They set out once more.
 
"Isn't this Troll country?" he asked Strider after a while.


Tom stared at William.    
 
William stared at Bert.  
 
Bert was looking east with an expression of disbelief that he had been wearing for almost sixty years.  How had the sunrise come so soon?  
 
Tom was thinking that if William had just agreed to eat the dwarves raw, then they would have been inside their cave in time to avoid becoming permanent park fixtures.  It was clearly all William's fault.
 
William was thinking that if Bert had kept a hold on that Burrahobbit, then they might have managed to cache the dwarves and it safely until the day passed, and have a tasty feast of Noeyth and cold mutton the next day, garnished with Burrahobbit jelly.  That silly Bert... it was all his fault.
 
Three stone trolls stood in the glade, draped with clinging ivy and garnished with moss.  Bert had a bird's nest tucked behind his ear.  He was rather smuggly proud of that nest.  Neither of the others had such an ornament.  He just wished that he could get the little peepers to shut up.  They sang madly when the sun rose, and that reminded him of why he was still there.
 
This was all Archibald's fault. thought Bert.  That stupid Troll had stayed home with my moondial, and now here we are, caught in the sun and turned to stone... it was all Archie's fault, all right.
 
Bert just wished that William would stop staring at him.  Must be the bird's nest... he is jealous!

"Eh, what's that?" Strider looked up from a rock which he had been studying very, very closely for the past two minutes while he walked.
"Isn't this troll country?" Frodo repeated.
Aragorn shrugged. "Maybe, but I haven'r run into one ye- Ow!" he said as he bumped into something very hard. He looked up.
"Trolls!" One of the hobbit's squeaked.
Strider blinked and looked the trolls over for a moment. They didn't move.
"Oh! Why of course. These trolls won't be harming anyone any more. They're stone!"
 
"...Hmmm, what are trolls made of anyway?" He started inspecting the statues with a magnifying glass he had pulled out from somewhere on his belt.

Frodo looked up at the imposing stone trolls.  
 
"A bit of family history here! I wonder what they would have thought if they'd known the kin of that burrahobbit were going to picnic by their feet someday."
 
As the other hobbits unpacked and set up their lunch,  Frodo watched Strider curiously.  When the Ranger took out a small chisel from his pack and chipped a sample off of one of them for his rock collection Frodo couldn't help but wonder if it would somehow cause a protest, the Trolls seemed so lifelike.  
 
Except for the bird's nest, of course.  Maybe that's where all the peeping noises were coming from this time.
 
He looked down at his shoulder and then his useless arm. It was whiter than it had been the day before, and poofy with a dusting of powder sugar.  He had a strange craving for chocolate, and graham crackers.  He wondered what his fingers would look like if it continued down to his hand.  Maybe like Peeps.  It was a disturbing thought and he wanted to be distracted from it.
 
"How about a song?"
 
Slowly, in deep gravely voices, the Three Stone Trolls began to sing.....
 
We Three Trolls
to the tune of WE THREE KINGS
 
We three Trolls of granite are,
Froze place by the brilliant Day Star.
Foiled in fear and grounded here
Immobile is what we are.
 
Chorus:
O, Burrahobbits in our hair
The morning rays have fixed our stare
Muscles seizing, limbs are freezing
Caught outside our gloomy lair.
 
but alas! no one could hear them, for they were not but small time rock singers....

Frodo looked around at the others.  "Did any of you just...hear something?"  
 
He looked up at the motionless Trolls.  Nahhhh...
 
"Never mind."
 

Merry, who hadn't said much lately because of his disgruntledness both over the discovery of his errand for Estella (and the inevitable "Merry and Estella sitting in a tree" taunts) and over his undignified landing on Strider's contraption, folded his arms and muttered, "Those trolls look more animated than your average Saturday afternoon tea at Bag End at least... Hey, Sam, that last song someone did  wasn't bad, how about a recitation? You're good at those, and besides, you've been too quiet, too."

Sam blushed. "Aw, now, Mr. Merry, I'm not so good, but it might help to calm down Bill so I'll give it a try."
Sam got to his feet, folded his hands behind his back, and began his recitation.
(to what else- Itsy Bitsy Spider)
 
"Tom, Burt and William were really in a pout
They wanted to eat that burrahobbit stout.
Gandalf kept them talking and then the sun come out
Now Tom, Burt and William have lots to pout about."

 
He looked around and was greeted by several annoyed faces and a mildly peeved pony.
"Well, I tried," he said meekly. "Maybe I can think of somethin' better while I start breakfast." 

Frodo sighed.  "Well, it's a good thing that came out of your own head, Sam, and not the ancient lore or the lore would be a bit...er....different.... for serious studies.  I am learning a lot about Sam Gamgee on this journey. First he was a mere tater-slinger, now he can sing and cook at the same time. He'll end up by becoming a wizard's waiter or a warrior's master chef!"
 
"I hope not," said Sam. "I don't want to be neither!"
 
After a light meal, the others reluctantly hefted their stuff onto their shoulders again as Frodo was placed back on the pony.  Sam's pack seemed to be a little heavier and bigger after each stop while Pippin's and Merry's always seemed a little bit lighter - it was a strange phenomena.
 
Following the same track that Gandalf and the dwarves had followed years before (dwarf boot-tracks are very deep) they headed past the Troll's hidey-hole (no gold...but not for lack of digging around and searching for it) until they reached the Road once more.
 
As they reluctantly considered this path, they heard a noise in the distance...

cue Glorfindel!

Merry looked up quizzically. "I distinctly heard cue music," he said. "It's not ooo-eee-oooo type music like the Black Riders, and it's not the cute pipe music they use for the Shire."
Sam listened too. "You're right, Mr. Merry, it sounds like hero-to-the-rescue music. A bit late, I'd warrant, but better late then never, as my Gaffer likes to say."
"Your Gaffer sure 'likes to say' a lot," Merry said. "Between his endless sayings and his creaky joints, Bagshot Row must be a noisy place."
"Well, you should stop by one evening after Marigold makes her famous bean casserole..."

Arwen spurred her horse when she heard the heroic trumpety cue music.  
 
"Oh no, you don't..."
 
She switched on her Entrance-o-Elf necklace, which immediately started glowing eerily in the dark and emitting loud Elvish opera music that almost drowned out Glorfindel's cue.
 
She could smell that Aragorn was near (who would not?), and that he had marshmallows with him besides. Vanilla marshmallows... 
 
Mmmmm....
 
She licked her lips. Not even the strongest Elfmaiden can long resist such sweetness, and Arwen wasn't that strong. She gave into the sugar quickly.
Glorfindel will get chubby off them anyway, her hazy mind said. Best if I eat them first...

Frodo peered out from the bushes that they had stuffed him into to hide him from who or whatever it was that was coming their way.  Not that it would help much if they had a nose, as he was scented more strongly of vanilla-sugar every day.   He squinted, trying to make the wobbling stop on his friends, but it was no use. They remained gelatinous.  Whoever it was coming, he hoped they had graham crackers with them...he really wanted some graham crackers.... Frodo lay in the bushes dreaming of chocolate and graham crackers.  His useless marshmallow arm and shoulder filled the air with sweet vanilla, and he thought he was hearing things.  Strange otherwordly music seemed to haunt his thoughts.  There continued to be incessant peeping in his ears, though he knew not that it was a herald of woe, the tiny morgul peeps within his body multiplying and taking over his very heart and mind....!
 
Graham crackers. They sure would be good right now. "Sam?" he asked pathetically. "When they get here, can you ask them if they have any graham crackers?"  
 
He brushed futilely at the powdered sugar that seemed to always be covering his clothes lately, then stopped as the thought struck him: What if the approaching person/creature/whatever liked marshmallows and was hungry?  He tried to dig himself deeper into the brush in sudden dismay, only succeeding in shaking off most of the sheltering autumn leaves.

Time seemed to move so slowly as he lay under the bush, listening to the approach of.... someone.  The minutes seemed to stretch into days... the whole world seemed to stretch out of shape, into one elongated gelatinous line.  The hand of Eru plucked it and it wobbled and hummed, like the Old Gaffer at sunrise after a late night of drinking at the Green Dragon.
 
He shook his head, trying to think clearly.  The old leaves that sprinkled across him were the color of chocolate and graham crackers, but didn't smell nearly as nice.  He closed his eyes, all sense of time passage wobbling away into mush.

.....Meanwhile in another part of the forest two Elves strolled along (one of the Elves glided across the earth, cos Elves do, the other was slightly more ungainly, dressed in a peculiar red and green suit thingy with bells on it)......
 
"No, I am Haldir of Lorien! I did not get here by Reindeer and I do not know Santa! I do not know where the North Pole is either....."
 
"Ohhh, you're an angry Elf then...." replied the slightly shorter Elf. " Would you like to meet Santa then? I could arrange it if you like, he's got a bit of a break for a while....."
 
"No I'm busy I have to wash my hair....Eeeeeee!" Haldir let's out a undoubtedly girlish shreik as he is surprised by a pile of autumn leaves.." Get them away !....."

Back by the Road...

Merry walked over to his cousin, studied him for a moment, and then bent down and poked him.
"Ewww, that's gross," he groaned. "I guess we'd better find him some graham crackers, or else he'll be a completely skeletonless blobbing blob all over and we'll never get  him into Rivendell."
His face brightened. "Hey, wait, I have an idea! Estella put a sample into my pack that just might hold him together till we get him to safety."
He ran to his bag and pulled out a tube of Mary Kay Anti-Cellulite Firming Cream.  
"This works wonders on my gran's upper arms, so maybe it'll help keep Frodo together too. Sam, come over here and help me."

Sam heard his master's plaintive plea for crackers and he reached into his bag.
"I'm sorry, Mr. Frodo, I don't have any graham crackers, an' we ain't near a store right now, but I do have these nice chocolates I was savin' for Rosie- will that hold you over?"
Then he heard Merry's request for assistance with the cream, and together they struggled to hold Frodo and smooth the cream on him. He kept slipping and squishing between their fingers and once he bounced nearly all the way down the hill and they had to run after him, but at last they got him coated in  the cream and he finally slept, a little less quivery.
Sam sighed. "So now what do we do, Strider? That'll only hold him for so long, an' he keeps callin' for graham crackers. It near tears me apart, sir."

Arwen halted her steed and listened.  
Yes, there it was again: the distinct sound of a giant vanilla marshmallow bouncing downhill, and some squeaky little voices. Was Aragorn hosting a children's party or something? This story kept spinning itself into more riddles.
 
Finally she urged Muffy forwards to the clearing where the sounds (and the vanilla smell) came from.
 
Aragorn, three little dudes and a smelly pony were standing around a thing on the ground. It was covered in autumn leaves and powder sugar. She couldn't see yet what it was but it sure smelled yummy...

Frodo lay on the ground, feeling slightly less quivery but in no shape for... well, in no shape.  He plucked a couple of the leaves off of his arm but gave up as all they did was stick to his fingers.  He liked nighttime better, when it was colder so he didn't soften up like that.
 
He heard the hooves of the stranger stop nearby and cowered down, feeling very cowardly.  What's happened to you? he asked himself. You've gone soft!  He struggled to solidfy his courage among other things but found all he could think of was the fact that he was edible.
 
"Sam..." he whispered. "Do they have any graham crackers? And do they look... hungry?"

"Arwen! What are you doing here? Where's Glorfindel?" Aragorn nearly jumped out of his boots, which would have been quite a disaster in the given situation.
"Not that I don't want you here, of course." he added quickly. Arwen had a rather nasty temper, as he had discovered that time when he borrowed her hairbrush without asking first. The experience had made him jumpy around hairbrushes ever since.

Just then, from down the road comes the sound of hooves, and the tinkling of bells such as might be used to decorate the headstall of a elf-horse, but which might also be the sound of golden epaulettes hastily placed over raven-black hair to make a disguise of golden locks.
 
In a blaze of glory like the rising of the sun, an Elf Lord with shining golden hair comes riding down the road, mounted on a beautiful white horse with a proud neck and flowing mane and tail.
 
Or it looks that way at first.  Upon closer examination, one might note that the rider actually has several fake metals and gold braid covering his head, and that the horse has booted feet, not hooves, and appears to have been sewn in the middle, joining two halves which are even now bickering with each other.
 
"I don't see why you get to be the 'head', Elrohir!"
 
"Cause my name means "elf-horse-lord", and yours means "elf-man", which makes you the following half!  Ada always said you were an asset to me.  Now you can prove it!"
 
"This is a stupid idea!  No one is going to mistake us for a real horse!"
 
"Not if you don't shut up, Eldork! Now, canter!  Pick up those feet!  Figwit, make this good!  And lay off the riding crop if you know what's good for you!"
 
Under his breath, Figwit mutters, "Glorfindel, you better hurry up!  If you miss this cue, you've got no one to blame but yourself!"
 
To Aragorn, he cries aloud "Ai na vedui, Dunadan! Mae Govannen!" and he manuvers his "Horse" between Arwen and Strider deftly.
 
Figwit bows with grace and care, so as not to dislodge his "wig-fit".  He takes Arwen's and and purrs, "And a very pleasant 'mae govannen' to you, m'lady!"
Pippin, stepped back out from the handy bushes he'd ducked into (pretending to attend a call of nature) when Merry starting waving that cream about, he didn't want to get roped in to touching the gelatinous mass that resembled his cousin Frodo, it might be catching.
 
"Any very dune vans? what's that mean? ...."
 
he thought for a second on the funny elf's greeting
 
"Oh....  
 
Are you in need of a van?"
 
The funny looks the tall elf woman was giving Aragorn and the new arrival were a little worrying, best change the topic quick!
 
"Yes please, if you're from the same bunch as brought the trampoline a van would be handy now, we'll never get squishybaggins here to Rivendell without one. "  
 
He grinned, hopefully in his best disarming hobbit-about-tavern fashion.

Somewhere far back in the Shire, the Old Gaffer sniffed appreciatively at the pot of melted chocolate that Marigold was stirring on the stove.  
 
"Fudge?" he said hopefully.  He noticed the crock filled with a white fluffy substance.  "Oh glory be, marshmallow fluff! She's a makin' marshmallow fudge. My favorite!"  He looked around the kitchen to be sure no one was watching and poked one gnarled grass-stained finger into the crock then hobbled outside to enjoy licking it off in peace, not realizing it was in fact her new batch of homemade anti-cellulite cream until he had thoroughly firmed up his lips and tongue.
 
 
Elsewhere, Frodo licked his dry lips with his tongue then grimaced.  The peeps were now so strongly throughout his system that even his own lips tasted of marshmallow to him.  A gnarly end. I've made it all this way just to be eaten as a dessert, no better than a piece of fudge. Such a crock!

Aragorn peered at the "horse" suspiciously.
"Erm..."
That was definitely not Glorfindel. He walked over and flipped the golden wig off of the rider's head.
"Figwit?"  He eyed the boots sticking out of the "horse" and cut it open with a knife.
"The El-twins? Oh Eru. It was supposed to be Glorfindel! Glorfindel!"
 
Just then there was a shout from the hobbits. Arwen had taken out...a fork. Maybe it was completely innocent, but Sam's eyes were wide as saucers as she walked towards Frodo, for obvious reasons.
 
"Argh! No - don't eat that!" Aragorn jumped forward and picked Frodo up. The hobbit was already bundled up, so the ranger stuck him on Bill.
 
Arwen looked perturbed. "Why can't I have any?" she whined, giving her best girly pout. She took a few steps forward with her fork.

Bill shifted as Frodo was stuck (both literally and figuratively) onto him, helping his somewhat globular rider to not droop off of his side.  The hobbit saw the gleam of metal in the strange Elf's hand and the way Strider was trying to protect him from her.  He fell into a panic of sorts as it occurred to him that his only hope of survival could lay in the ability of Bill to outrun that Elf-girl's horse, and he wasn't too sure Bill could to it, in spite of the other steed being laden with packages and bags.   If she pursued him with her fork, could he make it to Rivendell's safety ahead of her? 

Merry looked at Frodo blobbing and bobbing on the horse, as well as the several lines of humorous commentary floating above his distressed cousin's head, and burst out laughing.
"Oh, my gosh! Frodo actually thought the words 'such a crock!' Mr. Never-Uses-Slang actually thought the words, 'such a crock!' I've got to write this down in my journal."
Sam frowned at Merry warningly, and reminded him that he could always lock him in the next bathroom that they came across like he had back at the Prancing Pony, and then solicitously handed his master a graham cracker that he had found dropped on the ground.  
"Mr. Frodo want a cracker?" he cooed.

A frantic feeling started to build up in Strider's chest.
"Arwen, honey, dear. Please listen to me. I mean, I know that I promised to get you dessert at a restaurant, but this isn't it!"
"But it smells good, like vanilla. Why can't I have this dessert?"
"Arwen, you can't have any. Understand?"
 
She stuck her lip out and frowned. "No, why won't you answer my question?"
 
She took another step forward and reached out with the fork.
 
"Noro lim, Bill!" Aragorn yelled. Everyone stopped moving.
 
Bill bent his neck around so that he was looking directly at Aragorn with soulful eyes.  
He blinked.
 
"Argh! Just...uh...giddyap!" Strider slapped Bill on the flank. The pony took one step forward.
...onto Arwen's foot.
"Ai!" she screeched and fell forward. The fork poked Bill in the behind and he took off in a straight line. Straight towards Rivendell.

Frodo didn't quite know what had happened - he had just been reaching for the coveted cracker that Sam held out, like longed for manna in the desert then suddenly there was the most piercing screech he had heard since the dreaded black tea kettles and everything was moving by in a blur!
 
He hung on desperately, helped by his natural adhesion to his mount while Bill's feet pounded the ground.  Trees whipped past in a gelatinous blur. The ground sloped downward.  Was that the sound of pursuit behind him?  He tried looking back but between the bouncing of the pony and the wobbling of himself he couldn't tell.  The peeping in his ears shrilled over the whistling wind and everything was chaos!  The vision of that fork, all pointy and aimed at him blended with his memory of the morgul marshmallow stick and he panicked.
 
Oh, why couldn't he have had that graham cracker before this happened?  Now he would perish, either toasted by wraiths or eaten by an Elvish princess with a sweet tooth, and without even one cracker to comfort him...!  Still, his determination, helped by the firming cream that Merry had smothered him in, grew stronger by the minute.  No, he would not be eaten! Somehow he would reach Rivendell!  He tried to recall the words that Strider had said but could not. Oh well... Mush, Bill! Mush!

Pippin brushed the dirt off from where he'd been flung by the almost ballistic bill, looked up and said  
 
"Well that didn't go too badly then."
 
Catching Merry's eye he nodded at the furious pouting enraged, yet still elegant figure of Arwen, currently berating Aragorn while trying to mount.

"... and if that does not suit you, then in a *snaps fingers* second will be a lineup of hundreds of other forgotten Kings who DO wash every now and then and who DO want to give me my desserts!"
 
Arwen paused her furious rant for a while to take a breath and watch the impact of her words on Aragorn (not impressive so far).
 
But then, as the call of the sugar faded from her mind, she heard a high clear voice speak and for the first time noticed the other Hobbits standing nearby. This distracted her for a second and she forgot what she was angry about. In fact, she forgot that she was angry at all.
 
"Oooh, Gorny, my love, you've brought me some Pheriannath! I knew you wouldn't forget to bring me one!"
She gave Aragorn a quite unnecessary, not to mention nauseating kiss, ignoring the retching noises her brothers were making, then looked down at the uneasy-looking Hobbits again.
 
"Oh, they are so cuuuute! Aren't you? Aren't you? Yes you are!" she cooed at the now rather scared-looking Hobbits.
 
"Can I have all of them or do I have to pick one?" she said, as she looked at the now terrified-looking Hobbits.

Aragorn was left in a haze after the smooch. Unable to think clearly, he responded to Arwen's request with a rather vague, "Sure...um, pick one...how about Merry?"
 
He shoved the hobbit forward simply because he happened to be standing closest.
 
He shook his head to clear it a bit and, still not quite comprehending what he'd just done to the hapless hobbit, picked up a stray bag that had fallen when Bill took off and said,
"Um, shouldn't we...head over to Rivendell now? I hope Bill didn't get lost..."

Figwit, who had been floating on a cloud at first sight of his one true love, crashed back to middle-earth with a whimper at the sight of the revolting display of affection Arwen was lavishing on the smelly thing before them. Oh sun and moon and all the stars best loved by elves rolled up in one precious package of elven loveliness! Arwen had cut her teeth on Figwit's heart in the previous age of the world, and he would be darned if he would stand idly by and watch her embarrass herself for that fool of a ranger, just because he happened to give her a new pet.  
 
Not to be outdone, Figwit grabbed the next nearest hobbit, who happened to be Pippin, and shoved him at Arwen.  
 
"Here, my dearest darling, I brought you a pheriannath, too!" Figwit gave a haughty sniff in the general direction of Aragorn and Merry. "MINE is already housebroken," he bragged, hoping it was true.

There is a roaring sound, a sound like that has not been heard in Middle earth since it began in music and storm, so many sunless ages ago.  There is a flash of light down the road ahead, and behind, the black riders have appeared, dressed in dread.  Their horses scream and the wraiths shriek, for they know, their doom is near!
 
A stretched Ford limousine-waggon pulls up to the companions, pulled by a team of snowy-white horses.  It is gleaming white in colour, and above the sparkling mithril grille, the smooth clean hood is an ornament, fashioned like a silver horse rearing in challenge.  The front license plate reads "Asfaloth", the rear plate reads "Ford of Rivendell".
 
Seated in the back is a figure of might and beauty.  His golden hair is groomed perfectly, his sunglasses polished to a metallic gleam.  He smiles as he opens the window 2/3 of the way, and waves merrily at the hobbits, ranger, elf maiden, elf, and the pantomime pony.
"No autographs!"  The window closes, and the chauffeur/team-driver gets out.  He is tall and thin, with black dreadlocked hair and a flamboyant pirate costume.  He has several gold teeth and swaggers almost drunkenly.
 
"It's Jack Sparrow!" shout the hobbits, who are each huge PotC fans.
 
"That's 'Captain' Jack Sparrow, if you please, mates!"  slurs Capt Jack.  "Actually, I am not Captain Jack Sparrow, but Willie Wonka!  I just can't seem to get out of this character, savvy?  Lord Elrond told me he foresaw some nasty business on the Road here, so he sent his best Elf here, Lord Glorfindel, to take care of it.  But he don't know how to de-mallow a hobbit, does he?  A bit out of his territory, wouldn't ya say?  So he says to me, 'Captain Wonka Sparrow, if you can de-blueberry a Violet, surely you know how to de-marshmallow a Frodo?'  So toss him in the boot, would you luv?" he says with a leer to Arwen, who is clinging to Merry like a teddybear.  "He looks a bit too sticky to go on the upholstry."
 
Jack Wonka leans down to the hobbit he has mistaken for Frodo and asks, "Mr Elrond sent you a cart, lad.  I have come to bring you to Rivendell in style... What say you to that, eh?"

Bill plowed through the underbrush with the grace of a forklift stuck in high gear, and Frodo clung to his mane with sticky fingers, scrunching his eyes shut so he wouldn't be motion sick.  With a wrenching crash they suddenly emerged into a clearer space.  Just ahead of them, past a clump of trees, a deep river ran. Trailing bits of tree and leaf which tried to stick to him, Frodo suddenly wondered if  marshmallows could float.  They always did in his hot chocolate at home.  He desperately hoped so.  But what about Bill?  If he didn't float....well, Frodo was pretty firmly stuck to him, and the well-fed pony's weight would drag him under!  He panicked all over again as Bill showed no signs of letting up.

Aragorn was suspicious. He had never heard of anything like this before. 'Twas wizardry, he was sure. And then on top of it a shady-looking man came along blatantly giving his Arwen rather innappropriate looks and asking for the Ringbearer.
 
The ranger took a close look at the "Ford", noting that it looking nothing at all like a ford and should probably be named after something more suited. It didn't seem to be alive, anyhow. Was it dangerous?
 
He looked up to see the "Jack Sparrow" person picking up Merry, despite Arwen's protests, and taking him to the "Ford" thing.  
 
"Wait! What are you doing?" he called.
"Well, see, I'm supposed to be gettin' this here little hobbit to Rivendell, savvy?"
"Oh no you don't!"
 
Aragorn drew his sword and hacked a hole in one of the wheels. It hissed at him and he jumped back in surprise.
He then proceeded to whack apart all three other tires. He ignored the fact that several of the others had become highly distraught by this, but he was convinced that the "Ford" was some device of Sauron's or other come to take the Ringbearer.

Frodo and Bill crashed straight through the last clump of trees that stood between them and the river and suddenly everything went dark!  There was a sensation of a terrible weight, an inpenetrable darkness and a horrible screeching!  The two of them stumbled on towards the river in a blind panic as Frodo struggled against the darkness.
 
Behind him, a large number of wraiths loudly protested their newly-washed robes being dragged off by some creature who had run right through their clothesline and leapt upon their steeds to pursue them, unmindful for the moment of their morgul skivvies.  
 
Frodo flailed against the horrible wet cloth, the arms of the robes flapping in every direction. It was a terrifying sight !

In far-off Meduseld,
Theoden King frowned at his reflection in the  mirror.  There were many reasons why he might have frowned.  For one, the Royal Barber had really butchered his beard, leaving one side much longer than the other.  Theoden picked up the Royal Mach 3 razor and tried to even it out, but things went from bad to worse and he eventually picked up all the clippings and glued them back on his face with the Royal Superglue, patent pending.
 
For another reason, he kept seeing weird things in the mirror.  Weirder than his face with the glued-on beard clippings.  He saw Mighty Black Steeds racing after a Mighty White Steed.  He saw scary looking wraith-like guys and a hot Elven chick.  He saw a Giant Marshmallow cringing and begging.  He saw a Sturdy Pony.  He saw the rear end of a Horse part company with the front end of the same Horse.
 
He swore.  No more drinking contests in the Mead Hall.  Last night had been a doozy.
 
Back to the Mirror.  "Mirror, mirror, on the Wall," he sang, "who's the fairest King of all?"
 
Usually the Mirror answered in a sexy female voice and it usually said, "Why you are, Theoden honey!"
 
But not this day.

Near the Ford...

Captain Jack Wonka held Merry up to his khol-lined eyes and sqinted at him.  "You wouldn't happen to have a gold Ring, would you, mate?"  
 
Merry shook his head quickly.  The strange man was frightening and strangely amusing.  He jerked his thumb toward the river, where Bill was running in a ragged line, leaving a scattering of black robes in his wake, persued by nine semi-clad wraiths.
 
"Seems I waited for the opportune moment a little too long.  Now I think I shall have to do something incredibly stupid!"  
 
He turned to Arwen and bowed unsteadily.  "Sorry luv, It would never have worked between us!"  He winked at Figwit and saluted Strider, then leaped upon the back of one of the horses that drew the strange waggon, and severing the harness with his sword, he urged the horse into a wild gallop.
 
"Ride, Frodo, ride!" he called after the fleeing halfling.  "And if those nasty black fellows catch you, what ever you do, do NOT ask for 'Parley'!  Savvy?"

"Washing! The washing! More mud, it soon will cake too!" the wraiths screeched in dismay as they pursued their garments toward the river's edge.
 
Underneath the muffling fabric and with the peeps peeping in his sugary ears, Frodo heard a chant much more dire in meaning.   The ring... Mordor...? He clutched the squeeping and wiggling Ring to his chest with his one good arm as Bill hit the water with an incredible splash and began surging across the Ford.  The blackness and the weight increased as the robes were splashed anew.
 
"The wringing!" they cried, watching all their work go to naught.
 
"You shall not have the Ring and you shall not have me!" cried Frodo defiantly, though no one could hear him under the cloth.  Bill, now frightened by the pursuit of the wraiths, the dangling rope and robes and the muffled noises coming from his rider sloshed along with a will and began clambering out on the other side.

Arwen picked up Merry where that impertinent yet strangely attractive Man had dropped him, and hugged him tight.  
 
"Ugh, now you smell of rum and gunpowder!" she cried as he wrinkled her perfect little Elven nose. "You'll need a bath when we get to Rivendell. Come on, let's go!"
 
Still dragging a rather uncomfortable Merry along under her arm, she went in search of her steed. As she passed Brother Horse, she quickly snatched Pippin from a bemused Figwit and tucked him under her other arm.
 
"Come, Gorny my love!" she cried as she mounted her horse gracefully (quite an achievement with her arms full of Hobbit). "You take the other white horse, my darling, and carry little Chubby over there. Figgy dear, you already have a... horse. It will have to do. Follow me now, ye brave mallowship. To the rescue we go!"
 
She dramatically wiped away a tear and rode, followed by the others, while Glorfindel, forgotten for the moment, still sat in his Ford with four flat tires, wondering when his cue would come.

Merry clutched Arwen's robes and muttered to Pippin, "If she even THINKS about poking me and saying, "Ooo, a squishy, I always wanted a squishy, do you want to be my squishy?" I'm gonna scream."
He uncomfortably shifted around among Arwen's shopping bags and tried to look behind him.
"And what's with all these elves talking like pirates? Are we going to Rivendell, or to Never Land?" He stretched out further and gasped, and realized that Arwen had put a rhinestone collar around his neck with a tag that read MERRY-BERRY.
"I hate my life," Merry groaned, and buried his face in the crook of his arm.

Sam stood forlornly on the banks of the Ford thingy, and directed an even more forlorn look at the elf in the stranded car.
"Doesn't anyone want me for a pet?" he asked wistfully. "I guess Gandalf shoulda turned me into a frog back in Hobbiton a while back, maybe the Lady woulda thought I was cute too."
He sighed, "Now Masters Merry an' Pip are pets, Bill an' Mr. Frodo have run off together across the river, an' I'm here, all alone. Guess I should try to follow after, an' make sure those pirate talkin' elves don't do anythin' strange or unnatural with 'im, like bake 'im in a giant birthday cake to hide 'im from the Marshmallow Marauders."
He sighed loudly and trudged in the wake of the others, muttering that he spent way too much time doing things like this.

Figwit watched Arwen depart with a wistful sigh, his hand fluttering over his heart and his soulful eyes full of love. "Well, she accepted my gift at least," he said hopefully to the pantomime pony. "And didn't throw rocks at me like she did when we were kids. That's encouraging."  
 
Confident that his charm and unbelievably good looks would triumph eventually over ... well, whatever it was she saw in Aragorn ... the Figster leaped on the pantomime pony and dug in his heels.  "After 'em, boys!"

Meanwhile in Imladris...

Elrond's gift of foresight had been seriously diminished since his script disappeared, but he was sure the mallowship had to be nearing Imladris by now. Surely. It had certainly taken them long enough. Despite the extra time he'd had, packing the twins off to boot camp and all of the rest of the mayhem they'd caused had been unnecessary distractions that delayed Elrond in his preparations. He hoped he still had time to provide an impressive welcome.  
 
It wasn't every day that a party of hobbits visited Imladris, particularly kin of Elrond's favorite pet Bilbo, and he wanted to make a good impression. Besides, one of the hobbits was carrying something of immense importance to Elrond and deserved a proper welcome. It wasn't any common hobbit who could carry such a precious package through dark and danger, and Elrond wanted to show his appreciation.
 
He raced toward the river to release the melted ice sculpture horses left over from the party punch bowl that had been sogging up the stable all this time. Ice sculpture, ice sculpture ... now what did that remind him of? The delivery dwarf! The melted ice dragon the twins had ordered for their unauthorized bash was still soaking the sheets of their beds. A now rather frosty serf elf had been told off to feed it ice cubes occasionally to keep it healthy for the twins' eventual return from duty, but Elrond decided it might come in handy for the hobbits' welcome.

In Meduseld...

Not this day, no.  For the mirror, in a new voice, said, "Sorry, bub.  You're not the fairest King of all, not any more!  There's a new kid in town..."
 
Theoden's heart sank, and he sobbed aloud.  "Wh-what do you mean?   And where's my regular mirror voice?"
 
"She's on vacation.  And the new Fairest King?  Well.....that's for me to know, and you to find out."
 
Theoden drew himself up, and girded himself for battle.  "Spear shall be shaken!  Shield shall be broken!  I am the fairest!  Lo!  I have spoken!"
 
"Cool your jets, blondie!" the mirror said.  "Go, Lo! all you want!  But, like, it don't change nuthin'."  The mirror's voice changed and it chanted,  "Renewed shall be blade that was broken!  The crownless again shall be king..."
 
Theoden snarled.  "Fat chance!  Do you know how hard it is to remake a sword?  Why, you'd need Elves to do that! Elves!  Ha!  And there ain't no Elves, so there."
 
"Oh, really?"  the mirror replied, its voice dripping sarcasm.  "Well, take a look, Theoden King.  Just cast yer peepers on this here picture...."
 
Theoden cast his peepers as directed.  He reeled back in shock.  "My stars!" he said.  "Is that an Elf?"
 
The mirror considered, realizing that Theoden had seen the Big Marshmallow.  "Well, no, not exactly,  but there are Elves there somewhere.  Just a sec....there!"
 
Theoden looked again.  "Woo hoo!   Now, she's quite the babe....except for those ears....drat!  She wrapped a towel around herself....anyway.  What could she know about Reforging Swords?  She's no blacksmith."
 
"Don't be so literal!  She's an Elf, right?"  The mirror sighed, then went on.  "She lives in this sorta hidden kingdom, you see, and her boyfriend is a special kinda guy."  Again the mirror chanted,   "Deep roots are not touched by the frost........"
 
"Roots?  Are you hinting that it's time for my touchup?"  Theoden tousled his own hair.  "Jeez.  It is, isn't it?"  He went to the door and bawled out, "Royal Barber!  To me, to me!"
 
Moments later the Royal Barber scuttled in.  He was an odd looking critter, and no advertisement for his own skills, as he had long, tangled, greasy gray hair and a huge wart on one side of his nose, and one eye wandered, leading a life of its own, and he looked exactly like Marty Feldman, if Marty Feldman was still alive and dressed like a Man of Rohan.  "You called, me Lord King?"  he asked, looking sidewise at Theoden's beard with his good eye.  Or was it?  
 
Theoden frowned.  He could NEVER tell where the Barber was actually looking.  "Never mind the beard," he said.  "Actually, I'm thinking of a new look, clean shaven and all.  Right now, I want these Roots looked after!  Even the mirror thinks I need a touchup!"
 
"I'm sorry, my lord," the Royal Barber answered.  "But the Lady Eowyn has used all the Miss Clairol!"
 
"What!" thundered Theoden.  "Holy cats!   Now what?  I cannot go before my Riders looking like this!"  He smote the wall in his Anger.  "That does it!  I'm going on a Quest.  The Quest of the Peroxide!"
 
He pulled on his boots and spurs and polar fleece vest.  Then he pulled a toque over his head, hiding the tell-tale dark roots.  Going to the open doors of Meduseld, he drew his sword and waved it over his head.  "Forth, Eorlingas!  For today we ride!"

Elladan let out a "whoa-oof!" as Figwit dug his heels into his back, and he shoved Elrohir into a run.
 
"This was not part of the bargin!  I only agreed to play this part so that Figwit would declare us 'unfit' for the Elven military and get me a desk job!  Let's dump him and run for it!"
 
"I suggest we run now, and grin and bear him!" retorted Elrohir.  "He can still assign us to Sgt Aurnauld, and frankly I'd rather watch 36 straight hours of performance art than spend on minute with that testosterone factory!  So pick up your heels back there... we are almost to the river anyway!"

As Bill slogged his way up onto the opposite bank, the clothesline which had tangled on a submerged log suddenly went taut then schlooped off of him, robes and all.  Frodo was nearly unhorsed as the sodden mass pulled away and had to fight to keep his balance, a difficult task when his whole world seemed made of jello as it was.  
 
Across the river he now beheld a sight to freeze the very peeps in his veins - nine wraiths of the Dark Lord, in their morgul skivvies screeching, one still caught in the hideous sleeping bag he had been in when Bill had so unexpectedly plunged through their camp.   Beneath them snorted and pawed eight terrifying horses and a camel....
 
They stepped onto the bank of the river....

Aragorn swung up onto the white horse and urged it forward, running a couple of circles around the "Sparrow" man and then coming around to snatch up Sam.
 
He glanced back to see the El-horse trying to catch up, a funny sight as the front and back pairs of legs were not running in any kind of synchronization at all.
 
He looked ahead and urged the horse on to greater speeds. They must catch up with Arwen and the other two hobbits! Who knows where Frodo was by now...

Realizing that Aragorn had a rather strained expression on his face from trying to keep his balance on his horse and hold on to him at the same time, Sam shifted his weight and swung onto the saddle in front of Aragorn. In doing so, his frying pan, attached to his pack, swung wide and clocked Aragorn on the chin, knocking him out cold.  
"Oh, bother," Sam muttered as the panicked horse began to gallop. "An' me without my ridin' license. Mr. Frodo's got it in his pack."
Sam frantically gathered up the reins and tried to hold onto Aragorn while the horse flew down the path.
"Comin' through!" he yelled.

Merry saw Sam flying down the path on horseback, Aragorn unconscious behind him, and Elves scattering everywhere, shouting incomprehensible phrases that didn't sound very nice as they dove out of the way.
Merry grinned.
"Things are looking up," he said. "Look out, Rivendell, here comes the home team!"

Despite being proffered as a housebroken pet, by the dorky looking elf, Pippin felt his day was looking up. The cute chick had parked him in front of her on the saddle so he had a warm and very comfy seat, although his hearing was strangely muffled. Plus he got to see everything ahead from the (don't think about the height, don't think about the height) elf horse.
 
As the horse sped down a slope through brush and trees, he spotted a river crossing ahead.
 
"Hey there's Frodo..."
 
then he spotted the wraiths all advancing in their pale white underrobes, skivvies, or whatevers (okay one of them was pink and fluffy)...
 
"Oh shiiiiiii.....

In a White Tower somewhere in the South of Middle Earth....

Denethor having "finally" found the recharging cord for his Palantir, plugs it in...
 
"It's been a long time, I just wonder what Boromir is up to..."


Boromir is up to about six foot, maybe six foot one.  If he measures his height in the morning, he's that one inch taller.  
 
He never used to be so hung up on his height, but since he realized that he was looking up just that TINY little bit at Faramir, he began to wish he had spent less time with a heavy helm on his head, and more time doing stretching exercises.
 
And then, too, lately, he felt WATCHED.  As if someone was watching him.  He looked everywhere, but he couldn't see anyone.   That sensation of being watched made him very uneasy.  He took to sleeping in his clothes, and performed other personal functions with extreme caution.  
 
Just now he's slumped in weariness against the trunk of a tree.  Camped in Fangorn Forest, he's decided to spend a whole day resting and relaxing before resuming his journey to Imladris.  
 
His skin crawls.  Dang it!  Someone IS watching him!  He scowls.  (Does Denethor see this scowl, in far off Minas Tirith?)  He jumps up, and bangs his head on a low branch.
 
"Hoom, hoom," someone says.  "Frightfully sorry, old chap!"
 
"What the heck!" Boromir exclaims.  "I could swear that tree just talked to me!  Boy, it's time to push on!  A guy could go nuts in this place."  He whistled to his horse, mounted, and rode off madly in all directions.

After allowing the palantir to fully charge Denethor locks himself in his tower to spy on his eldest.  
 
*image fuzzy*  
 
"Hmmm...maybe if I hold it up like this and attach this coat hanger to the top....."
 
*still fuzzy*  
 
"Hey Faramir!! Can you come help me a minute? I need you to hold this up just like this. "
 
"Hey pop, what is this?" Faramir says. "Nevermind, just hold real still while I look at it"
 
"Ahh...there we go"  
 
Denethor sees his number one son sitting against and tree and his wrath is kindled. He stretches out his powerful mind and with the help of Paternal guilt.....
 
Long has the common wisdom held that Maternal guilt was the strongest force of nature, able to make teenagers cry and grown men rearrange thier living rooms, but the lore masters of old know the horrible truth. It is indeed the Paternal guilt that has more power. So much more power in fact that it is seldom used, because the results can sometimes be catastophic. This is why little is known of this very powerful weapon of child rearing. Denethor has long known of it's uses though and was ready to employ them now
 
......."oh fiiine!, just sit there under that tree while I'm slaving away here trying to keep Sauron at bay. Am I going to have to come to Imladris myself? hmmm?"  
 
Faramir giggles because finally his BROTHER is in trouble. Denethor having made use of Faramir sends him away on another errand..."go make me a tuna fish sandwich will ya?"

Back at the Ford...

"Bill," said Frodo with quiet intensity. "Move!"  
 
Bill, winded and water-logged was catching his breath, but he had had quite enough of moving and only turned one ear back to listen.  He gave a mild snort.
 
"Bill, nice pony, c'mon Bill...turn around now...we need to go into the forest and get away from these scary creatures...c'mon..."
 
Bill responded to Frodo's urgency by shifting his hips to more relaxed stance and blinking.  
 
"Pleeeease Bill...!" whispered Frodo, trying to kick the sides of the pony.
 
Bill barely noticed the marshmallowly flopping of Frodo against his sides.  He watched the horses across the water with mild interest and then nosed at a small clump of reeds near his feet.
 
One of the wraiths urged his horse into the water. The others followed only reluctantly and they seemed to be arguing among themselves about it.  Their robes, still hooked midstream, floated out in a line amid the current.
 
"Bill...! Please....!" whispered Frodo, fear contracting his throat to a squeak.  The Ring cheerfully squeaked back.

Arriving at the Ford, Arwen noticed that the Frodomallow had parked his smelly pony just across the Bruinan, and was now happily bouncing up and down on it. Dude! What did this Perian think this was, a Hobbit walking-party?
Good thing they had brought someone of intelligence on this mission... quest... thing.
 
She beckoned to her brothers, who came running with Figwit on their shoulders, panting most unelvishly.
 
"Look," she said to... one of them. "You have to chase all the wraiths into the water, all right?"
 
"How?" asked... the other.
 
"How should I know, Eldork? Just think of something! You'll help them, won't you, Figgy dear?"
 
She turned away promptly and started searching for a spell to do... something. That water-horse thingy Ada and Gandalf sometimes did on lazy sunday afternoons might do the trick. If only giving those wraiths a proper shower. Come to think of it, in that case it might be convenient to shove Aragorn in as well.
 
"Just a moment!" she yelled to the scene in general as she started searching her shopping bags for the Standard Book of Spells.

In Meduseld...

No one answered Theoden's rallying cry, the Riders of Rohan were all out on the Golf Course, it being Wednesday.  
 
"Well," he said to the Royal Barber, "I'm too dignified and Kingly and all that to go alone, so guess what?  You're coming with me.  Get a horse, Marty."
 
(It turns out that the Royal Barber WAS Marty Feldman, in an earlier incarnation.  Cool, eh?)
 
"Yes, Sire.  To hear is to obey, Sire," Marty said, and he scurried off to the stables.  He returned mounted on a splendid Steed.
 
"What are you doing with my horse?"  Theoden roared.  "Jeepers creepers!"
 
Marty dismounted reluctantly, then scurried stablewards again, returning riding a bicycle.
 
Theoden scowled.  "What is that device?  Some New Devilry of Orthanc?"
 
Marty admitted it was.  "But Sire, it has some advantages.  It doesn't need Oats or Hay, and it does not produce Dung."
 
"Well, stay behind me!  Snowmane might bolt, if you go in front."  Theoden honked his saddlehorn.  "We're off to see the Wizard!" he sang.
 
"Saruman, Sire?"  Marty asked.  "Are we going to see Saruman?"
 
"Yes, indeedy, we are, Marty!"  Theoden slapped Snowmane's noble Rump.  "He has a wonderful little Salon in the Tower, you know, and is an absolute Wizard with Hair!"

Boromir was heading to The Gap of Rohan.  He knew that Imladris was North of there, but beyond that, he wasn't sure of anything.  
 
There was a filling station at Orthanc, that he knew from his AAA guidebook.  He could get his horse some new shoes there, and maybe have a shower and a proper meal.  
 
And there was supposed to be a Wizard, as well.  Was a Wizard as good as an Elf? he wondered.  Maybe he would just ask this Wizard what the dumb dream meant, and then head home.  He suspected that his li'l bro' was up to no good, weasling his way into Daddy's affections. How would they REALLY know if he ever went all the way to this Imladris place, anyway?
 
Except,.......he still felt he was being watched.  He looked over his right shoulder.  He looked over his left shoulder.  He looked up.  He looked down.  
 
"Curses!" he muttered.  "Curses!  I almost think those darned birds are spying on me!"

At the Ford...

Merry observed Arwen's inability to tell her brothers apart, even after thousands of years to figure it out, and her utter lack of organization, and commented to Pippin, "You know, Pip, our Lady here reminds me of the Venus de Milo. Very beautiful, but not all there."
He gasped when Venus-er, Arwen pinned his head under her arm and fished around in a bag marked FLET PETS R US. She drew out a pink maribou muzzle decorated with feathers and rhinestones and fastened it on Merry's head.
"MMMFFFF! MMMMFFF!" Merry grunted, trying to tug it off.

Sam managed to bring the horse to a stop-he hadn't known before now that a horses' hooves could make a sound like burning rubber-and frantically patted Aragorn's face trying to wake him up.
"Sir!" he shouted, right in the Ranger's face. "Sir! Wake up! We've got to stop Mr. Frodo from meltin' all over Bill. It'll take me WEEKS to get all that gunk outa Bill's coat, and those skivvy-wearin' wraiths might do somethin' bad to Mr. Frodo, besides!"
Aragorn didn't respond.  
"Strider, sir, please, we're all dependin' on you! Wake up!"
Still no response.
Sam rolled his eyes, and then said in a nonchalant, barely audible voice, "Well, look at that, Miss Arwen is makin' calf eyes at Mr. Figwit."
Aragorn's eyes snapped open.
"TO THE FORD!" he bellowed.
"Which one? The water one , or the one with the four flat tires?" Sam asked.

Elladan began to think quickly.  Struck by a brilliant idea (to him) he quickly shucked off his horse-end costume and grabbed his brother by the pointed ear, whispering fiercely.  Elrohir began to grin.  He dashed off into the trees and returned with a bag.  To Elladan and Figwit he handed small boxes with tiny round windows.  
 
They waited until Arwen had found her spell, and after a deep breath, they sprang from the bushes behind the wraiths, trying to look like rabid paparazzi. They waved 'instant artistic scetch devices' (magic of the elves, of course), shouting, "There he is!  Mr Mortenson!  Can we take your picture??"
 
There are blinding flashs of light as each magical 'camera' began taking snaps of the minimally clad wraths.  Their horses, startled by the bright lights, hurl the wraiths into the coursing flood... or that was the plan, anyway....

After briefly reorienting himself, Aragorn realized that they were, in fact, already at the Ford. The water one, that is.
 
He took the reins from Sam and turned the horse around to figure out what was going on. It appeared to be a somewhat organized chaos. The El-twins were driving the wraiths into the water....wait...wraiths only in their unmentionable..?  Frodo appeared to be safely across the river, and Arwen was...where was Arwen?
 
He saw her reading something out of a book atop her horse. He couldn't quite make out what it was with all the screeching, hollering, and splashing going on in the background, but it sounded profound, whatever it was.  Her beautiful lips were moving...  
 
He tore his gaze away from her lips when the water horses came leaping down the river. The water was rising and they neighed, a burbling watery sound, gleeful to be splooshing along. The wraiths shrieked, the hobbits gasped (except for Merry, who could currently do nothing involving an open mouth), everyone else cheered, and the river...waved.

Frodo was feeling the effects of hysteria building as the wraiths continued towards him and his own mount moved not at all.  Bill simply stood there, as dumbly as only a stubborn pony who is trying to ignore its rider can.  
"Bill...Sam....Strider....anybody....! Help....! "
 
The wraiths were clear and sharp, moving across the ford but behind them he saw several gelatinous shapes bouncing around on the bank.   Strange flashes of light burst from the bushes,  he dimly heard shouts and another strange noise...a roaring...
 
To his lasting astonishment, the water of the river itself seemed to rise up, frothing and white.  Water-horses swept past as the wraiths flailed, shrieked and blamed one another for it at the top of their hideous lungs.  
 
Frodo, hyperventilating with hysteria, passed out.  He slowly drooped sideways off of Bill and finally fell with a plop onto the bank and heard and saw no more.