Aragorn looked up from snogging Arwen in the corner long enough to
check the clock on the wall.
"Looks like it's too late to start today. Guess I'll just have to stay
one more day with my widdle cutie-patootie..." he trailed off as he
remembered he was addressing an entire official Council, who were all
staring at him with strangely repulsed expressions on their faces.
"Ahem. I mean, the hour grows late and our adventure draws nigh! Let us
retire forthwith and recover our strength for the morrow!" He
brandished his sword heroically just for good measure.
Bilbo piped up in agreement. "Yes! And
it's past lunchtime!
Merry promptly tackled Gandalf, trying to take the map from his robe.
"Did you not see what the Hand of Fate wrote? I'm the only one who
knows how to read a map! With you in charge, we'll probably end up
wandering through some troll-infested cave! Besides, what do you think
I've been doing the last few weeks, besides avoid Princess Press-On
Nails over there? Gimme that map!"
Sam excused himself for a moment, and returned to his room so that he
could write a letter to Rosie.
you won't believe this, and we'll both have a good laugh about this
later, but Mr. Frodo went and offered to carry an item that I'm not
supposed to mention to some far away land called Mordor - or "Mor-duh"
as Mr. Strider keeps callling it- and so I won't be home in time for
the Miss Westfarthing Pageant. Please keep an eye on the Gaffer, make
sure Marigold don't stay out too late in the evenings, and sing to my
begonias twice a day. I promise I'll make it up to you when we get
back. With love, Sam.
Legolas, who is quivering with excitement, suddenly broke into song:
to the tune, Traveling
Band, by CCR
"Seven ME denzens and a couple of Men,
Oh! Headin' East toward danger over mountain and glen
I wanna go!
Gotta join a Traveling Quest. Yes!
Well, we're tryin' to do what's best; Frodo's putting on his vest,
Joining up a Traveling Quest.
Heading down to Mordor, tryin' not to loiter
Come on, come on, just take Merry and Pip along!
I wanna go!
Gotta join a Traveling Quest. Yes!
Well, no time to take a rest or care how we are dressed,
Gotta join a Travelling Quest!
Listen to the wind blow, piling up the deep snow,
If no one makes an avalanche, we'll take the scenic route,
' Cuz I don't wanna go!
Not to Moria, NO!
Well, I'll go if you all do, but don't say I didn't warn you
Gotta stay with the Travelling Quest!
here Legolas and a group of elves
performed a tricky acrobatic dance-number to put the Rockettes to
Oh! I'm joing a Traveling Quest;
Joining a Traveling Quest.
Won't you take me along, I shoot the best
Well, I'm joining a Traveling Quest,
Well, no need to get depressed
Until Frodo gets obsessed,
Joining a Traveling Quest,
The elf looked around at his companions, staring at him, and said,
is going to be way fun! Do we have to wait until morning to get
Bilbo shook his head and smiled
apologetically at Frodo. "These Elves, always singing and dancing
around. You get used to it after a while, don't worry. Why don't you
come over to my room for a bit of a snack? I have some items you may
find useful when you leave on your little jaunt."
"Wait a minute. Did that Elf just call me obsessed?" asked Frodo as he
was towed out of the room by Bilbo.
"Just poetic license, I'm sure. Don't bother your head about it." said
Frodo reluctantly let it go...for now... He followed the old hobbit
through the endless twists and turns until they arrived back at the
Nice Hobbit-Sized Room again. Thankfully, there were plenty of
sandwich fixings heaped on the table and they set to with gusto, first
Gandalf stood by and watched as the
council members left, singly or in pairs. When is was only he and
Elrond, er.. Bob left he thwacked Bob on the shoulder and praised him
for a job well done then sat down with a huge sigh.
It was over, the group to bring the evil thing to it's doom chosen and
no one noticed that the real Elrond was missing from the council.
His relief soon turned to anxiety as he realized he'd have to report
all this to the real Elrond when he returned. He lifted his head from
his hands and looked about, searching.
"Hey Pete! Come here
for a moment, would you?" The tall hobbit-like man with
glasses ambled over to the wizard. "Pete, do you mind if I call you
that? Well you told me these one-eyed gizmos those men are holding," he
pointed at he cameramen, "would make a record of everything that went
on here, correct?"
Annoyed at being called "Pete" versus the "Sir" he was used to or even
the little used "Director", he nodded anyway.
"Great! Is there anyway I can borrow what you have for when Elrond gets
back? He'll need to catch up on what happened here and since it would
be easier than having me write it all down... What say you?"
Sir Director agreed it would be best if he knew what had happened here
and promised to get a copy of the tape for Elrond to watch upon his
All his problems solved, the grey wizard went in
search of some bleach. Hey if Saruman didn't like white robes, Gandalf
wasn't adverse to trying out the look for himself.
Bilbo grabbed the last bagel from the tray before Frodo could.
"Age before beauty!" he grinned, stuffing it in his mouth. His cheeks
puffed out like a chipmunk's as he chewed. He went over to a wooden
"Nww, ahv ga fumfinn ear vahd woobeh ooful buu." He said, opening the
Frodo made a last attempt to snatch the bagel but was too late.
"What did you say?" he asked.
Bilbo swallowed and brushed crumbs from his face.
"I said, I've got something here that would be useful to you. Here."
He lifted out a short sword from the chest and pulled it from its
"Sting!" he handed it to Frodo. "The blade glows
blue when orcs are about. It also has this handy fold-out pair of
scissors, a nail file, a fish-scaler and see? A little ivory toothpick
here at the end of the hilt. Here are the tweezers too. Made by the
Swiss, you know."
Frodo took the sword reverently.
"Made by the Swiss? Don't thier things have holes in them?"
"That's cheese." said Bilbo, wishing they had some.
"Oh. Right." Frodo admired it. "I wish we had some cheese." He was
pulling the little scissors out and snipping loose threads from the
curtains when he glanced back to find Bilbo holding up a shiny silver
shirt. "What's that?"
"Teflon - light as a feather and slllick as greased ice. Careful now!
Hold it on the inside or you'll drop it!"
He handed it to Frodo for a moment, who eyed it dubiously, trying to
discern any possible use for a slippery shirt.
Bilbo saw his confusion and took the shirt back
"Here. Let me demonstrate."
He put the shirt over the back of a handy chair much in the same
as one might dress a mannequin and grinned at Frodo's baffled
"Half a moment!" he chuckled, digging through a
drawer on the other side of the room. Finally he gave a confidant
exclamation of "Aha!" and held up a letter opener.
"Now bear with me, my lad. I'm going to ask you stab that chair
this letter opener. Just go ahead. I'm not worried for the chair's
He handed the letter opener over and moved out of the way.
"Go on! Give it a go!"
Frodo dubiously held the letter opener
and eyed the chair. He felt very foolish. Glancing around to be
no one was watching, he took a swipe at the shirt-covered chair.
Nothing happened - the shirt wasn't even moved but his arm slid off the
the right. He tried again with more determination. The shirt
unruffled but he staggered slightly as the letter opener shot off to
He began stabbing at it in earnest, trying to make some sort of dent or
crease in it at the very least. His efforts were all in vain - the
Teflon shirt was unaffected but he himself was working up a bit of a
sweat and getting a mildly frenzied look in his eyes.
"It won't work! I can't stab it!"
He looked at Bilbo with amazement. "Why, anyone who wears this would
"Well yes, that's the idea." Bilbo
smiled. "It was a gift to me from Thorin's chef. He said the
spatters would never stick to it, which is a great thing for a hobbit,
and it also protected him from surly customers bearing axes who didn't
like his cooking. Wear it always and I shall know you are safe
the darkest kitchen."
Frodo pulled on the teflon shirt and
belted his Swiss Army Sting on. Bilbo seemed pleased by the
suggested they retire to the kitchens for a munchie-scrounging foray
until the others were ready to go.
We last saw Marty Feldman as he left the
council. He was bound for Isengard, or so he thought, but as he
trotted in his ineffably graceful fashion to where he had parked his
bike, he was accosted by Glorfindel.
"Ah," Glorfindel said. "I'm so glad I caught you! Tell me, dear
fellow, would you like to earn some gold?"
Marty frowned. "Weeeellllll....I guess so. What do you
have in mind?"
Glorfindel led Marty Feldman to where a quite large two wheeled cart
was parked. It was obviously heavily laden, and a dispirited mule
stood between the shafts.
"Melvin the Mule has reached the
end of his rope," Glorfindel said. "If someone doesn't take over
task, the Quest of the Ring shall fail."
"And his task would be what?" Marty asked suspiciously.
"Supplies for the Fellowship! You know, toilet tissue, and clean
towels and things of that sort," Glorfindel replied.
Marty was astonished. "You mean they don't carry it all
themselves? I thought they did!"
"Carry it all themselves? Carry it all themselves? Surely
"Don't call me Shirley!" Marty said crossly. "So, just what is it
that I'm supposed to do?"
"Oh, go out upon the path that the Quest shall take, and stash this
stuff under bushes and rocks and what not, so when the Fellowship gets
there, there will be clean towels and Charmin' tissue and lots of
deodorant, and things of that nature. Here. Here's a map.
I got it
from the back of this old book here.....this one. The cover's
but I think it's the same story we're in right now."
Feldman squinted. "Hmmmm..........yes. I see some familiar
Wilderland, Bree...The Misty Mountains.....The Gap at Isengard,
by the way is a dreadful disappointment, nothing stylish there at
all....So. Well, yes, I guess I could do this. But I'm not
going into Moria. It's awfully dark in there, and my flashlight
"Oh, don't worry about batteries! Here,
look, here's a whole gross of them! Gandalf needs them for his
doncha know." He put his arm around Marty's shoulders.
man? Will you do it? Will you do your part to save Middle
the Machinations of the Dark Lord? Will you do your possible to
the Fellowship marching along in peace, amity, and comfort?"
Marty sighed. He had the distinct feeling that for a non-existent
character an AWFUL lot was depending on him. Always a responsible
empathetic guy, he could not refuse.
He unhitched Melvin
and rigged up a means of attaching the cart to his bike.
he squeezed the little bulb of his bike horn. "I like to sound my
before setting out," he said grandly.
Away he went, his bike wheels singing a little tuneless song in the
dusty road, the cart lumbering heavily behind him.
Glorfindel watched him go. "That man," he said to
himself, "is a hero."
Frodo paused in stuffing his face and tilted his head, listening.
"What is it?" mumbled Bilbo around a mouthful of spongecake.
"Nothing. It just sounded like something was tooting and squeaking
slowly off into the distance. Very strange."
"Probably just some Elf or other... You never know what they'll do
next." Bilbo said, ramming another slice of spongecake in after the
first. Frodo nodded agreeably and joined his uncle in demolishing
rest of the dessert on the trays around them. After all, who knew
sort of food he would find out in the wild? Besides Sam's
sausages, that is...
Morning's light lit up the valley of
Imladris, the last Homely House, home of all the homely Elves.
homely little birds sang in the trees, unaware that Doom, slung on a
silver chain about a lowly halfling's neck, was right below them. Only
one bird was passingly aware of it but its own attempt to make a
deposit on the offending item missed.
It hit the halfling's companion instead.
Aragorn grumbled, wiping the avian deposit from the twinkly bit of
jewelry that Arwen had insisted he take with him. He swung his sword at
the bird, sending it flapping and screeching away from him.
Ahead of him there was a courtyard, filled with various people and a
pony. He strode into it as only Strider could.
"Let's get this show on the road!" he announced.
Arwen stood behind her 'father' and did
some last-minute practicing on her Beautifully Tearful look; she had
the feeling she'd be needing it soon.
She fixed each member of the Fellowship with a mournful
thinking of last night when she had bestowed a gift upon each of them
in farewell, just like her Granny always did.
in the meantime, was still trying to figure out what to do with the
rubber duck that this strange Elf-Lady had given him.
Legolas walked up to Arwen and bowed
gracefully, then lifted a hand and touched her face in gentle farewell.
Into her exquisitely pointed ear he whispered,
"Thanks for the nice new sword, Arwen, but don't you think you should
have at least tried to scratch off or cover up the name "Glorfindel"
that is etched onto the blade?"
He hugged her and took back
his bow and arrows that the maiden had stolen from him earlier.
seemed to forget who taught her to pick pockets somtimes.
Gandalf lounged about near the entrance,
figuring that once everyone else got ready and headed out they'd find
him. That way even if he took a nap they'd not forget him.
Sam looked down at his pink, fluffy boa.
He glanced at Frodo and said, "You know, Mr. Frodo, it's nice an' all
that Arwen did this, but really, what am I going to do with a fluffy
"Give it to Rosie." Frodo grinned.
Sam took it off from around his own neck and draped it across Bill.
"Sorry Bill, I guess
you'll just have to wear this for me...I'm allergic to feathers."
snorted and feathers shot up his nose.
Frodo stood in the middle of the courtyard feeling like
everyone was looking at him.
"What's everyone looking at me for?!" he grumbled.
He admired the rubber duck that Gimli had, and wished he'd gotten one
of those instead of a bottle of Mane n' Tail conditioner.
"Sam," he asked, "What did Bill get? Maybe we can trade."
"Well, Mr. Frodo, you know those stories
that we tell at home? The ones about those mythical creatures, the
strange humans that seem obsessive and use these things called
computers WAY too often? Well, Bill got an action figure of the
character "Primula the Many-changing Name". You can trade with Bill if
you want...I'm sure he wouldn't mind."
Merry looked into his goody bag.
"I got a Beautifully Tearful Arwen with Matching Handbag and Necklace,
and Pixie-Stix. Oh cool, is that the stuff that makes your tongue turn
all sorts of colors?"
Frodo examined the action-figure
critically. "Nah. Look at the awful paint job on it...oh wait, it's
supposed to be that way. But Bill can have the conditioner anyway.
Thanks. Say! Is that a pink feather boa? Doesn't Merry like
vaguely recall him wearing one, when we were near the Ford, wasn't it?"
A sound of snoring drew his attention to the nearby archway. Peering
into the shadows he found Gandalf, sound asleep. "Oops. Guess
been standing around talking too long. It must be time to go!"
He looked around for Elrond or some other representative of the
household to officially see them off. Bobrond stood nearby
huge, ridiculous looking pair of oversized scissors. Two Elves
string a bright ribbon across the arched doorway and held it taut.
"I hereby dub thee the Fellowship of the Ring! Go forth and conquer!"
he proclaimed sanctimoniously and closed the ceremonial scissors on the
It would have been very impressive if the ribbon
had cut instead of just turning sideways and jamming in-between the
Just then Pippin strolled back in through the archway half-eaten
apple-danish in hand to ask
"So just when are we planning on going?"
the 'keen but relaxed about things' air he was trying to affect was
spoilt somewhat by the black silk mask that had been his gift from
Arwen (well actually after judiciously trading the bag of gumballs and
character cards with one of the maids).
Legolas stood slightly behind the proud
and oblivious Boromir, making bunny-rabbit ears behind his head for the
Elven artist Leonaraë D'Vinski who was hastily painting a fresco
posterity. He shifted from one foot to another. He was
He wondered if he should get that tatoo that Erestor was trying
talk him into. There was no way that ada would go for the pierced
eyebrow thingy... but maybe a nice tasteful mohawk would get his
It was tough, being a two thousand year old delinquent. Coming up
with new ways to annoy his parent was getting difficult.
Bobrond struggled to disentangle the
scissors from the ribbon while his two assistants gamely and grimly
hung on to their ends of the ribbon. After several twists there was a
dull snap and the Ceremonial Scissors for the Cutting of the Ribbon
The Ribbon, barely frayed or wrinkled, appeared unharmed.
"What do we do now?" said Frodo who wondered if anything more than the
top of his head was getting in the group portrait, "Anyone got
something we can cut with, or should we all just duck underneath it?"
"Sheesh!" Boromir muttered. He drew his sword and stomped
forward and slashed the ribbon.
Boromir saw that he had offended half of the crowd, frightened the
other half, and confused the other half...er...well, he'd mucked up,
"It's cut," he said defensively. "I could never
have ducked under it! I mean, those little guys could have, I
but a big chap like me or Arnie here, why, we'd have put our backs out
"Arnie?" Aragorn said. "Arnie? Who are you calling
Arnie? It's ARAGORN, you bozo!"
Boromir flushed, and tugged at the collar of his richly embroidered
jerkin. "I'm sorry, Aragorn! It's just that I had a bit
part in this
Terminator movie last year, and I get you and what's-his-name, The
Governator, mixed up."
Boromir saw an Elven Princesss
patting Aragorn's lean cheeks and he realized that he had seriously
offended the Elves. He looked helplessly around. When you
cynosure of all eyes, what can you do?
Why, find some other poor sap for people to be mad at!
"Hey," he said, "what's that guy doing? Him, over there!
The one with the can of red spray paint?"
Aragorn turned briefly from where he'd
been having his last bit of cuddling before hitting the road again. Red
"HEY!" he yelled, suddenly leaping past Arwen and leaving her with
closed eyes and puckered lips standing in the middle of the
There was a clatter of weaponry on flagstones as the unknown
fled, leaving fake "blood" painted on Aragorn's sword. He
Who would have dared to slip it from its scabbard among Bill's luggage
and do such a thing? On the other hand, it looked kinda cool this way.
Frodo looked up soulfully at Bobrond,
who gave up on attempting to fit the halves of the scissors back
together. The ribbon was cut. Good enough. The portrait was
for posterity and his lunch was getting cold. Bobrond held out
hand in what he hoped was a gesture of blessing, though it ended up
looking like he was about to pick something out of Frodo's hair.
"Go forth, O Fellowship of the Ring! All our hopes go with you. "
There was a long pause as they apparently waited for him to say
something else. He was at a loss. Wouldn't they ever leave? Maybe
they just needed a little nudge out the door.
He nudged Frodo who happened to be closest to him. "Ringbearer
Frodo staggered slightly from his 'nudge' then obediently turned and
headed out of the courtyard, the others falling in behind him. As
went out of the sun and into the shadow of the arch he was half-blind
and had forgotten about the snoozing wizard in the way... until it was
Gandalf woke as the sun was setting and
sleepily pushed his hat back on his head. Blinking sleepily he wondered
where everyone was.
He was just about to go find out where everyone was when Bob came
ambling by on his way back to the Rohan tents after returning Elrond's
robes. "What you doing back 'ere so soon?"
"Doing? Back? What are you talking about Bob? No one's left yet."
Bob looked at the setting sun and told him he'd cut the exit ribbon
nigh on 8 hours ago.
"EIGHT HOURS! Why didn't anyone wake me up? I was sitting right here
waiting fer them all."
Without another word Gandalf went running for the stable area where
he'd left the fat pony he'd ridden up here on weeks ago. Shadowfax
wasn't there, but Asfaloth was. The old wizard felt bad about taking
him, but just as soon as he caught up to the party he was supposed to
be leading he'd send him back.
Now if he could only get out of here without being caught.
Merry glanced around. His remarkably keen and clever Brandybuck senses
told him that something was not quite right.
"Let's see...there's Frodo...and Pippin...and Boromir...and
Legolas...and Gimli...and me of course...and Aragorn...and Sam...and oh
yeah, Bill! So there ARE Nine of us! I guess there isn't anyone missing
He sneezed as the feathers from the pink boa tickled
his nose, and a chorus of "Bless yous!" in Elvish, Gondorian, Dwarvish
and Westron followed it- and even a whinny from Bill.
Merry frowned. "Wait a minute...who's got the map?"
Strider strode along with the confidence
of one who knows exactly where he is and where he was going.
who had a reputation to uphold as a Dunedain Ranger, an expert tracker,
a survivor in the Wild.
Too bad he had no clue where they were....
He glanced up at the sun and figured it being later rather than earlier
in the day, they were going approximately sorta south-ish. Or
kind of west-ish.
"Map? We don't need a map. I've gotten along fine for years without a
Frodo paused, almost causing himself to
be run down by a blundering Gondorian, a pony and Sam, who stumbled in
an attempt to not crash into his Master and flipped a string of
sausages over his pack onto Frodo's head.
"Strider, wait! I think Merry's on to something here! Not the map
but... I don't know. It just seems like something
is missing. Do we have a list of our supplies we could go over?"
looked up and grimaced slightly, pushing the sausages out of his hair.
" I know we have sausages, so it's not that..."
The group straggled to a stop. Strider turned to look at Frodo.
"What? What are we missing?"
"I don't know, that's what we're trying to figure out." said the
"Say, nice grease in your hair there. Mind if I borrow some? I left my
gel behind accidently." The Ranger reached over and scrubbed his hand
through Frodo's hair.
"Hey!" protested Frodo, batting the
large hand away. "It's bad enough as it is without adding to it.
Merry...weren't you the one with our list of supplies?"
The much-crumpled piece of paper was located and brought out. Spreading
it flat on a rock, the group gathered around to peer at it.
"Let's see... cooking pans. check. blankets. check. whetstones. check.
bunny slippers. check. hairbrush. check. apples...."
He looked up from the list, puzzled. "Hat-brush? Is that for your hat,
Gimli? Why do we need a hat-brush? And what are
Gandalf made it out of Rivendell with
the elven horse. He got worried when he had to stop at the Ford and
retrieve a map that was stuck on a bush.
"I can't believe they left this here, Asfaloth. Either they left it
behind for me to follow them more easily, which I doubt since they
completely forgot about me in the first place or Frodo gave it to one
of his foolish cousins. Sam wouldn't have left it." He stuck the folded
paper in a pocket and remounted the horse. In a moment they were headed
Gandalf hoped to catch up to them tonight, but the darkening skies told
him he'd be lucky to catch them by dawn.
Sam scratched his head.
"Staff-batteries...hmm...is that batteries that only members of the
Rivendell Staff can use? Who here is a member of the staff?.....And why
would we need batteries anyway? It's not like we have any flashlights
or light-up walking sticks we need them for..."
"Maybe they're for a light up walking
staff, you know for when you're trying to find a good spot to camp and
dusk is coming on quick" piped up Pippin, from where he'd cleverly
swung a canvas seat from one of Bill's straps.
"Or maybe they're for that nifty
Glo-Stick that the Elves gave Frodo," Merry suggested. "As many times
as he's fallen on his bum this trip so far, it's a wonder he won't
break it before it needs batteries."
He gasped when a well-aimed string of sausages wrapped round his neck,
becoming hopelessly tangled up with the feather boa, and lay on his
back, helplessly kicking his feet in the air, neatly connecting with
Pippin's swing as Bill ambled up behind Merry, and launching the
startled Took into space.
Frodo ducked as Pippin flew over him, flapping his arms like mad.
"Hey, watch where you're flying....!"
He looked up at the others. "Well, seeing as we can't figure out what
we're missing, how about a snack as long as we're stopped?"
Sam was all too ready. He whipped out his pans and took the sausage off
"Do you guys want any taters to go with this? We still have plenty..."
Legolas laughed a little at the hobbit's
antics. He hadn't seen a comedy team like this since The Mahar
Brothers, Gróchö, Queechö, Harpy, and Shemp, an
quartet. All these halflings needed was a manager and an
The Elf turned and shaded his eyes, looking back down the road.
seen something in the distance, moving toward them... a little grey
speck on the horizon...?
Aragorn sighed and rolled his eyes but
he'd been with the hobbits long enough now it wasn't a surprise that
they wanted to eat at every opportunity and then some. He knelt
and helped Sam start a small fire, grumbling slightly about the delay.
Looking back up, he noticed the Elf posed nicely against the sky in a
sort of salute.
"Legolas, what do your Elf Eyes see? And what about your regular
Legolas focused his eyes that were
startlingly blue for close-ups, and said, "I can see Rivendell in the
distance. The mist from the falls rises like breath from the
the earth, and the trees are colouring with the winter's palette...
someone has put a 'kick me, I'm half-elven" sign on Elrond's back...
Arwen is stealing the Twin's cache of chocolate lembas.... oh,
there's a wizard on a shaggy pony riding up behind us.... whoa! he is
the spitting image of Gandalf! Weird!
"Hey Gandi, do you have a brother-wizard?" Legolas looked around, but
Gandalf was not with them.
"Where is that dratted Wizard?"
Aragorn looked around, turning in a complete circle. There was no sign
"Just like a wizard to go missing... wait.... Are you sure he
up with us for this jaunt? Come to think of it, I don't remember him
being there when we stopped for brunch, lunch or that other
whatchacallit snacky thing."
"We forgot Gandalf!
Frodo smacked his forehead dramatically. Unfortunately it still
held his fork.
Legolas turned to look at Frodo, his hand still shading his eyes.
"Blame not yourself, Ring Bearer. We should have called role
left. Should we wait here for him to catch up, or should we hide
jump out to surprise him?
on my hand so that it is now stuck to my head?"
The small bush where Pippin had landed,
rustled and uttered "NOT me!" as the Took extracted himself and headed
Merry patted Frodo's shoulder
consolingly and handed him one of the Gummi Bear bandaids Frodo favored
for his latest injury.
"Don't blame yourself, cousin; I should have known something was up
when I sneezed and no one said "bless you" in Wizardish. I blame the
feather boa being wrapped so tightly around my neck that not enough
blood got to my brain...I HEARD that, Pippin!!!"
Strider strode over to the hapless Elf.
"Here. I've had some luck with sausage-grease getting that stuff
unstuck." He rubbed his greasy fingers all around the edges of
Elf's hand, even though he had to put him in a head-lock to finish the
Releasing the struggling Elf, he stepped back
to admire the effect.
"Go ahead, give it a good tug! Grease is amazingly useful stuff."
He reached over and wiped the rest off on Gimli's helm. "Prevents
Legolas staggered to his feet, shaking
his head. His hand had come free at last, and the helpful 'ranger
lubricant' came off also, like water off of a wet dog.
When he was done shaking himself, he appeared his perfectly
coiffed and pristine self again.
"Thanks, Aragorn! Having my hand stuck to my head would have made
firing arrows a bit tricky!" He turned back to the rest of the
" Now that was very amusing, but let's not get carried away with the
practical jokes, okay? This is a serious Quest, after all!"
Turning to walk away, the Fellowship tried not to laugh as they saw
that someone had drawn a big bulls-eye on the back of Legolas's
Frodo went cross-eyed trying to bandage
his forehead and finally had to ask Gimli to let him peer into the now
highly-reflective greased dwarf-helm for a minute. The purple
gummi-bear in the middle of his forehead was a dubious fashion
"I vote we hide and jump out at him. How long do we have?"
Aragorn looked up from licking his fingers.
"Legolas, how far away was he? Do we have time to build a hunting
blind, or should we just all hunker in the bushes?"
Legolas offered a wry grin. "Unless he
finds second gear on that broken-down horse he's riding, I'd say we
have time to build a summer home with a deck... wait, where'd he go?"
Legolas squinted into the distance.
"I swear, he was there a moment ago..."
Merry snorted. "'I swear'', he says. The
day I hear an Elf say something stronger than 'golly', or 'gosh', I
won't smoke for a week. Gandalf probably can't see too well to ride
after dark- most old folks can't. Whose idea was it to leave Rivendell
at dusk, anyway? I know it says way back at the start of the book that
we like to walk in the dark, but really now..."
Gimli waited patiently for Frodo to finish his bandage.
"Well, Master Hobbit, I believe there was something said about the
value of not being seen, or something... but I don't seem to recall
much after that Farewell Feast... oh well."
He reached for his tinder-box. "How about we set one of these trees on
fire, so Gandalf can see exactly where we are?"
An apple flew from the nearest 'tree' and hit Gimli in
the head. The 'tree' laughed....silently....and thought "Stupid dwarf....you just TRY and set me
on fire and YOU see what happens!"
"Haven't you heard the stories, Gimli?" Sam says. "Trees
...they can walk
and talk and everything."
Merry snickered. "Yes, Gandalf is living
proof of that," he said in response to Sam's comment. "Once when he
visited Bag End, one of the neighbors mistook him for a hitching post
and tied his pony to Gandalf's leg. If he'd just wear a bit of color so
he didn't look like a plywood plank, or at least crack a smile once in
a while so he didn't look so wooden..."
He yelped when someone took the feather boa, wrapped it tightly around
his mouth, and tied a fancy double knot.
And all the Company rejoiced and was exceeding glad.
Frodo finished off the boa with a bow.
"Hush! Are you all daft?! We're supposed to be traveling in secret!
If we set trees on fire and then get chased back to Rivendell by
trees what then? I mean, besides missing out on surprising Gandalf and
possibly being turned into mulch. Besides, you already make more racket
than a circus train, so I'm sure he'll find us soon if his ears are
working at all."
Strider looked slightly embarrassed.
"You're right... I suppose this means we shouldn't have been
all those loud songs while walking earlier too, though you have to
admit that Dwarf was a really good drummer with his helm."
He turned to the hobbits. "Put out that fire now, and get ready to go!
We have a Mission to Accomplish after all!" He peered into the distance
trying to see which way the mountain range was they were aiming for,
licked a finger and held it up in the wind. "This way! The wizard
just have to catch up with us when he can."
There was a
confused scrambling for gear as they followed the lanky Ranger down the
hill towards the approximate South, leaving little in their wake but a
few floating pink feathers.
Journal of Meriadoc
Journal, All right, so I shouldn't have made that crack about Gandalf,
but I think I've learned my lesson. Unfortunately, Frodo tied the knot
so tight they can't get the boa loose, and Strider broke his blade
picking his teeth (apparently, a Dwarf dentist gave him mithril caps
about thirty years back) and can't cut through it, so I can't even eat.
Sam mashed the stew up really good and tried to work a straw through
the feathers so I could swallow it that way, to no avail. Boy, I wish I
had some jello instant pudding...or at least a grindstone so Strider
could sharpen his knife...
Boromir ignored the goings-on as much as
he could. His feet hurt. He hadn't walked this far in
years, and he
thought it was extremely unfair that Blackie had to be left behind in
He strode along with his long stride, and looked glumly to his left,
then to his right. No sign of a hostelry, which meant more dumb
camping out and eating something they called "weenies", half cold and
He snickered to himself. "Weenies! Yeah, they're all
weenies, if you ask me."
There was that Aragorn git, being the leader. Who elected him,
Boromir surreptitiously ran his finger down the sharp edge of his
sword. "Rats!" he cursed, after cutting himself. "Jeez,
that thing is
It was getting dark, and still no sign that they
were going to stop. He also wanted a shower and a soft bed, and
a beer, and knew that he wasn't going to get much more than a spot
under a bush with a rock digging into his back.
"Tell you what," he said to himself, "I shoulda let my little brother
do this, after all...."
Frodo plodded along with the others
sincerely wishing they would remember that not all of them had long
legs. He felt badly about Merry not being able to get the boa
tried to come up with any more ideas of how to remove it.
"Hey, I know. How about we take some of Sam's dish-soap and rub it all
over Merry's head until the boa slides off?"
The nice thing was Merry couldn't offer his opinions on it, so it had
been nice and quiet.
Asfaloth hadn't galloped like this in
ages, he was having a grand time and the only bad thing was the wizard
on his back crowding his style. He wanted to do those 'fancy steps'
Glorfindel had taught him and see if he could work them into his
gallop, or maybe a trot, but one couldn't practice stuff like that in
public and definitely not with a wizard nearby. He had resigned himself
to delivering his person to the desried spot, but looked forward to the
trip home where he could practice all he liked. He was just coming over
a rise when a breeze came up and he smelled human and dwarf - eww!
If what the wizard was saying was correct then there would be elf and
some of those little kid-type people nearby too. He didn't want to be
seen by the elf - they'd probably make him come along and carry stuff
and while Bill was nice enough, Asfaloth just couldn't see himself to
bringing himself to a weeks-long journey with that bedraggled pony. He
quickly ducked under some trees and made for cover. He chuckled
himself as he heard the grey wizard swear and unbalance as he grabbed
for the hat as it got stuck on a low branch.
been pay much attention since the horse stopped trying to stray off the
road so when is bolted for the trees he barely had time to grab his hat
from the branch before they were well into the grove. "Now what are you
doing?! We need to catch up with them and the fastest way to do
is by the road, you silly Thoroughbred, I though you understood that.
That map we picked up? It's theirs and they are probably lost without
it - and me." Despite all his attempts to get the horse headed back to
the road he couldn't. Without a bridle or bit, it was near impossible
to get the horse turned about; how the elves managed it, he had no
idea. He couldn't get down and lead the horse back because the grey
wizard knew that once off, he'd not be getting back on, but luckily the
horse was continuing southwards. Gandalf was not about to let the nag
win though and said, "Aah! Shortcut. I understand, now. You must know
the w! oods and fields here pretty well around here. If we're to get
ahead of them we'll have to get off the road or they'll see us coming.
Well then Asfaloth, take me to your shortcut get me ahead of them and
I'll be off and you can get back to your freestyle-prancing practice.
The white horse didn't answer of course, but his pace did pick up a
Legolas pondered Merry's dilemma for a
moment, stroking his non-existant beard. Then he looked up and
"I know how to get the boa off! Stand the little fellow against
tree over there... " Legolas got out his bow and began to string it.
"I will shoot it off! You know me; I never miss!"
The Elf drew back
an arrow, the sun glinting off of the razor-sharp tip.
"Now stand still, Merry ... Merry? I say; now, where did he
Aragorn rummaged in the bushes and
finally dragged a struggling pink feathery mass out from underneath the
"Wait! I have an idea," he said. He scrubbed his hands in his hair
until they were nice and slick then scrubbed them onto a horrified
looking Merry. Working the boa up and down and massaging the grease
into it, Aragorn soon lifted it free from the retching hobbit.
"See? Told you grease was handy stuff." He looked down at Merry.
"What's the matter with you? Aren't you happy it's off?
Merry twisted his jaw, first one way, and then the other, and rubbed
his bruised mandible ruefully.
"Much better, thank you, Strider. What IS that stuff called though? It
smells almost as bad as that face cream that Lady Arwen slathered on
her face twice a day..." He paled when Strider frowned and held up the
boa in a menacing fashion.
"I mean, thank you very much, and ever so grateful, and is there
anything left to eat?"
"Yes, there's some left overs....I'm afraid it's a little cold, but I'm
sure it'll still taste alright."
Sam handed over the tupperware of leftovers to Merry.
Dawn was past, the sun was just reaching
the treetops and Gandalf was tired and sore. He would he glad to end
his ride and have a good stretch. He was quite sure he and Asfaloth had
passed the company during the night. Now as the sun rose he turned his
eyes north, back along the road hoping for a sight of campfire to prove
he was right. And there it was!
"Asfaloth, I think we are well south of them and I can meet back up
with them easy enough. Asfaloth! Wake up!" Gandalf slapped the horse he
sat upon. "Come on you, wake-up! Just a little bit longer and I'll be -
er, you'll be free to head home."
The horse's ears perked up and threw he head up in response.
"Well, friend, how abouts you just take me back to the road and that's
all I'll ask of you." The horse, who was nearly as tired as the old man
on it's back wearily headed east, back to the road. When they reached
it the wizard dismounted and rummaged in one of his pockets. He
withdrew a pair of apples and two honeycakes. One honeycake he ate
himself the rest he gave to the horse. "My thanks to you and your
fleetness. Your help to this noble cause will be remembered." Asfaloth
whinnied. "May you hoof always be light and your stide easy. Fare thee
well, until you return to your home."
And with that the
horse headed out of the thicket and away from the road. And Gandalf
stretched and walked about relieving his stiffness from the long ride.
After a while the long night without sleep was catching up to him. So
rather than miss the group again he made his way to the middle of the
trail. He pulled out a few things, looked up at his surroundings and
set up and in a moment he was reclining comfortably in the middle of
the trail right where the trees would give shade as the sun rose. In a
trice he was asleep, who knew when he'd sleep again?
The night had gone by well enough, in
spite of the strange noises in the wee hours of the morning that
sounded for all the world like sme horse tearing past them at a gallop
in the dark. Very strange.
Trooping along in a vaguely southward direction, they eventually
approached what sounded like a snoring tree.
Strider was striding along, daydreaming
But my darling, how can
it be that such beauty is to be mine?
Because I found it for half-price at
the cosmetic counter, she gushed, her bright teeth glittering, her ears
What? He looked up, startled to have such resounding snores
interrupt his reverie. He held up a hand, causing the rest of the
half-dozing Fellowship to pile up behind him with a variety of
clanking, thudding and muttered oaths.
"Halt! There's something strange here. That tree seemeth to snore!
Legolas, what do your Elf-ears hear?"
Legolas removed the earpieces of his Striderman Device of Magical
Music, and said, "What?"
After listening for a moment, he pointed toward the trees ahead, where
the road bent around out of sight, and said:
"By the twiching of my tapered lobes
I hear a sleeping wizard in grey robes...."
Frodo turned to Sam. "Did you hear that? Legolas is a poet too, just
like you, Sam!" he turned back to the Elf.
"That was pretty good. Can you do tongue twisters too? Bilbo said
Elves can rhyme just about anything. And... hey, did anyone notice
something over there is snoring? Maybe we should check it out."
Strider strode a stride closer. Legolas
was right! It was a grey lump under one of the holly trees, snoring to
beat the band.
Signalling the others to be quiet, he crept up to the tree trunk and
peered around it. His eyes widened at the sight of their missing
wizard, sawing away underneath his wide-brimmed pointy hat.
Not wanting to wake him, he turned back to the others and
pantomimed a pointy hat.
Legolas watched with curiosity as
Strider raised his arms and gestured strangely toward them, then the
Elf burst out in laughter and clapped his hands.
"Oh! I love charades! Um, let's see.... you're the Pope,
No... um... Abraham Lincoln? No? Oh, poodles!
Give us a clue,
Frodo considered carefully. "I never
was very good at this game.... Um, hair gel? You want to sculpt
hair? Big hair? Afros? No....? Big ears and antlers?"
"Ooh, I know this one, I know this one!"
said Gimli, enthustically swinging his axe (which he had raised at the
strange warg-like growling coming from behind the tree) in the air
one-handed, thus almost relieving Boromir from his nose and ears.
"It's a leprechaun, isn't it?"
Aragorn flapped his arms with
frustration, drowning out a spate of guesses about pigeons and seagulls
with "IT'S GANDALF, blast it! Can't you tell a pointy hat when you see
one! For pity's sake!"
Behind him, a wizard's snoring was interrupted with a snort.
They all waited to see what the old
wizard had to say to them, waited for some explanation of why he hadn't
been with them in the first place and now was snoring under a tree out
in the boonies ahead of them. They waited, but they waited in vain.
Gandalf remained still. After a while, the snoring resumed.
Frodo went forward, knelt down and peered up under the pointy hat. The
wizard remained in his slumbers. Growing bolder, he nudged him, then
shook his shoulder lightly. No response.
The only response was a muttering of something incomprehensible, then
Frodo looked back up at the others who were now gathered around
"He won't wake up. What do we do?"
Aragorn scratched his head.
"We were told to make all possible speed, so we need to keep moving.
But we can't leave him behind... I know! Let's load him onto Bill!
Maybe after he's slept a while he'll wake up and we can figure out
which Pass we're supposed be taking. Otherwise, I suppose we can
flip a coin. Come on - give me a hand here!"
Wanderer was thus efficiently bundled in his own robes and cloak and
slung up onto the pony's back like a sack of potatoes. This done, they
"Hey there, it's me, Bill. You know,
I've been pretty quiet this whole trip, except, of course, to Sam, but
maybe I should say something. This is just going to far, I mean, sure,
make we walk behind Strider of many Smells, I can deal with that, and
ok, feed me only potatos why don't you, Peregrin? I can do that. But
carry a wizard? that's just cruel! Do you realize how heavy this guy
is? It's unbelievable!.....AND have you ever noticed how, when
something is sleeping, it seems to be heavier than when it is awake?
well of course YOU haven't..you're not a pony. We never get any
respect, we just don't get
respect! Oh well. Maybe I'll just
buck him off. yeah, you know, that sounds like a good idea....They just
plop him down on top of me without asking...maybe I'll just plop him
down without asking!....."
Bill tried rearing up on
his hind legs. Did he manage to do it? Nope. He tried again. Sucessful?
Nope. Bill tried one more time and......nope. Nothin..... The sleeping
Wizard was still on his back. Bill tried wiggling around alot. Nada.
Once more he tried reary up and....YES! Gandalf slid off of his
back......and into the mud. Where did the mud come from you ask? I
don't know. I think it might have rained when we weren't looking. Bill
snickered (as well as one could snicker when being a horse) and trotted
up to the head of the group.
"Grey wasn't a good color for him
Alerted by the distinctive sound of a
wizard plopping, something only Rangers are trained to notice, Aragorn
stopped and turned his head this way and that trying to home in on the
"I heard a wizard plopping
he said. "And we already have our wizard on the pony, so it must be another wizard!
Frodo tugged on Strider's cloak.
"Um. I think it's our
that plopped.... If the pony won't bear him, and he won't wake up what
will we do?"
They all gathered around the wizard who was snoring away in the puddle.
"Well, Sam here is pretty strong, and Gimli is too. Maybe we can take
turns carrying him?"
Merry waved his arms for attention.
"Excuse me, everyone, but in the past ten posts I have had numerous
opportunities to say something smart-alecky, and I haven't! Is no one
going to congratulate me for my restraint? Is a sleeping wizard really
more noteworthy than that? I mean, I'm a Brandybuck, after all, and at
home I get noticed and listened to, and here I get treated like a-"
He squeeped and hid behind the sleeping wizard when Frodo held up the
tattered remains of the boa.
Sam, who did not like the idea of carrying a wizard twice the size of
him spoke up.
"Why don't we try waking him up again? We didn't exactly try
everything, and I think we can spare a little time to try something
else..." ("....anything!" he added under his breath)
Gandalf yawned.... Stretched... and stretched again.
"Good grief! Can't a body have decent rest in peace?" Yawn. "What is
all the noise about? ugh! And why AM I in a puddle?!" The gray wizard
glared at the laughing company standing about him. "You just watch it
you young whipper-snappers!" he growled at the men, hobbits, elf, and
Now he turned his scowl on the laughing pony, an itty bity
nag of a beast compared to the gloriously smooth paced horse he'd spent
riding the previous day. He'd seen the prints near the mud puddle and
realized that the beast had been the last thing near the puddle beside
himself, he must have done something when Gandalf wasn't looking. He'd
be keeping a close eye on that one he would.
"I am a wizard
of The White Council and not to be triffled with!" The wizard, with
great dignity raised his soiled robes and strode from the mud.
"Well? he said when he realized the Fellowship wasn't following him.
"Aren't you coming? We don't have all day you know and Mordor won't get
any closer with you just standing there."
He turned south
again and began mumbling to himself.... no respect in youngsters today.
What do they think, leaving me behind then trying to drown me in a
puddle, as I'm trying to just get a little rest before this long march
and after my riding all night just to reach them, making sure they
don't get lost later on... He continued to amble down the road
muttering about the ending of a era as the others slowly, still
laughing quietly, followed behind.