Hollin, January 3019
We’ve stopped for a day or so to catch our breath, so I thought I’d take a moment to drop a note.
We’ve been busting a move since we left Rivendell in December. We’re doing this journey on foot; I’m not sure if its because we’re less apt to be spotted this way, or if its because more than 50% of us are too short to ride a horse more than a quarter of a league without falling off. Either way, it’s rough on the old boots. Glad I packed my Nike Airs for the flatlands.
Spirits are generally good. To keep the little ones entertained, Gandalf has been drawing on his store of knock-knock jokes. Some of them are pretty bad, too, but Pippin in particular seems to enjoy them. And they’re older than the hills, too. Remember this one?
‘Dwayne the tub, I’m dwowning!”
Didn’t that used to be on your Sippy cup when you were but a wee bairn? Anyway, in defense, Aragorn and I have been swapping limericks, and boy, does he have a twisted sense of humor. I’m actually beginning to like him, Far. I’ve enclosed a few of the nastier ones in our private childhood code, so you can have a laugh out in the woods when you need one.
Legolas and Gimli haven’t been too bad. A few cracks here and there regarding hygiene and fashion, but nothing a nasty look from the wizard can’t stop. I think we’ve all decided that since we’re stuck with each other, we’d better try and get along. Sam mostly stays back with Bill the Pony (that is his official title, by the way) and Frodo wanders along behind Gandalf, off in his own little world. I’ve tried to talk to him a few times, but he takes his ringbearer status very seriously and it’s hard to draw him out. We did get into a rather spirited discussion regarding the final bocchi ball tournament and the dwarve’s surprise victory over the elves; turns out Frodo bet a good amount on the underdog dwarves to win, and so he walked away with quite the jackpot. He’s kept it quiet, but he did loan me some bucks, so don’t worry about asking Dad for it. I’m sure you don’t want to sit through the lecture on responsible financial management yet again. Talk about old chestnuts. I think he took that book Beregond gave him, “Rich Dad-Poor Dad” a little too much to heart. You can’t take it with you, right?
One kind of weird thing happened yesterday. We’d stopped atop a ridge of stones that had a wide, flat sandy surface, so we decided to hang for a bit up there, get our bearings, etc. The hobbits immediately dove for the food supplies, and soon Sam had a snappy little campfire going, and was cooking up some sausages, tomatoes, onions…he’s an excellent cook, has a way with spices. Apparently, he had his own cooking show back in Holetown, and was quite a local celebrity. He didn’t get a big head about it or anything, he remembered the little people. Little people. Get it? Hobbits? Hahahahahahaa!
Man, I crack myself up.
OK, back to the story. After we ate, I thought it might be a good idea to start giving the hobbits some sword-fighting tips. As they tell it, they never had to wield anything more dangerous than a fishing pole at home, so they welcomed the training (unlike a certain little brother I could name). I showed them some feints, some upper cuts, you know, basic stuff. Aragorn was having a smoke on the rocks and tossed out some advice now and then. (Interested to see if he can fight worth beans; he’s pretty well armed, but that could all be a show) The little guys were doing pretty well, actually, until I accidentally smacked Pippin with the flat of my haft. I apologized profusely but he kicked me, then both he and Merry pig piled me, screaming “For the Shire!” Must be a local croquet team or something. Then they started tickling me, and I lost it. You know how ticklish I am. Seeing me helpless with laughter, Aragorn came over and tried to pull them off me, but they got him on the back of the thigh and flipped him backwards. They’re heavier than they look, let me tell you. Little devils.
Gimli was trying to persuade Gandalf to take a pass through the Mines of Moria; apparently he has family there. Gandalf didn’t seem too thrilled with the idea, but Gimli’s persistent. Legolas kept cocking his head and looking around, like he was hearing something. At first I thought the reception for his WalkElf earphones was just off, but then I realized something was up. He hopped up on the highest ridge and strained his eyes westward, then yelled “Crebain from Dunland!” To me they just looked like crows, but what do I know. We all made for under the ledges while they circled over head. Gandalf was very irate when they had gone; said they were spies of Saruman, and why couldn’t he just use binoculars like everyone else, the big show-off. The worst part is that now he won’t go near the passage South, but is planning on making us go over Carahadras!
Yeah, the same place we went skiing a few years ago – remember the digger I took on Wizard’s Walk? Man, that was rough. I still have the chafe marks. Legolas is the only one who isn’t bothered by this decision – turns out he brought his snowboard and has already challenged Gimli to a snow-surfing contest. Bets are being placed as I write this.
So it’s off to the mountain we go. Guess the boots will be staying on-thank Eru I water-proofed ‘em before I left. I’m going to have to do a quick load of wash before we leave as well, so I have clean socks-I have a feeling I’ll go through several pairs on this section of our trip.
Will write more on our next stop. Tell Dad I’m doing fine and remember, not a word about Isildur’s heir and the whole king thing. It’s not a done deal yet.
Your loving Brother