Aragorn Longshanks and the Case of the Missing Plot
Between the light and the dark there is…
moonlight. And illuminated by that moonlight is… a building. And inside
that building there is… a man. And that man is up to… no good. For that
man is… a hardened evil-doing criminal. And the only person that can
solve crime is me… Aragorn Longshanks! Four years ago I was mortally
wounded in a horse-accident, rescued by a mysterious government group
dedicated to solving bizarre and obtuse crimes. For £6.50, I was
rebuilt by shoddy Elven blacksmiths, and with my trusty streetwise
sidekick, Faramir “Shingles” McCracken, was sent out into the moonlight
to catch those criminals. I am Aragorn Longshanks, and this is my
Aragorn Longshanks and the Case of the Missing Plot
The flickering torchlight barely illuminated the darkened street as
the horse and carts rumbled loudly down the hill, quickly accompanied
by a shout and the sound of a Hobbit rolling down the hill after the
horse. This is the seedy underbelly of Middle-Earth, a rotten hole of
debauchery and crime known throughout the land as the Worst Place in
the World to Live 3288-89, as voted for by readers of My Elven Paradise
magazine. Narrowly outvoting Mordor following a printing error on the
return slip. This is the great city of Merdor, situated on the banks on
the River Slime, at the crossroads of the Great North Road that
strangely only heads south.
After having received an encoded message from my handler, Elrond
Elfington-Smyth, Shingles and I braved the Great West Road to meet him
here in this cesspit of a cucumber. The message said we were to
rendezvous for some je ne sais quoi at après-midi inside the Four
Horsemen of the Apocalypse public house on Rue-de-Criminalité.
It was half-past 18 o’clock in the morning and no sign of him yet,
I had sent Shingles outside to pump the locals for info, leaving me to
sit in the back of the bar and look suspicious. Everyone leaves you
alone in a place like this, or maybe it was because of the strange
smell coming from the Orc in the booth next to me. You would think
no-one washed before having a clandestine back-room meeting in a pub
that’s full of other smelly people.
Suddenly the front doors swung open and disturbed my worrying
musings on bathing as Shingles rushed in, his mop of curly locks making
him look like a girl who had escaped from a ponytail contest with a
‘try better next time’ award. As I muttered to myself, the doors swung
open once again as if they could not move in any other fashion and a
tall man in a dark cloak followed the sauntering schoolgirl to my
“Tis the Elro, bro!” Shingles garbled at me, struggling to
overcome his typecasting. He moseyed to the chair next to me and
deposited himself down in a strangely uncomfortable position whilst
ogling the scantily-dressed barmaids that floated amongst the tables.
Elrond floated mysteriously to our table and perched himself on a
stool opposite me as if it were a commonplace happening. Gathering the
hood of his cloak so that it almost entirely covered his face in a
baffling manner, the mild-manner man intoned, “Mr. Longshanks, I see
you got my message.”
I took a sip of my cold, generic-brand barley and hops concoction,
for I knew this could take a while since the man was incapable of
coming to the point within 45 minutes. It was considered record time
within the Elvish community, for they are a bland and serious bunch of
people, even if they do make great apple pie.
“Four days ago, a grand reception was held in the Great Hall of
Imladris to receive the venerable ambassador from the people of Erebor.
As part of the on-going Elvo-Dwarven mineral extraction treaty
negotiations, the Ambassador of Erebor was to present the Elven peoples
with a gift of great importance and magnificence.” The monotonous
intonation of Elrond’s voice was grave and solemn, adding unneeded
ambience and gravity to the situation.
“Wow, that’s some deep stuff, man.” Shingles added, in his own particular way.
“Yes, indeed. Very deep stuff.” Elrond said sympathetically. “The
presentation of the Ambassador’s gift is to be undertaken 3 days from
now, at the conclusion of the treaty negotiations. However….”
“There’s always a ‘however’.” Aragorn muttered to himself as he
took another sip of his beverage, thinking that maybe he should have
gone for the better life insurance option this time round.
“However, “ Elrond continued. “Last night during a banquet held in
the Ambassador’s honour, there was a break in. The Ambassador’s gift
“No way!” Shingles shouted, his little brain caught up in the
story as if it were a dramatic retelling of the Lord of the Rings in
some kind of moving picture format.
“As head of security for the event, it is my job to find the
Ambassador’s gift and return it to him before the end of the treaty
negotiations.” The tone in Elrond’s voice had grown deeper and slower
with each passing word.
Aragorn groaned as he realised what was coming next. He really
should have taken that walking holiday in Mirkwood with the spiders.
“I am tasking you, Aragorn Longshanks, to find that lost gift and
return it in 3 days time. Only you have the skills and prowess
necessary to uncover this dastardly crime and rescue the honour of the
“No pressure, then?” Aragorn sighed and downed the rest of his
drink in a large gulp. The foul taste of the concoction lingered in his
mouth, making him wonder if this place was indeed as sanitary as the
two shoddy Michelin stars hammered to the rotten ceiling beam implied.
“Are you having any brain ideas, like, on who may have pilfered
the bling, bro?” Shingles asked, surprising Aragorn that he actually
asked a pertinent question, let alone could form coherent thoughts.
“Unfortunately, my agents failed to uncover any evidence of the
thief. However, after going back through the CCSV (Closed Circuit
Sketch Vision) footage we may have unearthed a possible collaborator…”
Elrond said as he pulled out a large sketchpad from underneath his
cloak. He arranged the pad in front of Aragorn and pulled the pages
together in a bundle then quickly flicked through them.
“Wow!” Shingles exclaimed loudly. “The pictures! The pictures! They’re, they’re moving! Those Elves sure can draw fast!”
Aragorn shot his companion a bewildered look and rolled his eyes.
Sometimes ignorance was bliss, the rest of the time it was a convenient
plot point. Turning his attention back to the rapidly-moving sketchpad,
Aragorn noted that a robust man in extravagantly designed robes was
making a hasty exit from the banquet.
“As you can see from the time stamp – the man here is leaving the
banquet two minutes before the theft.” Elrond said, his fingers
starting to cramp from all the page flicking.
“Do you have any ideas about who he is?” Aragorn asked as he
expertly swiped one of the pages from the pad so that he could get a
better view at the gentleman in question. Elrond moaned something about
‘damaging evidence’ and put the pad back inside his voluminous cloak.
“We believe he is Baron Théoden Longenstoffen, a merchant with
suspected ties to some of the shadier parts of the city. A cunning man
who will do anything if it greases the right palms.” Elrond replied
with a hint of disgust, quickly sidestepping the question about why he
was invited to the banquet in the first place.
Studying the slightly blurred sketch of the man from the Elven
footage, Aragorn tried to take a swig from his drink before realising
he’d already finished it off. Looking forlornly at the bottom of his
tankard, Aragorn realised that he was going to have to pump this man
for information. He looked like a middle-man, which meant that he must
have been hired by someone, or something for some nefarious gains.
Those types of people squealed easily.
“Where can we find the Baron?” Aragorn finally asked with a sigh.
“He arrived back in the city last night. Our sources have his local
address as The Golden Hall, at the top of Hillside Rise.” Elrond rose
from his stool and pulled the folds of his cloak around himself.
“Aragorn, and Shingles, we need to get back this gift, for the sake of
Elvo-Dwarven relations. Find out who stole it and retrieve it within
the next three days!”
With that last command, Elrond floated out of the pub, accidently
nudging a waitress and getting covered with three tankards of beer from
her tray. As he began moaning something about ‘right-of-way’ and the
expensive costs of dry-cleaning, Aragorn grabbed Shingles by the arm
and quickly sneaked out the backdoor as a shouting match began.
“We’re we off ta now guv’na?” Shingles asked as they moved through
the dark alleyways behind the back of the pub. The dim lighting making
it difficult to avoid bumping into each other, or anything else
discarded in the alley as they tried to clamber back to the main
streets of the city.
“To harass the nobility…” Aragorn said, jumping over a dark puddle
in the alley, even though he was sure that it hadn’t rained in days.