Aragorn Longshanks and the Case of the Missing Plot

by Laiquendi


2.

The trip across town was fairly quick at this time of the morning; the few people they did encounter were huddled in doorways and alleys unsuccessfully making sure they weren’t seen. To the detriment of Aragorn’s health, Hillside Rise was in the south of the city, halfway up the tall hills that populated the southern boundary. A clean and respectable part of town, the south was populated by the rich merchants, nobles and others with more money than sense. It was also too expensive to hire a horse.
Panting and groaning from the stitch in his side, Aragorn mumbled as Shingles ran unhindered ahead of him to the large house at the end of the road. Why did these people have to live the furthest possible distance from everything else? As he grunted along the road to the front door, he also thought of a few choice words to say to Elrond the next time he lost something important.

Bent nearly doubled to try and catch his breath, Aragorn rested against the doorframe trying to compose himself. No hills, ever. That was his new motto, unless going downhill with a full pack of cool drinks.

Shingles bounced up and down as he rang the doorbell excitedly. “This place is so down!” He said with uncontrollable glee. “pom-pom socks my crib!”

Aragorn had lost the will to understand the nonsense babbling as the front door opened with a creak that sounded like his back after a long uphill climb.

Standing resplendent in the doorway was a beautiful young lady, seductively attired in a deep red dress that accentuated her curves so much that he thought the hill had gain another 2 feet.

“Gentlemen?” She said with a soft voice, her long blonde hair curling around her head like a golden crown. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Shingles, err.. that’s me!” Shingles said with a dumbstruck smile plastered across his face. “And this is, ummm… err, Eragon. Shawshanks. Errr… Longsnake, wait…”

“Aragorn Longshanks, ma’am.” Aragorn said between clenched teeth. No. Hills. Ever. “We are here to see the Baron.”

“Come in, come in.” The radiant young lady said, beckoning them inside the house with a sway of her elegant arm. “You are in luck, for the Baron returned only last night from important matters in the north.”

Shingles bound through the door with that smile still stuck to his ridiculous face, never taking his eyes of the hostess in case he accidentally missed her doing something mundane.

Aragorn followed shortly after, having finally regained a semblance of composure, which had absolutely nothing to do with the appearance of the seductively attired young woman. Ahmm. As he stepped inside, he marvelled at the lavishly decorated interior, with gold and silver horse motifs dancing along the walls.

“If you shall follow me, gentlemen, the Baron is in his study.” The young lady said with a mischievous smile and a wink as she led the way further into the glittering house. Someone had spent far too much time watching home make-over shows for Aragorn’s liking. Shingles bouncing along after her like a lapdog as he attempted to dazzle her with his strange streetwise lingo. In Aragorn’s opinion Shingles had no chance, since from the first moment she’d seen Aragorn, she was obviously infatuated with him. He could read women like a book.

The short walk through the house behind her swaying red dress finished at a large doorway that she dutifully opened for them. Seated at a large desk in the middle of the room was an older man in a white fluffy dressing gown adorned with rabbits, slowly pushing around piles of money.

“One hundred and fifty-eight, one hundred and fifty-nine… Hmmm...” He murmured, looking up from his accumulated wealth. “Is that you, Éowyn?”

“Yes uncle.” She replied curtly with a bow that left her chest just a little too exposed. “And you have guests – Sir Shingles of the Crib and his manservant Aragorn Longshanks.”

Aragorn barely contained his shock at the introductions, but was suddenly struck by a desire to see what Shingles would look like face down in a pile of horse manure.
“What is it!” Théoden grumbled loudly. “I’m very busy today and have not got time for your charity! If this is about that incident with the banana, then I have already paid the fine and won’t apologise further!”

“My Lord Baron…” Aragorn began, trying to sway the conversation in some sort of decent direction.

“Have you been stealing sum important midget dude’s stuff?” Shingles suddenly blurted out, deciding that tact was just a word in the dictionary that no-one knew how to spell properly. “Coz if you have, then you’d better give it us back!”

That pile of horse manure was looking even better right about now. Théoden quickly exploded into a tirade of words that no honest merchant should have known about, including some that no dishonest merchant should know either.

Feeling that they may have overstayed their welcome somehow, Aragorn intercepted Shingles by the scruff of his neck and quickly yanked him out of the path of the belligerent banker. Offering profuse apologies about the “Lord” and his bouts of alcoholic delusions, coupled with the lack of mental healthcare in the region and the magical pixie dust, Aragorn dragged Shingles out of the study making sure to ‘accidently’ bump into every hard surface on the way.

“Well you’ve done it now, Shingles.” Aragorn bemoaned with just a little too much enjoyment. “Next time, keep that big mouth of yours shut!!”

“What? What I say?” Shingles kept arguing in-between various yelps of pain as he struck another piece of furniture.

As they rapidly exited the expensive house, a sharp “Wait” from behind caused Aragorn to turn round as Éowyn came rushing up towards them, her remarkable assets obviously not safely secured. Dropping Shingles hard on the stone pathway outside the house, Aragorn stopped and waited for the bouncy lady to catch up to them.
“I may know some information.” She said slowly, her heavy breathing from the running making her voice sound huskier. “But I have one condition.”

Women and conditions did not go well together, in Aragorn’s opinion. They always had to have the upper hand, and usually that meant that the man ended up worse off then before.

Reluctantly, he decided that they had no other leads to go on; and besides, if anyone was going to come off worse, then it was going to be Shingles. He was going to make sure of it.

“What is your condition?” He finally asked, trying to contain his growing sense of anxiety.

“I want to come with you.” She said. “Live free in the wind, catch the excitement and thrill of the hunt, the exhilaration of the kill! Life with Uncle is fine if your only aspiration in life is to cook, clean and serve – but I want more! I want to see the world! My brother escaped to the army, chasing his dream of horses, leather and burly men. Where’s my dream?! What chance does a girl like me have? Take me with you! Take me away! Lift me up where I belong!”

“Ahah,” Aragorn said wondering what on earth she was talking about. Although he really didn’t have much choice if he was to get the information out of her. Women were indeed a tricky folk, made even worse by the fact that they knew it.

“OK then, you’re in.” He said a sigh; she might balance out the idiocy that he was lumbered with in the shape of Shingles. Well, hopefully, it couldn’t get much worse, could it?

She clapped excitedly and gave off a small squeal, then fiddling around inside her well-filled bra, Éowyn dexterously removed a slip of folded paper and handed it to Aragorn with a wink.

“His name is Gríma ‘Wormtongue’ Lapsang-Souchong, a slimy thief whose hands are far too friendly for my liking.” She said with a shiver. “He lives on the thirteenth floor of Orthanc Towers, Isengard district. He met with Uncle the day before he went up North, shut away inside for hours talking. I’d bet real money that he was involved in your villainous plot.”

Aragorn examined the piece of paper which detailed everything she’d just said. If only he’d got the piece of paper first!

“Come on Shingles, we’re off again…” At least this time it was downhill.




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