The Lord of the... whatever, Book II, Chapter 1:

Many Margaritas


     Frodo woke with a splitting headache which was made worse when he realized
that nothing that painful could be a dream.
     "Where am I - and why is everything so loud,"  he said before changing
to a whisper.  Oh, this was a bad one alright.
     "You are in the Last Homely House  or the first  or maybe neither, as
many homely houses have been built before and after this one. Suffice it to say
that it is the house of El Rond and he's been hard at work up until last night
trying to save your silly mortal hide."
     The voice was that of Gandalf's and Frodo never imagined any voice could
be as loud as what he was hearing right now.  "Could you show some respect and
keep it down.  Please.  People are busy dying here."
     "Oh its not that bad, you could be dead already."  Gandalf had turned away
from the sideboard he had been standing at and was approaching Frodo with a
fluted glass with a green concotion in it.  "Here.  Drink this, it will help
you get over the hang..., I mean, headache that you have.  It has been close
these past four days and we had to keep you well sedated while we forced the
blood toward your brain again.  Nasty work that was.  We didn't finish until
last night.  Oh, by the way, don't worry, some women find scars sexy."
     I don't know which, Gandalf thought to himself, but I'm sure there must be
at least one somewhere.
     "Four days!" cried Frodo.  "You mean I haven't eaten in four days?!?! 
Get something in here right now!  And make sure there are plenty of mushrooms!"
     "Well, at least you seem to have your spirit back.  Although you seem to
forget that you're on the lam and are owing your well being to others.  Some
gratitude first... and finish that drink."
     The wizard smile inwardly.  That Frodo's aggresiveness had not been
permanently harmed by all he had been through was good, but still, keeping the
hobbit pliable with these elvish concoctions would still be necessary to
guarantee that he continued to bankroll this quest more or less willingly, at
least until there were no magistrates around who could decide in his favour.
     A knock came on the door, and then it opened.  A beautiful elven maid came
in carrying a large tray of food.  The maiden set the tray before Frodo, and
handed him a second glass of the amazingly good, if salty, green drink that
Gandalf had given him earlier.  "I'm Margarita. Here, El Rond and Gandalf say
this will help you to recover from your trauma.  And if there is anything else
you need we will surely try to provide it for you."
     Frodo smiled at this and thought that this was exactly what the ring was
meant for. His thought flashed to the golden object.  "The ..."
     "...Ring?" said Gandalf, showing that he knew the hobbit all too well. 
"It is safe around your neck, on a new chain.  But don't try using it or El
Rond will make sure that something else is around your neck soon enough.  It is
much too dangerous to use now that you have started to unwittingly tap into some
of the power of the white gold."
     Frodo frowned as his face turned red.  He turned his thoughts to the tray
that had caused the girl to come in.  Half of it was filled with mushroom
delicacies and the other half was filled with palette cleansing side dishes to
have between the various preparations of the fungi.  He dove in, stuffing
himself as only a starved hobbit could and looked up at the wizard. 
"SaauummGH?"
     "Sam?  Oh, yes.  Sam and the others are alright.  In fact they have all
been enjoying your portions at the table while you've been out of it.  Once you
fainted they were quite safe from your advances and had no trouble getting here.  
Have another dose of your, um... medication."
     Gandalf refilled Frodo's glass.  Frodo had to admit it was the best
prescription he had ever tasted.  His headache was rapidly diappearing but he
was getting a little light-headedness in return.
     "Time for you to rest again.  Tomorrow, maybe, you should be able to walk
about a bit.  But for now bedrest is the thing.  Unfortunately Elvish surgical
practices aren't what they used to be."  The wizard left Frodo with enough
curiousity to kill ten cats.  He looked under the sheets.  He was only able to
count four scars before passing out.

     Sam came in the next morning and drew the curtains wide.
     "Close them!!!"  cried Frodo, as a searing pain came across his eyes.
     Sam didn't listen.  "Some fresh air and light will do you good, master. 
Here, Gandalf said you still might be suffering from some pain beacause of
your wound.  This stuff seems to do wonders."  Sam handed Frodo a glass of the
green liquid.  "If you want, sir, we might be able to find some fresh fruit for
that to make it more palatable."
     "Yes," replied Frodo.  "that would be good.  Next time.  It does seem to
help the pain though."
     "Indeed it does, sir.  In fact, many of the elves like to have a dose or
two at the end of a day's work, but what work it is they do I couldn't tell you,
sir.  They seem to have perfected the art of taking it easy, if you know what I
mean."
     Frodo saw an elven maid pass by the open door.  "I know exactly what you
mean, Sam.  I'd like to learn that art from them myself."
     "Do you feel up for a stroll, sir?  Everyone has been quite excited since
you came out of the shed that El Rond and Gandalf took you when you got here. 
It was a long time they spent workin' on you and there were at least two
barrels of this here green stuff that went in there.  Annie-stay-tick they
called it but most people seem to call it margarita."
     "That's what the girl who brought me my supper yesterday said her name
was," said Frodo.
     "Anniestaytick?"  Sam put his knuckle in his eye, trying to make some sense
of things.
     "No, you ninny-hammer!  Margarita."
     "Oh.....  Well, they do seem to like the stuff, so I'm not suprised
they've named some of the younger ones after it.  That's meaning younger to
them, I mean, seeing as most of the lassies around here are at least a couple
thousand years old."
     Frodo had another vision af the elf from the day before and his stomach
turned slightly.  He took another sip of his drink.  Yes, that's better, he
thought.

     After Frodo had risen and gotten dressed in the fresh clothes that had
been provided for him, he and Sam started out to explore the house of El Rond. 
Many halls it had as Bilbo had recounted over and over again when anyone gave
him the opportunity.  Halls for eating, halls for thinking, halls for reading
quietly and even halls for.....  "Oh, YES," thought Frodo, "I'll have to visit
that hall," but just then he heard a scream of "Midget pig!" and Morrie and
Pipsqueak were flying out with the closing door barely missing them as they
passed through.
     "Hi there, Frodo!" said Morrie.  Pipsqueak only grinned and he wiped his
mouth with his forearm.  Morrie elbowed him in the side.
     "Yes.  Hi there, Frodo.  Glad to have you back.  We were having such an
awful time worrying about you."
     Frodo just glared at the two and they shut up quickly, although Morrie
did not like being talked to like that on any occasion.
     "Why don't we take Frodo over to the Hall of the Fire," said Pipsqeak,
breaking the silence.
     "That sounds like a splendid idea," agreed Sam and the two were off down
the hall.  Frodo and Morrie gave a final glare at each other, smiled, and
followed.

     The hall they entered was as large as the largest hobbit banquet halls, 
which can be very large when you think of all the relatives and friends that 
hobbits feel obligated to invite because of social niceties. Bilbo's had been 
so large a party that it had to be moved outdoors, with the party quonset 
being constructed to entertain the more favoured guests while keeping away the 
less desirable yet obligatory invitees.  In the middle of the hall, but toward 
the far end from where the four had entered, was a large circular fire, free-
standing with the flue just above it.  It was about twenty feet in diameter 
and a fire raged within it, keeping even those at the other end of
the room warm.
     An elven waitress came over to offer Frodo and his friends some
margaritas.  Each of them gratefully took one, Frodo going so far as to take
a second as well.  "These headaches, y'know.  This seems to be the best thing
for them."  The others nodded while smiling knowingly each to the other two.
     To the right was a bent old dwarf, who motioned for Frodo to come closer.
     "It is a pleasure to meet the heir to Bilbo," said the dwarf.  "I already
see signs that his cunning and guile, which used to save his own skin, has been
passed on to you.  Having made the journey you did shows that both his luck
and skill were passed on to his, uh, nephew."
     "Am I correct in presuming that I am talking to one of Bilbo's companions
from his oft told journey?"
     "That you are, Mr. Baggins."  Here the dwarf bowed low as he intoned
"Gloin, at your service."  Gloin held his bow for a moment, until Frodo
directed Sam to help unbend him.
     "Ah, Bilbo," said Frodo wistfully.  "He did have a habit of going on, but
still..."
     "You miss him dearly, do you not, Frodo?" asked Gloin.
     "Yes, I do.  Sometimes I wonder where he is and if he still has that
chain."
     Out of the corner of his eye Frodo noticed El Rond entering the hall. 
Rather than coming over to Frodo's group, he strode quickly to the opposite end
of the hall where he greeted the most beautiful Elven woman that Frodo had
ever seen, and he had been keeping his eyes open so as not to miss one since he
had awakened.  In fact, he was distracted for a moment as a waitress came up to
offer more margaritas to the party, which they all gladly accepted, Frodo
saying "here, (hic) why don't I take two so you don't feel rushed to get back."
     Before she turned away, Frodo grabbed the waitress's arm.  "Who is that to
whom El Rond is speaking?" he asked.
     "That is the Daughter of the Master of this house.  Arwen, daughter of
Celebrian who has gone to the halls of Mandos."
     And so Frodo set eyes once more on the beauty which few mortals had yet
seen, the vision of which had so recently given a temporary cure to his malady
and his first access to the awsome full power of the Ring: Arwen, who by the
elves was called Indomitable, the Morningstar of her people, for with that
heavy piece of weaponry as well as other small handheld throwing weapons she
was as proficient as all but the greatest of the Rangers of the North.  He had
not recognized her in her black leather regalia, which she found useful both in
battle and in other places where persuasive tactics might be enjoyed.  Indeed,
as Frodo looked more closely, he could see that what he had first taken to be
baubles and jewlrey were indeed many stars and knives placed within easy reach
of her hands, and El Rond, who loved her dearly, still kept a space between
them as they hugged in greeting so as not to be pricked by a well sharpened
blade injudiciously placed.  Her brothers, Al Ladan and Al Rokar, who had long
since stopped worrying about their sister's safety, were off hunting down traces
of those who had pursued Frodo and his companions.
     Frodo thought to himself that it did not matter if she was older than
dirt, she was still the best looking woman - Elf, Mortal or Hobbit - he had ever
seen, and if ever he got the chance...  But his reverie was broken and his
attention turned away as a voice came out of the fire.

          There once was a man named Elysium
          Who ran a smuggling consortium
          	To the Undying Lands
          	He led all his hands
          In the hopes of scoring some opium.

          Many a battle was fought
          Over jewels some elf had wrought
          	The poppies had withered
          	while the elvish folk dithered
          Over lessons the Valar had taught.

          To them did Elysium sail
          Through many a monstrous gail
          	A Silmaril in hand
          	He thought to demand
          All the poppies Aman had for sale.

          El Wing, his wife, came along
          For she looked mighty good in a thong
          	If the jewels held no interest
          	Opinies this satirist
          With his wife he couldn't go wrong.

          The Valar, their interest did pique
          When the light of the jewel it did leak
          	Eonwe did say
          	As they stood at the quay
          "The Powers to you they would speak."

          To the high point they both did walk
          For Elysium wanted to talk
          	A jewel he would sell
          	for the chance for to smell
          Of poppies, but the Valar did balk.

          "Nay," said their spokesman, Gal-Dós
          "For the fate of the world you would toss
          	Away for a pittance.
          	Your incompittence
          Has worked out to your own loss."

          At this did Elysium quake
          For the jewel he thought they would take
          	And he without tuppence
          	Would get his come-uppence
          Of a jones he ne'er could slake.

          "In Middle-earth now you are done
          We now send you forth with one
          	Of the Silmarili
          	In the sky for to fly
          Until the Last Battle's begun.

          "To your sons we will give this choice
          For each of them you will rejoice
          	To choose Man or Elf
          	To live both himself
          and his children, for they have no voice."

          Mannish strain Earohed chose
          And why?  Nobody knows.
          	El Rond, he still lives
          	while his brother, he gives
          His flesh over to decompose.

          Elysium stands on his deck
          With an Silmaril hung 'round his neck
          	With his wife by his side
          	In the sky he does ride
          keeping darkness forever in check.


Now the voice was recognizable, it was Bilbo's and a smile came across Frodo's
face as the old hobbit who was being dragged around the hearth by two of El
Rond's Balliffs.
     "Hullo, Frodo, my lad," Bilbo said.  "I hear you had a bit of trouble 
getting here."  Frodo gave the tottering old hobbit an embrace and then drew up 
a chair for him.
     They were joined by El Rond and Gandalf as well, for Frodo had missed him
entering as the poetry was being recited.  "A bit cheeky of you to be writing
poems about your host's parents, do you think, Bilbo?"  said Gandalf.
     Bilbo shrugged him off and continued. "Do you still have it?  The ring that 
is.  I must say there are many reasons to use it around here and at my age I 
could use all the help I can get."
     Gandalf, seeing a frown coming across El Rond's face, interjected.  "Your 
time of posessing the ring has past, Bilbo.  It is time for others to carry the
burden, but maybe not for too much longer."  He handed Frodo another drink.
     "But of course.  Master El Rond, you must know that I was only jesting."
     El Rond was about to reply when Frodo downed his drink in one gulp.  He
looked fine and then his eyes became wide and he started to lose his balance.
     "Frodo, Can you here me?" asked Gandalf.
     "Yesshh," replied the sodden hobbit.  "Boy-o-boy, when these things
finally hit they hit hard, don't they Gandy-poo?"
     "I can help you through this Frodo my friend, but you'll have to do what I
say and it may take a while. OK?"
     "I'll do anything you say, Gand-meister."
     To El Rond and the others Gandalf spoke softly.  "We're halfway there. 
With him loaded like this we're sure to get the rest of his accounts from him."
In a louder voice Gandalf spoke to the general gathering of people.  "All right,
everyone, he's primed.  It's time to have our Council."  There was a muted
cheer as Morrie, Pipsqueak and Sam, carrying Frodo between them, followed after
Gandalf and El Rond to the Meeting Hall.  Bilbo tottered slowly after them.

Book I, Chapter Twelve / Table of Contents / Book II, Chapter Two
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This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of PaulB <PBachJson-aaaaaaat-aol-dawt-com>. Copyright © 2000 by the author. All rights reserved. Some variance between this e-text and the original printed material by Professor Tolkien is inevitable. Using this as an electronic resource for scholarly or research purposes may lead to a certain degree of academic embarassment. All agree that the printed version of the text, available from respectable publishers such as Houghton Mifflin and Ballantine Books, is to be preferred. Please remember that drinking and dominating don't mix. If you drink, have a designated Ring-bearer who remains sober at all times.