The Lord of the... whatever, Book II, Chapter 10:
The Berating Of The Fellowship
Aragon, after ordering Sam to hide their boats in the brush
alongside the river, and also mentioning that building a small trailer
for each of the boats would greatly increase their resale value, led the
party a short distance inland. Near the feet of Momen Hen they found a
small glade of green grass among the bushes, with a picnic table carved
with countless initials and an overthrown bucket of trash thoughtfully
marked ISILDUR SAYS PLEASE DO NOT LITTER!
"Here we will rest for now," Aragon said with undue solemnity.
"Though it worries me to see that the trash collections are off. Saddened
I am to see Momen Llaw and Momen Hen in disrepair! Once, long ago, they
were well-known, and income-producing."
"Not exciting enough in these modern times," Boromir said simply.
The others filed in and lay down upon the green, and so relaxed and
chatted idly about the weather while Sam made their camp, muttering quiet
epithets to himself. After a time Frodo stepped aside and talked to
Aragon. "Is this place safe?" he asked. "I feel a certain foreboding.
Though it might just be that Sam's grumblings about the idle rich being
put to slow death on a roasting spit are beginning to annoy me."
"I do not know," Aragon replied. "Though a shadow has been on my
heart, and a rock in my boot, ever since we arrived. A watch we will set
tonight. Tell Sam to take care of it."
"Er, well, I'm not sure that would make me sleep much better," Frodo
replied. Sam was sitting off to one side by his cook-pots, sharpening a
huge carving-knife and looking at him threateningly. Frodo put a hand
over his throat and tried to imagine sleeping with Sam as his guard.
"Mmmmmmaybe Sam should, er, have the night off, or we can inject him with
tranquilizers or something."
"Okay, you'll keep the watch instead," Aragon replied abruptly.
Frodo blinked, and before he could answer the tall Ranger stood and
walked over to Arwen, who said something under her breath about Frodo and
laughed. Pipsqueak sat off to one side, asking of Morrie yet again who it
was who had pushed him into the well in Moira; and Morrie gave another of
his wide, honest, innocent gestures of ignorance. Giggly and Lego-lass
stood several feet away arguing heatedly, at first about long-held Elvish
and Dwarvish grudges, then about the differences between the sexes, and
eventually about the virtues of single parenting. Their voices rose to a
fierce crescendo, and they leaned in so closely to shout at one another
that almost Frodo thought they were going to stop suddenly and kiss.
Boromir, in contrast, sat silently at the picnic-table, idly carving
the initials B into the tabletop with his sword, his unseeing eyes
focused on some bitter deep internal turmoil. Eventually the initials
were carved completely through the table; and Boromir continued,
inexorably, carving his way onwards into the ground. Frodo refused to
look in Sam's direction, though he could feel Sam's eyes boring into his
back like twin steel drill-augers, and heard the quiet mutterings behind
him grow gradually more menacing as Sam's dialect grew ever more
threatening and impenetrable.
"Keep the watch!" he said quietly to himself. "Were I surrounded by
ten thousand Orcs, and a thousand Balrogs or three, I think I would find
Midnight came. The growing Moon passed its zenith and began its slow
course towards Valhalla. Frodo looked over his companions. The Fellowship
slept fitfully, each waking at whiles to check their pockets for valued
possessions before drowsing to sleep again. Arwen and Lego-lass sat
quietly in Elf-fashion, not in sleep but in the half-asleep, half-awake,
three-quarters real, one-third dream, two-fifths waking daydream,
one-over-Pi waking daydream sleeping nightmare idling random thought
which the Elves take in place of sleep. At length Arwen stood. "Excuse
me," she said quietly, "I've got to go see a man about a wolverine, or
something." She straightened her black leathers, adjusted her shuriken
and throwing-knives, and stepped into the night.
Her black, thigh-high leather boots squeaking quietly through the
underbrush, Arwen made her way stealthily to the riverbank, where she
crouched near the boats, checked her weapons yet again, and waited. Her
Elvish eyes scanned the darkness, while her mind raced. I'm here! she
thought proudly. I've made it into the movie for sure now. No getting
rid of me! No way I'm going to sit around at Dad's, writing poetry and
knitting ugly banners while all the action's going on down here. But I'm
not taking any chances. Not even one. In this manner her thoughts ran
wildly through the long-secluded corridors of her mind, until at length
she heard the splashing of icky little feet just upstream. She went
still. A slipblade dropped silently down her wrist and into the curve of
her right hand. She held her breath and waited.
A webbed hand, pale and slimy in the fading moonlight, reached from
the water and grabbed the blunt end of one of the boats. A pair of
luminous green eyes rose up behind it, and suddenly an ugly wet slimy
horrible pathetic little fish-eating geek splashed out of the river and
flopped squeaking into the boat. "Ick! Ick! Icky icky ick! Ssssss!"
hissed the creature. "Musst search backpacks. Musst feel for secret
compartments. Musst work on mastering tricksy idiosyncratic dialect.
Yesss! Yesss, pringles. Yesss- urrk," the figure added, as Arwen
grabbed it by the head with her left hand and flashed the slipknife up to
the creature's throatwith her right.
"Listen to me, Gulible, or Gullible, or however the hell it is you
spell your name," Arwen hissed in a quiet whisper. "I need your help."
"Ach! Ssssss! Nassty Elven bitch! Sets us up, it doess. Stoods us
up, humiliates uss, yesss, saddam! Dinner reservations we hads, yesss;
flowerses, nice gowns it boughts for you in Moira-land. Even Orcs who
play the violin we finds, yesss! But it stoods us up; it humiliates us;
it leaves us with a hell of a minimum to drink up! Complete personality
change it has wreaked, saddam, in convenience to plot, fortunately.
Poor Gulllible! Tricksy Elven sstrumpet! Nassty sweet-talking
tight-fisted leatherbound harlot! Guliblle will help you not. Voice
lessons have I taken from Yoda."
"Find the Orcs," Arwen continued, pressing gently on the air supply
to the creature's lungs. "Tell them where we are. Tell them to attack the
Fellowship exactly as the Sun reaches noon. You got that? Exactly at
noon! Do that, and I'll make up for Moira. Fail, and you'll be here for
dinner the next time I see you. As the main course. Got that?"
"Ssssss! Nasssty crawdad! Wench! Think about it I will. Let me go!
Give me libertine or give me death!" Gulible flapped its paws
pathetically, fear and hatred fighting lust, and all three fighting
common sense, which was in somewhat short supply at the moment. Arwen
looked hard and searchingly into the creature's eyes, then released her
grip. Gulible flapped about ludicrously and flopped over into the water
with a splash, and immediately began retreating, muttering something
unintelligible about the treachery of Emma Peel.
Arwen looked after him in satisfaction. Arwen Saves The Day! the
headlines rang in her mind. Some Orcs would attack, and then she would
arrive heroically and singlehandedly drive them off. So simple!
Strong-willed daughter of Elvenhome saves heir of Elendil, and
Ring-quest! Surprise Orc-ambush driven back by fierce counterattack from
beautiful and mighty Elven-princess! Glossy pictures in magazines and
"Arwen the Morningstar" fan-clubs were soon to replace her current bleak
future of appendices and the occasional scholarly comment about her
geneaology. A major part in the movie would certainly be hers after this!
She adjusted her tight leather tunic, checked her spring-darts and
tasteful belt-flail, and made her way back quietly to the sleeping camp.
Red dawn rose from the East, and the wind carried a smell of burning
leaves and fiery marshmallows. Above them Tol Brandir stood, proud but
rundown, a once-mighty mountain now waiting for a redesign and new
weather-resistant siding. Momin Hen stood oily and desolate next to them,
a great attraction in years gone past, now dusty and forlorn. Across the
River Frodo could catch the rays of dawn alighting upon Momin Lhaw, and
was saddened to think of that high place of the Atlanteans now held by
the Enemy and used as a third-rate Orc casino.
Sam prepared breakfast, and the Fellowship ate it in silence. Frodo
even decided not to comment on the razor blade Sam had placed in his
eggs. After they had finished, and Sam had completed the washing up,
Aragon called everyone together to discuss the Quest.
"The day has finally come," he began, "when we have to decide, once
and for all, what the hell it is we're supposed to do next. Gandalf, El
Rond and Galadriel all thought it incredibly important that we speed
directly to Mount Viagra and destroy the Ring without delay. Of course,
none of them are here to actually help or anything, but that's what
they thought we ought to do for them. Boromir, of course, wants to
return to his native land-"
"What time is it?" Arwen suddenly cut in, oblivious to the
conversation. She was sitting quietly off to one side intently oiling and
polishing her weapons.
"Hm? Oh, uh..." Aragon answered, taken off-guard. He gazed at the
sun and the shadows. "Oh, about ten-thirty, I think. So, Boromir
"Are you sure?" Arwen cut in again.
"Yes," Aragon answered, somewhat less calmly, "I'm sure." After a
pause he continued. "Boromir wants to return to his native land, the
Magic Kingdom of Gondor, and the great City of Minas Tirith,
which has long stood as a place of Magic and Wonder. I, of
course, want to go there and claim my rightful Kingship to it and
subjugate it to my will and put Boromir out of a job. Though I'm sure
we'll find something else for you, Boromir," he added hastily. "Maybe
an associate vice-president in charge of production, or something.
Anyway, there is also this subpoena from Isengard to deal with, written
in Aruman's own hand."
"It looks a lot like Gandalf's handwriting to me," Pipsqueak cut in
"Yes, well, you know, wizards' handwriting all looks the same,"
Aragon replied, looking quickly at the document. "Anyway, we must now
decide which of these three causes we shall take up first. I suggest we
now all go directly to the fastness of Minas Tirith, and there take
counsel and supplies and thirty or forty thousand of my heavily-armed
subjects to aid us in our other missions East and West."
"Sounds good to me," Lego-lass replied.
"Me too," chorused Morrie and Pipsqueak together.
"I liked it the last time I was there," Arwen added, looking up
briefly from her toe-spikes. "'Corsairs of the Tampalas' was fun."
"From that great fastness we may strike a mighty blow against the
Scum-lords of the East," Boromir agreed heartily. "Along with other
traitors," he added darkly, his eyes boring into Frodo's back.
"We Dwerrows have long held the long-standing and proper opinion
that Gondor is a gruesome, dishonorable hell-pit of leeches and
vipers," Giggly stated. "But if we're stuck with having to go visit
Mordor and Aruman as well, I admit I wouldn't mind having a few divisions
of armoured cutthroats and vicious attorneys handy to back us up."
"Nobody cares what I think anyway," Sam said sullenly.
"Well, then, it's settled," Aragon rejoiced. "We're going to
"Well, but, uh-" Frodo began.
Aragon stopped and stared at the puny Hobbit. Legions of his future
subjects were awaiting his holy edict; yet here was Frodo, delaying him.
"Yes?" he demanded.
"Well, you see, I still have an estate in Mordor to claim! Sir
Frodo Baggins of Nurnenshire, remember? My own little estate by the lake,
with lots of vast hemp fields, and legions of cowed slaves to tend them?
Nobility? Respectability? A title? Cucumber sandwiches, and one of those
big long robes? You think I came along on this stupid useless low-budget
shark-infested holiday because Gandalf had some chores to take care of?
No, we need to go straight to Mordor! I suppose I can do something about
the Ring once I get established, if you think it's important. I'll have
Sam take it to the Fires of Doom once he's got my luggage rounded up. And
yes, Sam, I'll even give you a raise for that. And one more hour of
unpaid time off per week," he said, glancing round for his servant. Not
finding him, however, he paused then plunged ahead. "Well, maybe skip the
raise, then," he continued. "But Mordor calls me, and there I must go.
Minas Tirith will still be there for you after I've claimed my
estate. Probably, anyway."
"But everyone else has voted to go to Gondor," Aragon insisted.
"We outvote you, so it's decided." Democracy was, after all, still a
useful tool until he actually became a monarch.
"But I have to go to Mordor!" Frodo answered.
Seeing the glares he was getting from the rest of the Company, Frodo
relented somewhat. "Well, okay," he agreed sullenly. "Just, uh, I, I just
need a few minutes to think about it, is all."
Aragon nodded. "Just be back here by noon," he replied. "Arwen's
been very insistent about leaving just past noon."
The meeting ended. Deeply annoyed, Frodo began wandering upwards
along the path to the top of Momin Hen. Maybe things will look less
bleak from higher up, he thought. Unnoticed by the others Boromir
rose, his soul carrying enough bleak to cover four or five epic novels,
and began ascending the path behind him. The others resumed their various
arguments and obsessions from the day before, creatures of habit which
Arwen checked the angle of the sun once more. With another quick
adjustment of the poison dart compartment at her breast, she strode back
into the wilderness. Ten, twenty, thirty, forty paces. Nicely
inconspicuous. Room for a running start. But enough? She increased it to
fifty paces. Okay, be fair, sixty. Had to have the advantage of surprise,
after all. A nice, round seventy-five paces would be perfect. She and the
Fellowship could no longer see each other at all through the brush. Good,
good! Complete advantage of surprise. She slipped on her spiked platinum
knuckles, tied her hair back to increase visibility, released it again to
increase desirability, and waited. Noon. She was impatient, but she
forced herself to wait. After waiting two thousand years for a heroic
opportunity like this, she could wait another hour and fifteen minutes.
Gondor! Frodo stomped his way along the path leading up Momin
Hen, hands clenched into fists, occasionally uprooting delicate flowers
or throwing rocks at small animals in his fury. Gondor! Stupid
useless little kingdom on the edge of being obliterated, populated by big
clumsy Men who thought trademarks were a sign of nobility. Frodo was
obviously more noble and genteel than the lot of that commercial
money-grubbing rabble, that was certain. And now they wanted him to set
aside his Eru-granted rights, his clear and unquestioned claims to
nobility, his big castle and army of paycheck-free agricultural workers,
and further delay the manifest destiny he obviously deserved! Oh, sure,
the legalese of El Rond demanded that he destroy the Ring before he could
claim his Estate; but that was just a petty legal detail. The good
offices of Sauron would certainly take care of that minor technicality.
Just like El Rond to needlessly complicate everything, the bloated
million-year-old dolt. With these thoughts Frodo made his way to the peak
of Momin Hen, where he stepped up to the observation platform. A plaque
next to the railing, long ago damaged by weather and the graffiti of
ancient tourists, could just be made out, though Frodo could not
understand the forgotten language:
Myghty Gyndor strytches yut byfore yyu. Ty thy lyft ys thy myghty
fyrtress yf Mynas Dynald, whyre yur fyne rytating rystaurant cymmands
y splyndid vyew yf yur vynquished fyrmer ylly, Myrdor. Ty thy ryght ys
Mynas Myckey, Tywer yf thy Mygic Kyngdom, lyoking fyrward ty thy Wyst
ynd wynderful Ytlantis. Bytween thym, stynding pryudly yver thy Ryver
Ynduin, stynds Dysgiliath, thy Cyty yf Tymorrow. Tyrning ty thy Nyrth
yyu cyn sye Gyndor's syster kyngdom, Yuroarnor, whych wy're syre wyll
by y rysounding syccess!
By syre ty vysit nyarby Mymin Lhyw, whyre yyu cyn lysten yn yn
cynversations yn thy yctive bydrooms yf Gyndor ymployees!
1 QYATLOO - 3 MYNUTES
Looking out Frodo at first saw only a grey mist, like a fog in a
deep morning vale, or an overly-steamy bathroom mirror. After a moment,
however, the ancient dust gave way, and Frodo found himself able to see
remarkable distances. Facing West he looked upon the green fields of
Edoras, where many horses ran, with Men riding them - great tall Men with
golden hair and a look which was, even to Frodo's untrained eyes, clearly
and unmistakably Anglo-Saxon in every regard, pre-Normanic, possibly
Mercian though it was hard to tell from this distance, though rather
inexplicably they all seemed to be wearing kilts, and occasionally
throwing a Frisbee. At the very foot of the Musty Mountains Frodo could
just make out a tower of shimmering white, surrounded by a splendid
garden of great beauty and ringed with a wall of beautiful, translucent
marble. Obviously the tower of the evil heinous wizard traitor Aruman.
Frodo quickly hurried on.
Frodo's gaze quickly turned North. Following the line of the
Mountains he came to the three high peaks which crowned Moira. For a
fleeting moment he thought he had seen an old man in white sitting in a
lounge chair beside an old man in red, drinking cocktails and laughing at
some unheard joke; but the vision passed, and he realized that looking
North was making him really jittery for some reason. He wheeled around
once more to face the South.
He saw the Sea. He saw the Off-White Mountains, proud, cold and
pointy. His gaze picked out Minas Tirith, and he looked upon it in
amaze: a beautiful city, clean and immaculate, surrounded by seven walls
of stone and surmounted by a castle with tall narrow spires of storybook
beauty, where Frodo could just make out large numbers of people standing
in incredibly long lines trying to look like they were still excited
about whatever the hell it was they were waiting such unbelievable
lengths of time for. Many of them carried souvenirs. A surprising number
of them seemed to be wearing round black helms with mysterious
protrusions, like Boromir's. Every single one of them looked like
they had spent too much money. Frodo was about to turn away when he saw -
or thought he saw; it must have been a mistake, it must have been -
some sort of giant rat walking through the avenues, waving at the people;
who did not scream or run away, as sensible people would, from a grinning
six-foot-tall rodent. Frodo blinked. It couldn't have been. Perhaps it
was just a reflection, or something.
Saving the best for last, Frodo turned East towards Mordor.
Somewhere out there was the wonderful land of Nurnenshire, soon to be his
home. His gaze crossed the River Anduin, gazing only briefly at the
heavily-dated ruins of Disgiliath; then going further they came across
the great dome of Minas Epcot upon the mountain-range. The sanitized
commercialism of Gondor gave way to the hideous neon glitz and media
bombardment of the Enemy. Frodo's eyes unwillingly crossed the plain,
passing billboards innumerable and countless one-hour motels. Gas wars
were being fought. Commercialism was rampant. Film crews were busy with
remakes of "Flipper" and "Mr. Ed". Orcs lit bonfires upon the plain and
toasted marshmallows by having slaves hold them into the fires for them
with their bare hands. In the center of the hideous arid plain he saw the
deadly sputtering fire of Mount Viagra, which no man would admit to
seeing. Its purple flames raged up unexpectedly, then crashed down to
silence with a dozen undocumented side-effects.
And then Frodo saw it: a tower great and terrible, with buttresses
of knife-edged iron, walls of impenetrable stone, doors of heavy adamant
all marked "ENTRANCE ONLY"; battlement upon battlement, chamber upon
chamber, window office upon window office, tall, black, immeasurably
strong, laughing at flattery, filled with self-confidence, cracking its
gum, telling bad jokes, and ringed with a thousand heavily-sharpened
dinner forks: the Barad-dur, Fortress of Sauron the Terrible. Frodo stood
as one turned to stone, unable to look away. The Ring suddenly felt
heavier on its chain, like a great weight, dragging him downwards. In the
Dark Tower Frodo felt an Eye which never slept; and then it became aware
of him, a fierce will, unknowing of mercy, and now as it turned towards
him he felt unable to move, unable to resist; and the Power came ever
closer, reaching past Momin Lhaw, reaching towards him like an arm of
terror; and then suddenly all went black, and there was a click, and
Frodo could see no more.
"Pesky things," Frodo muttered to himself. "No wonder nobody uses
them any more. You'd think a quarter would give you more than three
minutes. And now I'm out of change." And he kicked the great
coin-operated binoculars on their pivoting metal base, limped back a few
feet, and sat on a stone bench.
After a moment Boromir came into the clearing. Seeing Frodo he
immediately ran forward, drew his sword and prepared to cleave the puny
Hobbit in half; but just as Frodo was about to scream he stopped, looked
at his sword as if it had just been placed in his hand by a passing
street-vendor, and laughed self-consciously as he put it back in its
scabbard. "I, uh, I was just thinking about getting you a quarter," he
explained lamely. "Halfling. Cut in half. Uhm, so, a quarter, you see.
Get it? Ahh ha ha ha ha ha. Uhm. No, Really, Frodo, I am ill at ease. I
came to talk to you. May I not sit down? The view's beautiful from up
here. I'm surprised more people don't come by. I think a quarter for
three minutes is very reasonable. Quite a bargain, really. Uhm. Oh, look,
you cleaned the lenses. Jolly good. Though that's Union jurisdiction, you
know. Could get in a lot of trouble. But I won't tell anyone if you
don't. I mean, it's no big deal, you know, really. Um. Uh. So, uh... I
guess you were really wanting to go to that estate in Nurnenshire, hm?"
"Yes," said Frodo.
"The one that the Great And Terrible Enemy Of All The Free Peoples
is offering you."
"That's the one," said Frodo.
"And you believe it."
"Well, of course I do!" Frodo snapped, irate. "I've got a piece of
paper and everything. It's all official. Look," he continued, reaching
into his jerkin and pulling out the envelope from the Nazdaq, "it's got
official-looking seals on it, and signatures in blood-red ink and
everything. Yes, I'm sure it's only ink."
"You trust this?" Boromir demanded.
"Well, of course I do!" Frodo replied haughtily. "Sauron's a big
and important man. I'm just an insignificant little hobbit who has, by
chance, the blood of great and honoured nobility coursing through my
veins. Why would he deceive me? He knows I'd be a valuable asset to
Nurnen, that's all. And he's right." Frodo held up his head and looked to
the East, hoping the light would catch his face just the right way and
let Boromir see, just for a moment, the nobility of ancient and
powerful Sea-kings in his visage, but the sun went behind a cloud and he
continued to look like a puny insignificant little hobbit who was
sticking his lower lip out obnoxiously.
"Maybe you aren't aware of the wiles of the Enemy," Boromir
responded. "Here in Gondor we have been fighting a terrible battle
against the Evil One for uncounted centuries. Once Gondor was a fair
land, powerful and well thought of in the tourist trade; yet now it is
but a shadow of its former self, bare and desolate, its concession stands
all but closed, its parking lots bare-"
"Looked pretty crowded through the binoculars," Frodo cut in.
"That? A cruise ship from the Havens. We get those but twice a
year, and had to make a big concession on the hotel fees even to get
that. The rest of the time Gondor is a ghost town, our people
unemployable, idle and bored. Yet that is but a part of our woes. The
Nazdaq have conquered Minas Epcot, and made it into a place of horror-"
"I heard it was a place of horror already," Frodo interrupted.
"-and the Leech-king killed Eisner, the last King, in single combat;
Eisner held two Aces and a Jack, and the Leech-king held a repeating
crossbow with barbed and poisoned quarrels and a battleaxe-"
"So did he bluff?" Frodo asked.
"-and Disgiliath has fallen, and our Great Monorails can no longer
run, and every day our defenses grow weaker. Even a single division of
"Mouseketeers?" cut in Frodo.
"Musketeers," Boromir corrected, "could aid us greatly; but we
can't get them, because gunpowder hasn't been invented yet-"
"But we've got fireworks," Frodo interrupted pedantically.
"Do you realize you've interrupted five times in the last ten
paragraphs?" Boromir said angrily. "I'm trying to make you realize
that Sauron is a damned liar!"
"What?" Frodo demanded.
"A liar! A teller of falsehoods! A deceiver of men's hearts! Why the
hell do you think everyone's been calling him evil? Why do you think we
refer to him as 'Sauron the Base Lord of Treachery'? That document
you're clutching and carrying everywhere in your sweaty little fist is a
trap, you know - a trap devised by Sauron and delivered by the Nazdaq to
reel you in and bring you to the Dark Tower!"
"But why?" Frodo demanded. "It doesn't make any sense! What would
Sauron have to gain by trapping me? Use your head, Boromir, or take
"Because of the Ring!" Boromir snapped, finally getting to
interrupt Frodo for a change. "You have the Ring. It's Sauron's Ring.
Sauron wants it back. And he'll torture and destroy you for it."
"Not true! Not true!" screamed Frodo.
"Of course it's true, dolt! Gandalf told you Sauron was a fool. El
Rond told you too. But Sauron is no fool. He has been searching for his
Ring, the power of which will make him stronger a thousandfold, and
you're willing to go up and hand it to him! And then he would crush all
resistance! He will destroy Gondor-"
"I'm not listening! I'm not listening!" Frodo screamed, sticking his
fingers in his ears. "La la la la la la la-"
"And then Lorien," Boromir shouted, "and then Rivendell, and
Edoras, and then he will trample the Shire and put its inhabitants all to
torture and slow death as the price for your keeping the Ring in his
despite - will you stop singing! - and all your precious Bagginses, or
Bagginsi, or whatever they are, will die, and all the Brandybottles will
"No! No! No! No! No!" Frodo yelled in agony.
"-and all the Tooks will die-"
"No!" screamed Frodo. "No! Sauron would never hurt Cassiopeia! You
damnable liar!" And with that Frodo drew Sting and stabbed
Boromir through the abdomen.
"Aaaaaaaaaggggghhhh!" screamed Boromir, and fell.
Frodo looked at Boromir. The powerful Man was trying to raise
himself up onto his hands and knees, gasping desperately. Oh my Eru!
Frodo thought. What have I done! I've killed Boromir! It's murder!
Oh my Eru! He dropped Sting but then picked it up again to wipe it free
of fingerprints, which only succeeded in getting even more of
Boromir's blood onto his hands and tunic. Damn, he thought.
Boromir crawled away into the brush. Maybe nobody will find
him, Frodo thought, looking after him. Yeah. That's fine. Or maybe we
were attacked by Orcs. Everybody'd be fine with that. Maybe I'll say he
attacked me first. After all, he's been acting pretty strange lately.
I'll say he wanted the Ring. And I had to stab him.
But who'd believe that? Frodo answered himself. We were going to
go to Gondor. Why would he take the Ring here? What would he want
the Ring for, anyway? No, nobody'll buy a story like that. It's too
implausible an idea.
"I've got to get out of here," Frodo said aloud to himself. "I'll go
to Mordor alone. Sauron will protect me. Diplomatic immunity. After all,
I'm a nobleman. And Boromir was an enemy of Mordor, after all. I'll
have done Sauron a service. He should be grateful." And with that Frodo
looked about, chose a path that would take him back to the boats without
going near the others, and departed.
A pair of eyes gleamed from the underbrush. Underneath them could
just be seen a mouth frowning in consideration. Then the eyes departed,
also going down Momin Hen but by a faster way.
"Are you telling me Feenamint wasn't an inventor?" Lego-lass demanded.
"No, that's not what I said," Giggly answered with some heat, "I'm
just saying he didn't do anything original. Now Oolee, now he made
some truly original things. He was creative! Feenamint had good crafts
skills, but he didn't really make anything very inspired, now did he?"
"I'd like to see you make a slipcast," Lego-lass said pointedly.
"Oh, sure, the slipcast; but he couldn't make the light, now
could he?" Giggly said, triumphant.
"Nooo, he got that from the plants," Lego-lass smiled archly.
"And that was Lavanna's work. Nothing to do with ol' Oilee whatsoever."
"Oolee," Giggly corrected.
"Anyway you don't see Dwaerrowseses making light or great jewels or
anything, but they burn plenty of plants for firewood, or just for fun-"
"I'm not willing to listen to these add himinem attacks-"
But just then their engaging conversation was interrupted as
Boromir, his hands over his bleeding midriff, stumbled headlong into
the clearing. "Frodo!" he gasped. "It was Frodo-" And then he fell
forward upon his face.
"Ai! Ai!" Lego-lass shrieked, and she and Giggly threw their arms
around one another. The Dwarf drew his axe. "Fear nothing!" he giggled.
"If I see that halfling bastard I'll protect y-..." And then with a
sudden mutual impulse they leaped away from one another, both fighting
shock and horror and some idea even more terrifying.
Aragon jumped to his feet. "The Ringbearer!" he yelled. "He's gone
amok. We must now bring him to justice. Gimlet! Legless! Find my beloved
Aardvark! Mungo, you and Piglet guard Boring® here. Meet me back at the
boats!" And with that Aragon drew his sword and dashed up the path of
Momin Hen. "Endurit! Endurit! Fear me, little Shire rat-bag!" he shouted.
Giggly and Lego-lass, themselves caught in a moment of utter
emotional uncertainty, made for the west-path together, then for separate
paths, then paused; then wordlessly reaching a decision the two followed
Aragon up the trail, close after one another, but not too close.
A long silence fell. Moribund thoughtfully pulled out his pipe.
"Soooo, Boromir," Morrie said slowly. "I think I've got some bandages
in my pack... How much are they worth to you?"
Pipsqueak, sitting on a log watching Morrie bargain with the wounded
Man, looked about the clearing idly. The grass was green, the trees and
brush provided gentle shade and protection from the winds, and the
foliage was beautiful to look upon. But then he saw something else,
something subtly different in the trees, and a new and somewhat
disquieting thought occurred to him.
When we came down the River, he thought to himself, there were
those Orcs jumping around on the plains who looked a lot like trees.
Being out on the plains it wasn't very effective camouflage, like Strider
said. But in a place like this, with trees and bushes all the way around
you... boy, if they looked like trees, I bet a whole battalion of Orcs
could creep right up on you and you wouldn't even notice - unless you
happened to look up at just the right moment.
"Uh, Morrie?" Pipsqueak said aloud in a quiet falsetto. "Uh, you
might want to stop talking for a minute and look over here..."
Killer! Butcher! Murderer! Voices of guilt rang through Frodo's
mind like mighty church-bells. You fool! They'll give you the Chair for
this. What he meant by that he hardly knew, yet it frightened him. He
envisioned a merciless and mighty Executioner beating him over the head
with an immense, heavy chair. Mordor's my only hope. I've got to get to
the boats. I've got to get to the boats!
Frodo stumbled blindly through the trees. He thought he heard some
screaming off in the distance towards the camp, but it could just as
easily have been the voices pointing fingers and crying J'accuse! in
the labyrinths of his mind. There was also a crunching sound, a sound
like breaking wood, which he disregarded until he reached the River,
where he found Sam smashing the last of their three boats with Giggly's
"Sam! What the hell are you doing!?"
Sam looked up. There was an evil look on his face, an evil smirk in
his eye. "That's Mister Sam Gamgee to you, ye bourgeois Shire-born
hobgoblin," Sam answered, hefting the axe with his strong working-class
hands. "An' what I'm doin' is wreckin' these nasty seedy little
death-traps afore ye try to use 'em again."
"But we've got to escape!" Frodo said dementedly. "There were Orcs!
Hundreds of 'em! And they attacked me, and they killed Boromir, and-"
"No Orcs attacked ye," Sam replied, his dialect thick and pointed.
"It was you as attacked Mister Boromir, of the Royal House of
Gondor; and that's his blood there on your hands, it is, and all of
Ulmune's oceans won't be enough t' wash ye clean of it. Aye, Mister
Frodo, an' there's no denyin' it. I know all aboot it."
"That's crazed," Frodo parleyed. "If I had killed Boromir, how
would you know-"
"Because I followed ye," Sam snapped. "After sneakin' in to the
Council of El Rond, and followin' ye t' see the Lady's bath an' all, ye
think I'd let this meeting go by unobserv'd? Nae, Mister Frodo, nae;
and I do it because I don't trust ye, ye wee cutthroat. I scouted out all
the paths, and I watched ye go up the great Hen, and I watched
Boromir tell ye about Mordor an' Sauron's treachery, and I saw ye go
nutso an' stab him. An' I knew ye'd be headin' for the boats - the nasty,
accurs'd boats," he shuddered - "an' seein' as I had nae the stomach for
'em anyway, I did ye out of 'em an' satisfied meself doubly. So there's
no goin' on, Mr. Frodo. Or should I say Mr. Mud."
"Sam, Sam," Frodo said, shifting mental gears and trying for
supplication. "I had to do it. I had no choice. He was trying to stop me
from going to Nurnenshire."
"And claimin' your estate," Sam sneered.
"Yes," Frodo answered, "and claiming my estate. Sam! I would have
agreed to anything, if you could have helped me; but now the boats are
smashed, and my hope is lost. I feared it was so. Damn it." And Frodo sat
down heavily on the remains of one of the broken keels.
Sam looked at his master long and thoughtfully. "You'd've gone
straight into Mordor?" he asked.
"Yes," Frodo answered. "Of course I would. Where the hell else would
"And you'd agree to anything t'get there?"
"Sure. Anything," Frodo said despondently. He played idly with a
Sam looked at him appraisingly. "So if I had a way to get you into
Mordor, you'd go there willingly, and you'd agree to anything to be able
t' do it?"
Something about Sam's tone made Frodo look up. "Sam? Is there
another boat here or something?" he asked, rising to his feet. "If you're
holding out on me-"
"Keep your hands away from th' sword!" Sam demanded, wielding the
axe and producing a handful of deadly cutlery. "I'm only sayin' as I
may be able to help you. To go to Mordor. But only on certain conditions."
"What conditions?" Frodo said desperately. "Name them!"
Sam leaned back, cheerfully. "We-ell," he said slowly, "for
starters, I get a pay raise. Fifty percent. An' retroactive to the
beginning of last year."
"Fifty per c-" Frodo started, then stopped himself. He could
almost hear the rest of the Fellowship coming with bright keen Swords of
Justice. "Oh, okay. All right. But only if we can leave right n-"
"And you has t' carry your half of the baggage," Sam continued,
indicating the heavy packs lying next to one of the smashed boats.
"Oh, all right," Frodo replied. Under Sam's watchful gaze he
shouldered one of the packs. It was astonishingly heavy. Frodo had never
done menial labor before. "All right," he answered, trying to inhale.
"All right. That's only fair, I supp-"
"AND you'll be doing half the cooking throughout the rest of the
trip," Sam continued. "And the washing-up. And you'll stand half the
watches. And give me the wake-up calls from now on."
"Ho-kay," Frodo gasped. He was concentrating on the pack.
"And before you go to Sauron to claim your little estate in
Nurnenshire, ye'll write up a legal document that gives me complete
ownership of Bag End," Sam added. "As a little bonus for years of long
service. If you're profiting, I'm profiting too."
"Bag End! Oomph," Frodo said, trying to find his new center of
gravity. How had Sam carried this thing for so long? "What do you want
that for?... Well, all right, very well; I won't be needing it anyway."
"And just in case Boromir is right about the Ring," Sam added,
"I don't want no Dark Baddies takin' over the Shire just when I'm about
to come into my own. So ye'll be destroyin' the Ring before ye try to
contact any officials or claim any Estate."
"Blackmail! Foul, tricky besotted blackm- Well, all right, I
suppose; as long as it's on the way," Frodo answered, trying desperately
to stay calm.
"And there won't be any more lickin' of fingers, or suckin' of
toes or any other personal displays o' th' sort; an' if ye try it I'll
cut your throat then and there, Mister Frodo. An' that's a fact," Sam
added vehemently. "Swear to all that. Swear by the Deed."
"The Deed?" Frodo asked.
"Aye, the Deed," Sam answered. "By the Deed to Nurnenshire. Crooked
as a three-dollar bill it may be, but it has a hold o' your soul, and
ye'll never break that oath if ye want to enjoy your estate." Sam
fairly spat out the last word, as though he had just avoided saying
"All right," Frodo answered. "I swear by the Deed to Nurnenshire
that I shall go straight to Mordor, and to give you a fifty per cent pay
raise retroactive to last year, and to carry half the baggage and do half
the cooking and washing-up, and half the watches and wake-up calls, and
give you a legal claim to Bag End before claiming the Estate, and destroy
the Ring first, and not try to get you excited or suck on your fingers or
toes or any other appendages. So help me Deed.
"Now, Sam," Frodo continued, as the pack straps dug painfully into
his shoulders, "how do you propose we get across the River? Fly? Swim?
Use that fourth boat you were keeping hidden in your mess-kit for later?
Smelt some iron, forge a shovel and tunnel our way under?"
Sam smiled smugly. "We-ell, Mr. Frodo, I thought we'd walk a little
bit farther South, and then walk across on that disused track for
Boromir's ol' Monorail. See, it goes right across the water, there,
straight over to Momin Lhaw."
"Sam! You're a genius!" Frodo laughed.
And soon later two little figures could just be made out walking
across the narrow track towards the Eastern side of the River, one
already starting to feel the weight of his great burden, and each with a
hope in their hearts. For one of them went to Mordor hoping that the
stories of Sauron's hatred and lust for vengeance upon Frodo would prove
utterly false, and the other went hoping those same stories would prove
Time passed. The shadows moved slowly. Before long the sun reached
"Aaaaiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeeaiaiaiaiaiaiaiaia ha ha ha hahahaaaaaaa!"
The brush burst aside! A burst of deadly shuriken flew through the air,
each cutting through the air of the clearing with a searing whine and
embedding themselves into the trunks of trees. With a sudden flash of
black leather a lithe figure leaped into the clearing, ronin-blade in
one hand, sharpened darts in the other, keen-eyed, beautiful, confident
and vicious. "Fear not!" the figure shouted. "Mighty Arwen,
warrior-princess, is here!..."
After a moment the silence continued to greet her. She stopped. She
paused. She looked at the sun. It was noon. It was noon! Where the hell
was everyone? She looked about the empty clearing, angry, yet a
desolation crept upon her heart. Did they leave early? Why would they
do that? And where the hell were the Orcs?
Was she too late?
She checked the sun yet again. It must be noon! Must be. Maybe.
Unless... unless they measured noon differently in southern climes. Or
something. Anyway, why would they leave without her? Had they forgotten
her? Those bastards!
There was some blood on the ground, trailing off towards Momin Hen.
Probably Aragon had got another one of his nosebleeds. She'd told him
high altitudes weren't good for him. There was some black stuff on the
ground as well, a lot of it, which she might have identified as Orc-blood
if she'd led a less sheltered life. Tree-sap, she thought to herself.
Probably just some sort of tree-sap.
Arwen sat down dejectedly. She began idly throwing her
silvered-steel darts at the picnic table. Every step she took went wrong.
Every attempt to get more coverage in the movie seemed to backfire on
her. She couldn't even get a mention in Chapter Seven. Dammit! What the
hell was this? Some sort of conspiracy?
For a long moment the Elven-maid sat there, alone, her eyes unseeing.
Finally she stood. She pulled a few of the less-damaged shuriken
back out of the trees where they had lodged. The throwing-darts she
ignored. Gondor, she thought. They were going to Gondor. To
Minas Tirith. Everyone was agreed. Well, I'll just follow them and
meet them there. I shouldn't miss more than a chapter or two before I'm
back with the others again. And Aragon had better have a damn good excuse
for leaving me like this, the bastard.
With a final shrug Arwen picked up her pack, tied her hair back for
practicality and left it there, and proceeded South, her feet tracking a
perfect line straight towards Minas Tirith. She knew her way there,
and she knew the others were going straight there as well. This time
everything would work out. This time she was certain to be central to
the plot. This time.
This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of
O. Sharp <ohh-aaaaaaat-netcom-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.
Boromir, Minas Tirith and Gondor are trademarks of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor and its subsidiaries.
This chapter proudly sponsored by the International Alliance of Servants, Squires and Lackeys, Local 1420.