The Lord of the... whatever, Book IV, Chapter 10:

The Eagle

       Twilight began to fall like a really slow boulder.  Sam sat on
the cobblestones outside the Siege Weapons Of The Future display,
smoking his pipe and idly looking in the windows at a greasy, obsolete
prototype of the Trebuchet of Tomorrow.  Spiegel leaned against the
wall nearby, staring blankly at the red of the setting sun.  Maglor,
who had been mistuning his guitar for a horrifying quarter hour, was
trying to unbend a fret he had bent in a particulary unsuccessful
Gb7 chord.
       When they had run down to the riverbanks the mermaid, who upon
closer inspection turned out to be a suckerfish with two prominent
gills, had squeaked in terror and swam off to have another go at
evolution elsewhere.  No sign of Frodo could be found.  Sam did
succeed in recovering Frodo's waterlogged pack.  It still held their
provisions, their beer-money, some grotesque silicone-rubber toys
which Sam dared not identify, and a small assortment of stolen cutlery
from Dr Faramir's caves.  Yet no sign of the Ring or of the waterproof
packet which held the Deed to Nurnenshire could be found.
       No sign of the Shiny Thing of Galadriel could be found either.
"That bastard!" Maglor had shouted at the water, hitting the river
angrily with his guitar.  "That drooler!  That cat-loving thief!"
After an hour or so he calmed down somewhat and dealt with his grief
by writing a song.  To the horror of the hobbits he insisted on
singing it all afternoon over and over:

       Are you going to drown under there
       Pervert thief hairfooted and short
       I don't see how I'll find the slipca-ast
       Hobbit was my final resort

Late in the day Maglor finally stopped to eat, though he hummed a
medley of old Morris dance tunes during dinner which put Sam and
Spiegel right off their food.
       Now it was early evening.  Sam stretched.  "Well, guess that's
the end of the ol' Quest then," he said simply.  "If Frodo's dead and
the Ring gone, I guess there's nothing to do but go back to the Shire
and light a few rich people's mansions on fire, as me Gaffer always
said we ought to have done.  What about you, Spiegel?"
       Spiegel looked at Sam.  Her thumb was deep in her mouth and
her eyes were glazed in thought.  "Now that Baggins is dead," she
replied slowly, "my lifetime of seeking terrible revenge and living
in horrible self-loathing has reached its fruition.  So I guess I'll
go find a good therapist."
       "I think," said Maglor, though nobody had asked him, "I think
I'll wander by the shores of Lower Middle Earth for the rest of time,
singing plaintively about my loss."
       "Good idea," said Sam, who lived inland.
       "At least until a profitable music recording industry is
invented," Maglor added.
       "Perhaps you should get started, then," Sam said flatly,
gesturing down the River.  "The Sea's down that way."
       "Don't let us keep you," Spiegel added quickly.
       "Uh, okay," Maglor replied.  Then he added, "But you've both
been so nice and we've been through a lot together.  I thought maybe
before I go I could make a ballad about you.  The Ballad Of Sam And
       "No, that's okay," Sam said hastily.
       "We don't need one," Spiegel jumped.
       "No room in our packs for a ballad anyway-" Sam shouted.  But
it was too late.  Maglor began to sing:

       Gamgee had come down from the Shire
       To light up Frodo's funeral pyre
       You knew his old head was
       Just full of revenge
       So he took his Master off to the East -

Christ!" he finished suddenly, as Sam threw a cobblestone at his head.
       "Shut it and be off with you!"
       "You know it ain't easy," Maglor continued, trying to stay
on the beat.  "You know how hard it can be."
       "One more note and I stick my finger down my own throat,"
Spiegel added, with the horrible tone of one who has successfully
done it before.
       Maglor turned away, hoisting his guitar over his shoulder.
"The way that we're goin'," he said, "I'd better leave for the Sea." 
And with two more codas he wandered away towards the South grumbling
about how much easier it was to get gigs during the Kin-strife.

       Sam slept soundly.  He dreamed of Frodo flailing about in the
river.  In the dream Frodo kept yelling to Sam for help.  Sam, standing
on a pier five feet away holding a life-preserver, just laughed and
laughed.  The life-preserver was marked LUSITANIA, after the Elvenqueen
of old.  Frodo's pack was full of cement blocks which Sam had tossed
in at the beginning of their adventures.  Rosie appeared on the next
dock along with a cheering crowd.  She took off her dress and began
waving it at him seductively.  Sam waded past the screaming Frodo to
touch her.  She casually threw aside her flimsy garment.  In that
gesture she seemed to be throwing aside all the bourgeois capitalist
society norms.  It was all she was wearing.  Sam's blood grew hotter.
The dress made a raspy zzzrrrmpphhh noise as it fell to the quayside,
and a distracting plonk, plonk as it landed...
       Suddenly Sam awoke.  It was night in Disgiliath.  There was
another zzzrrrmpphhh noise, and Sam realized with annoyance that it
was Spiegel snoring.  She lay just down the road with her head
tipped back over a dislodged cobblestone.  zzzrrrmpphhh she went
again.  Sam grumbled and rolled over, hoping to get back to his
dream, when from afar he heard another distant plonk.
       Sam lay quiet and listened.
       zzzrrrmpphhh zzzrrrmpphhh zzzrrrmpphhh.
       Sam closed his ears.  Rosie!  Sweet Rosie!  Let me get back to
my erotically-charged passionate horny dreams about Rosie.
       zzzrrrmpphhh zzzrrrmpphhh.  A long silence.  The snores had
stopped.  Spiegel had rolled a different way and now lay on the
cobbles with her hands in her lap and her legs spread, moaning quietly
in some desperately erotic dream of her own.
       Sam looked in the direction of the sound.  It came from
somewhere near the Leonard of Quirm exhibit.  Or maybe further east
around the Future Of Agriculture: Screw Archimedes! pavilion.  Or
       There was a flap.  Sam's eyes looked up.  Some blocks away
the Sky Scraping Building loomed over their heads.
       In the days of Insultir, grandson of Isildur and Andrea Doria
the Sea-queen, was Disgiliath the City of Tomorrow founded.  And many
wonders were produced by the Atlanteans in those their glory days
though most of their achievements failed just as the warranties were
running out.  And chief among their wonders were the great spires
which reached towards the stars: Orthanc the Eyesore of Isengard they
built, and Emyn Bereave of the North famed in legend before it fell
over, and the Barad-dur which was built as a birthday-present before
being corrupted to evil.  Yet these were as assays in the craft
before the building of Tol Ist, the Needle of Heaven, which legend
says scraped the very sky itself and rent holes in the ozone.
Legend has it the stars had to detour around the top.  High over
Disgiliath it loomed.  Even as it was being built Insultir said that
all buildings would be like it in the future: tall and imposing and
devoid of personality.
       Yet Insultir's dream was to fail him.  With the lack of
elevators and adequate ventilation most people died before they
reached the top, and those who did survive the climb died because
there was no indoor plumbing to provide water.  Even when one brave
team of adventurers made it to the top in later years, bearing
flagons of water and the long-needed truss supports to complete the
roof, their attempt at using the ganderobe resulted in the deaths of
three of the party and nine civilians on the ground.  As time passed
Disgiliath was abandoned and the narrow tower stood unfinished, a
silent testament to the worthiness of building codes.
       Sam's eyes took in the Tower.  At the very top he saw a giant
wing stick out of the roof for a moment before retreating.  It could
just be seen against the night sky.
       Then far below he saw another movement, somewhere deep within
the glass of the tower.  A tiny figure could be seen on the stairway.
It tripped over some unseen obstacle which fell away below it with a
plonk.  Even from here there was something familiar about the figure:
a certain clumsiness, some shamed and shaking lust that drove the
little shadow onward.
       Sam moved quickly to wake the dreaming Spiegel.  He grabbed
her and shook her thigh.
       "Oh, no, no more, Sir Peter," Spiegel moaned.  "I simply
couldn't stand another sausage.."
       "Wake up, ye wee bint," Sam growled, though the cries of
Rosie were still hot in his own mind as well.  He tried not to let
his hand linger on her shaking leg.  "Wake up.  We're in trouble."
       "Oh, very well, just five more before dinner..."  Spiegel
continued, then wakefulness took her and she jumped, startled.  She
stared at Sam and turned aside quickly crossing her legs.  "I'm
fine," she snapped.  "Just dreaming.  Perfectly healthy.  Perfectly
normal."  After a moment she looked again at Sam.  "Why are you
waking me up?  It's the middle of the night."
       "Master Frodo's still alive," Sam whispered urgently.
"He's climbing the Tower.  I don't know what mischief he's up to."

       It was short work to pack their provisions and walk the
streets to the base of the Tower.  Soon they reached the giant doors
of the great edifice.  Long ago had they been smashed by Orcs and
vandals.  The lobby was filled with debris and the skeletons of
corpses, some of which had dropped from a great height.  In the
corner stood the beginning steps of a great stair, which wound up
the sides of the tower and was lost to sight.
       There were also many pieces of broken rock.  "What are these
from?" Spiegel wondered aloud.
       "I think they're stairs that fell," Sam replied.  And indeed
the chunks of broken stone were very much the same shade and shape
as the stairs, which Sam and Spiegel now noticed were often cracked
where they joined the wall.  Both looked at the stairs suspiciously.
"If I had my druthers," Sam said to himself, "I'd just stay here at
the bottom and kill Frodo as he came back down.  But I saw some sort
of giant bird at the top of the Tower and there's no telling whether
Mr Frodo might try to make a getaway on it.  That bloody bastard
Bilbo did something similar once."
       "Damn it," Spiegel answered.  "I was really hoping he'd
       Someone had already pushed a path in the debris between the
door and the stairs.  They followed the path and found a wet piece of
card at a tight turning of the path.  Spiegel picked it up.  It was
a soaked waterlogged subscription card for Playtark.  "It's Frodo
all right," she said sullenly.
       Without speaking further they started up the stairs.
       At first the steps were grimy and covered with dust, debris
and the occasional body.  As they progressed upwards the steps
gradually became less worn, and the dust and debris lessened.
The two quietly continued upward.
       The view out the windows gradually rose over the rooves of
Disgiliath.  Sam and Spiegel were able to see further and further
into the night as they slowly gained altitude.  Curiously, as they
climbed higher the air became increasingly stifling.  "It's this
damn glass," Spiegel gasped.  "None of the windows open.  Who would
design a building this way?"
       "Some twit," Sam gasped in return.
       They continued upward.  Spiegel walked just in front of Sam,
stepping rhythmically up the long stairs.  Sam followed.  Being a
couple of stairs behind, Sam's view consisted mainly of Spiegel's
ass.  It continued bouncing just in front of him, flexing on one
side, then the other, then one side, then the other...
       Sam was already exhausted.  The stairs and the lack of air
were torching his already overheated blood.  The curvature of Spiegel
tempted him, tormented his hormone-crazed mind, yet it gave him the
strength to continue.  Yet in another way it also made it harder for
him to walk.  "Rosie," he said to Spiegel absently.  "How can you
keep going like that?"
       "Stairmaster," Spiegel replied.  "Used it for months.  It
didn't help."
       They continued.  After another half-mile had passed the air
had become stifling as a glass-walled tomb.  Sam's hormones alone
were giving him the energy and will to go on, following that ass,
those thighs...  The horny dreams of Rosie continued to play in his
mind and in his blood.  Spiegel too seemed somehow distracted as
though her own dreams still kept a hold on her.
       Then there was a sound like a gunshot!  The stone beneath
Spiegel's feet broke from the wall and gave way!  "Sam!" she screamed
and Sam threw himself at her shoving her down onto the unbroken step
nearer the wall.  He landed full on top of her.  She felt him against
       "Sam," she gasped.
       "Rosie," Sam said.  Spiegel's nipples were hard through her
vest.  One of her thighs felt warm and wet against his leg.  Her eyes
were pleading.
       "I," Spiegel gasped.  "I - can't breathe..."
       Without looking Sam reached over and grabbed a piece of stone
from the broken stair.  He flailed over and smashed the nearest window.
       Broken glass rained around them.  A rush of cool air and a
dusting of rain rushed over their hot bodies.  Air!  Cool and
invigorating it whipped against them, coursed through their lungs,
over their overheated flesh.  Both felt suddenly alive, suddenly safe.
They laughed for a brief moment, then suddenly became aware of each
other again.
       "Sam," Spiegel said again.  Her eyes gazed into his.
       "I - but Rosie - Spiegel, I..."  Sam stuttered.  Her lithe,
eager body lay in his hands.  For a moment he was too overwhelmed to
think.  "I, I," he began, looking into Spiegel's questioning eyes.
He truly wanted his Rosie.  Spiegel was just a traveling companion...
yet so close, so willing.  Her arms were already reaching around him.
He found his hands reaching for her vest of their own volition.
Should he?  After all, he and Rosie weren't formally engaged.  He
looked again at Spiegel's face.  She gazed back at him with a hunger,
for him, for acceptance...  After a breath one of her hands reached
slowly for his belt.  Her hips rose off the stair so that he could
slide her dress up more easily.  Should he take her and the release
she offered?  Would Rosie feel it was a betrayal?  Would the author
of a good versus evil fantasy novel actually write such a morally
ambiguous action?
       "Oh, the hell with it," Sam mumbled to himself.

       "Oh Sam!" Her cries reverberated through the Tower.
"Oh Saaaaaaam!"

       Now Sam walked in front, Spiegel following behind, their pace
more leisurely.  They stopped every twenty floors or so to smash
another window for ventilation.  Both were calmer.  A rain began to
fall outside and Spiegel managed to refill a canteen from the water
running off a broken windowpane before they continued.
       "I still feel a little odd all the same," Sam told her.
"I've told you about Rosie.  She's still my girl.  But...  but you're
quite a woman.  And sexy.  Very sexy."
       "So are you," Spiegel smiled.  "Rosie's lucky."
       There was a change coming over Spiegel.  Even Sam had noticed
it.  Before now she had always thought of herself as unsexy and
unlovable.  Yet the passion that had consumed them had also made her
view herself differently.  Before she had been certain she was
loathsome.  Now she was no longer sure what she was.
       They continued for a moment in silence.
       "Why did you come on this quest, Sam?" Spiegel asked.
       Sam spat.  "At first because I was Frodo's servant," he growled.
"And then because I thought I could blackmail him.  And then later
because I wanted to see him die in th' hands o' the Dark Lord.  But
now...  now an' I'll be honest I don't know why the hell I'm doin'
it.  An' that's a fact."
       Spiegel looked thoughtful.  "Then maybe we should just kill
him," she volunteered.
       Sam walked in silence for a moment.  When he spoke he was
angrier and his brogue was thicker.  "I'd love nothin' more than t'see
the wee pig bleed," he answered.  "It'd give me the the joyfuls,
'twould.  But... either the Deed is good, or 'tisn't.  If 'tis, then
he's trapped in Nurnenshire an' I get Bag End an' the resources I need
t'start th' war ag'inst the bourgeoisie.  If 'tisn't, then I get Mr
Frodo Baggins back t' the Shire alive an' people'll lynch him and
start the Revolt sure as spades."
       "Just like that?" Spiegel asked.
       "Aye."  Sam smiled grimly.  "Most o' the economic troubles
i' the Shire started when his nuncle Bilbo returned from foreign parts.
About ruined the economy, he did, an' made the class divisions acute
an' hard.  If Master Frodo so much as shows his face in the Shire
again after seein' foreign parts people'll roise up wi' torches and
pitchforks rather than risk seein' that trouble agin, you mark my
words.  A Baggins returnin' from foreign parts is bad news, an'
everyone knows it."
       "But is all that necessary?" Spiegel asked.  "After all, you
can just kill him here.  End of Frodo Baggins."
       "But there's others back in the Shire," Sam replied.  "Other
wealthy bastards there are, almost as bad as Mr Frodo.  I can't kill
them all on my own, now can I?  No, Spiegel, I need to start a fire
among the people, that'll kill 'em all.  An' to light that fire one
way or th' other I need Mr Frodo alive.  Damn him."
       Spiegel understood.  She said nothing.
       "But once the fire's lit I'll have th' satisfaction o' killing
him later," Sam added quietly.

       For an hour and yet another they continued.  Sam's legs were
in agony as they began to near the summit.  Even Spiegel, veteran of
many a piece of exercise equipment, was moving slowly and starting to
limp.  "Stairs," Sam began to mutter.  "I hate stairs."
       "I'll never be able to look at another stairmaster ever again,"
Spiegel gasped.
       Once again Spiegel was in front.  Sam again had a constant
view of her ass, but was now too tired from climbing to admire it.
On a few occasions they had to work around the edges of broken stairs
which had fallen long years ago.  Below they could see the terrifying
drop to the base of the Tower.  They tried not to look.
       As they stopped for a moment to catch their breath they went
silent.  Some eerie noise like a caw of terror came from above.  It
was followed by a caw of disgust.  "Come on!" Sam said quickly.
"It's Mr Frodo, I'd bet.  We've got to hurry!"
       There were only a few windings left of the great stair.
Spiegel and Sam hurried up the last coils of the stairway as best
they could.  Spiegel almost tripped and regained her footing.  As
Sam followed her he could see what had been in her path: a discarded
copy of Playtark opened to an overused centerfold and Frodo's shoes.
A feeling of dread horror and nausea came over him.  He hurried on.
       At the top of the stairs there was a black hatchway in a black
ceiling, the floor for the ancient parapet where Insultir once
purposed to grasp the stars and hang advertising from them.  The
hatchway closed for untold generations now stood open.  The deep
blue of the pre-dawn sky reached through it.  Spiegel went through
the hatchway, Sam heard her scream and then she turned back to the
opening with her hand over her mouth.  Sam heard voices as well.
A huge leathery voice yelled:
       "Get off!  Get off!"
       "Feathers," cried the voice of Frodo.  "Oh God, feathers!"
       "Leggo a me!  Leggo!"
       Sam darted the last few yards and was struck by revulsion at
what he saw.  A giant eagle, fully eighteen feet high, stood on the
great parapet trying to balance its weight on one leg.  On that leg
was Frodo, grasping the eagle with both arms and legs with erotic
rapture and desperation mixed on his sweaty face.  The eagle was
trying to pull Frodo off his leg with the claw of the other leg.
       "But feathers are erotic," Frodo whined.  "Pleease!"
       "Stop humping my leg!" screamed the giant bird.  "Stop it!
You there!  Will you get this thing off my leg!"
       Sam, knowing an order when he heard one, looked around and
found a 2x4 from a roof truss abandoned centuries ago.  He quickly
picked it up and hit Frodo with it as hard as he could.  In his erotic
desperation Frodo hardly noticed so Sam stuck the 2x4 between Frodo and
the eagle and pried him loose.
       "Oh God Sam," Frodo gasped.  "But I was so close."
       "Oh, shut up," Sam replied angrily.  "And put your pants on,
for God's sake.  Show some modesty."
       "You don't know the weight of my burden," Frodo continued.
"That single Eye taunts me day and night."
       "Ewwww," Spiegel said.
       "What you need is a cold shower.  Here," Sam replied, and he
unbelted his canteen and hit Frodo squarely in the face with it.
Frodo subsided into a fevered swoon which was an improvement.
       Sam stopped and looked around.  The place they found themselves
in was fully open to the sky, ringed by a stone wall roughly shoulder-
high and clearly unfinished.  Rusted tools and pieces of a roof that
was never built were lying off to one side.  There were low spots on
the wall where one could look down from the dizzying height if one
dared.  In the middle of the open room stood the eagle.
       Sam had heard stories about the eagles from Bilbo and Gandalf
and the Elves and had quite reasonably thought they were all a pack
of lies.  Yet here stood one of the great birds before him.  "Are
you real?" he brought himself to ask.
       "Are you?" the huge bird replied sarcastically.  "Am I real!
Your nature-boy buddy seems t'think I'm real enough.  Did you see
that!  Disgusting, I call it.  Good thing you got here when you did,
that's all I've got t'say."
       "Sorry about that," Sam answered.  "He's just some sort of
       "I noticed," the eagle replied.  The bird walked over to the
wall and began scraping his leg against the stone.  "Eucchhh.  I need
a bath.  First people to climb up here in two thousand years and one
of 'em's gotta be an aviophile.  Say," the eagle turned to Sam.  "Are
you with him?"
       "Uh," Sam replied, "no.  Well, sort of."
       "What are you up to?" the eagle said suspiciously.
       "Oh, nothing important, really," Sam replied looking away.
"Save the world, drop the Ring into Mordor, start a revolution, kill
a few hundred people.  That's all.  Nothing much, really."
       "Oh, is that all?" the eagle replied, looking relieved.  "Well,
good luck to you then."
       The eagle turned away, evidently done with the conversation.
It continued to examine and flex its leg.  Sam looked at Spiegel and
at the swooning Frodo and thought how nice it would be to get this
whole Mordor thing over with and start the Revolution.  He turned
again to the eagle.
       "Uh, Mr Eagle, sir," Sam began.
       "What?" the bird replied impatiently, looking up only briefly.
       "Well, uh, sir, would..."  Sam's mind raced through all the
drivel he had been forced to endure in Rivendell.  "Are you one of
the great eagles of the King of the West, chief of the Velour and
Lord of All Western Lands Until The End Of The World?"
       "Yeah," replied the eagle.  "So?"
       "Well," Sam said hesitantly, "I was sort of hoping that you
could, you know, maybe see your way clear to, uh, helping us on our
quest and flying us and the Ring into Mordor and, well, that sort of
       Sam took a breath to continue but stopped short as the eagle
gazed at him.  The look in the bird's eyes made him step back.  Sam
suddenly thought he should apologise and ask the bird to forget he'd
ever asked.  But the eagle spoke first.  "Quest, huh," it answered,
biting off the word quest like a cracker.  "Want me to help on a quest,
is that it?"
       "Well, I-"
       "Heh!" the eagle spat in disgust.  "'Oh Mister Eagle, there's
this quest, could you just fly me somewhere?'  'Oh Mister Eagle, could
you just take care of these wolves, we're on a quest you see'?  'Oh
cute little birdie, Manwe needs a favor, could you just swoop down like
an avenging army on these Orcs, you see it's for a quest?'  Think I
haven't heard it before?  Think we haven't been pressed into service
every time someone has a little problem?  Think we eagles have nothing
better to do with our time than fly around on quests?"
       "Well, uh," Sam stuttered, "I once heard that you sometimes-"
       "You once heard some stupid fairy-tale or another about how
your great grand-uncle the beer salesman invented fire and got saved
from some mountain trolls by, let me guess, an eagle!  A giant eagle
that outflew the wind and killed the stonetrolls and got your uncle
a beer and never accepted payment and flew away never to be seen again,
wasn't that it?"  The eagle sneered in disgust.  "Oh, yeah.  You know
all about eagles.  Everyone knows all about eagles."
       "I don't," Spiegel said, genuinely innocent.  "What about
       The eagle looked at Spiegel, startled.  It looked into her
eyes for a long moment.  Then its expression softened.  "You really
don't, do you?" it said.  "You haven't heard all the old stories."
       "No," Spiegel said.  "I didn't get out much."
       The eagle nodded.  Then it began to sing quietly.  It is said
by the loremasters that Lustianne of old taught the birds how to sing
and that in their voices one can hear the beauty of her voice but the
eagles must not have been there for class that day because this one's
song came out mainly as a series of harsh, rusty-sounding croaks:

       Far off in time     in ancient days
       When ancient powers     ruled the world
       Were eagles made.      They grew in strength
       And ate their food     from Manwe's hand.
       At least at first.      But then the King
       found work for us     and sent us off
       To watch the world     or guard some pass
       Or tidings bring.      And so we flew
       Like errand-boys     around the world
       To interfere     at Manwe's word.

       For years and years     as Ages passed
       We did the work.      The news we brought,
       The Dragons fought,     the heroes saved
       With never thanks.      And after time
       We formed resent.      The Gods all sat
       Upon their mountain     drinking beer
       While all the Eagles     did the work.
       "Oh Eagle, please     put out that fire,
       Get me a drink,     fetch me a sword!
       Be quick about it."     For all that
       Nobody ever     gave us thought,
       Sang out our tale,     wrote us a poem.
       Deus ex machina     was our fate.
       And yet we bore     indignities
       In stoic silence.      So it went
       Until Atlantis.
                           Then that fool
       Called Manwe got     this bright idea!
       "I'll scare those guys!     To them I'll send
       My eagles cloth'd     in clouds of night,
       And lightning will     fall from their crowns."
       And off we went.      That stupid fool!
       He gave no thought     to our well-being
       And sent us off     to Numenor
       With lightning-rods     and Van de Graffs
       To generate     electric charge,
       Uninsulated!   Scare the Men?
       We scared ourselves     and scarred ourselves
       Much worse than they.      And many died,
       like Thorondor     our mighty King
       Who took a hit,     was shocked, and burned
       And fell to ruin.      We left for good,
       And Manwe had     to sink them all
       Without our help.
                             And now we live
       in Middle-earth     on mountain-tops
       and hidden caves.      We answer not
       When Manwe calls.      We fly for fun
       And laugh at men     and steal their sheep.
       In legends we don't     interfere.
       We might fly out     and help someone
       Just for a laugh     or for a bribe
       Of mutton dear,     if such we seek.
       But "Ooo, a Quest!"     won't get you more
       than laughing scorn     or falling rocks.

What do you think?" the eagle concluded.
       "It's a bit long," Sam muttered.
       "Anyway, after that bit of Second Age stupidity we eagles
have kept mostly to ourselves.  It's nothing personal, but we've
gotta look out for ourselves, y'know.  It's kind of funny but-" the
eagle leaned a little closer to Spiegel and spoke conspiratorially,
"after we'd left, Manwe had t'do his own housekeeping as far as the
world's concerned, y'see?  He couldn't lean on us anymore, so now he
starts this new policy of 'Oh, don't want to go directly inter-
ferin' in the world any longer,' 'cause he don't want t'do it himself,
y'see? Personally, I think he's just a lazy bastard."
       "Oh," Sam said.  There wasn't much to say.
       "Well, thanks anyway," Spiegel said.  "I liked your story.
I'm sorry we intruded on your time."
       "Yeah, thanks a lot, sorry to disturb you, we'll just take our
pervert back downstairs now," Sam added.  Then he stopped.  He had
forgotten about the stairs.
       "Uh, Mr Eagle," he started again nervously.  "Do you think
you could just maybe fly us back to Minas Tirith™?  Or, well, just to
the base of the Tower?  I'll give you a sandwich.  It's got corned
beef, see, look."
       The eagle ignored him.
       "Oh, the stairs," Spiegel frowned.  "I'd forgotten about the
       The great bird looked up.  "You don't wanna take the stairs,
miss?" he asked her.  "Can I give you a ride to the ground?"
       "Oh, would you?" Spiegel smiled.
       "Happy to," the eagle replied.  "You're a good listener, and
you seem friendly.  And you didn't ask me to go on any quests," he
added, spitting out the word.  "Come on.  We can talk some more on the
way down."
       It seized her in a giant talon and stretched its mighty wings.
"Heh!  You don't weigh anything at all," it said.  Spiegel smiled
brightly and hugged the bird's ankle affectionately. They flew
gracefully over the wall.
       "When will you be back for us?" Sam called out.
       "Heh!" the eagle snorted.  "You two can walk."

       It was dusk of the next day before Frodo and Sam finally made
it back down the stairs.  "Ye'll never see me using a staircase again
for the rest o' my life," Sam grumbled.  "Not ever ever ever."
       "I don't know what's coming over me, Sam," Frodo said.  "I
think the Ring is affecting me.  All my thoughts are becoming twisted.
I fear I'm only going to get more perverse as we near Mordor."
       "Tough break for ye," Sam muttered.
       Frodo nodded.  "Last night as I was climbing the Tower I even
hallucinated.  I thought I heard you making love to that scarecrow.
Hah!  If you could even imagine that."
       Sam's eyes blazed red fury, but he said nothing.
       They came out the great doors and found Spiegel waiting for
them in the street.  "That eagle was so nice," she smiled.  "And
look!  He left us some mutton!  And he gave me a card with the name
of a good therapist on it."
       Frodo almost replied, but a sudden elbow from Sam cut him
off.  "Oh, sorry, Master," he said with only a little biting irony.

       Later on they found the bridges to Minas Tirith™ were all out,
and so they unwillingly went back to the cross-roads from whence they
came.  Late on the third night they made it back to the crossing,
where they found Gullible sitting on a rock idly drumming his fingers.
       "'Sss about time you made it back, saddam," he hissed.

Book IV, Chapter Nine / Table of Contents / Book IV, Chapter Eleven
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This chapter of this epic work is presented through the courtesy of Gimlet <gimlet122-aaaaaaat-my-deja-dawt-com>. Copyright © 2001 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. Minas Tirith™ is a trademark of Saul Zaentz and Tolkien Enterprises, who hold all merchandising rights to Gondor™ and its subsidiaries. Find out now why the Middle-Earth Audobon Society enjoys the popularity it does! Meet a giant eagle of Manwe! Talk to one of the talking ravens of Esgaroth! Confront one of the man-eating pelicans of Belfalas! Call 1-800-AUDOBON and ask for the Exiles of Numenor tour.