Disclaimer: We don't own the Fellowship, or the one ring… otherwise, we'd rule you all… and in the darkness bind them.  But ANYWAY…

This is dedicated to all the enthusiasts who actually tried to walk on snow after seeing the movie.  Here's to you!  (Not like we did that or anything… besides we were too heavy.)

The Legacy of…

The TRUTH About the Ring!!

Chapter 1

            Frodo Baggins: A responsible hobbit.  Considerate, trustworthy, nice, compassionate, and in general, a fun guy… or so you THOUGHT!

The TRUTH About Frodo!!

            "What are we going to do with him?" Drogo Baggins despaired.  His only son, Frodo (age 3), was ripping out the neighbor's flowerbed… again.  "Frodo!  Stop that!"

            The tiny hobbit galloped to his father's side obediently and stared with wide, innocent eyes.

            "What did I tell you about destroying other people's property?" Drogo scolded wearily.

            Young Frodo looked thoughtful.  "The Tooks did it!"

            "There are no Tooks living in Brandy Hall… and I saw you ruin those flowers."

            Frodo didn't concede to the logic… and the insanity wore on…

            And on… and on… and on…

            Years later:

            "Please take him, Bilbo, please!" Drogo and Primula pleaded with their relative.  "You're the only one who can handle our Frodo, what with your adventures with dragons and all!"

            "He can't be that much of a terror, can he?" Bilbo realized the understatement as a clattering sound erupted from his cozy bag-end kitchen.

            "The Tooks did it!" A small voice (belonging to someone age 10 or 11) drifted to them.

            "Why does he do that?" Primula looked pale.  "I never taught him to blame others… particularly the Tooks."

            "Neither did I.  But it's out of our hands now." Drogo said.  "Won't you take him, Bilbo?  Aren't you tired of living all alone in this great big hobbit-hole?"

            Bilbo considered the potential of having someone permanent around, keeping him company.  He figured a young hobbit like Frodo would become docile enough with the promise of good stories (complete with dragons and dwarves) and he began to feel that this might be a wonderful idea.  But then he witnessed his curtains being torn from the wall, cascading to the floor fluidly.  Frodo offered a small grievance about the Tooks as he scrambled away from the curtains, seeking his next prey.

            "We'd never ask for anything again." Primula promised blandly, watching a new disaster unfold in the sitting room.

            "Keep him for just a while," Drogo reasoned.  "A trial period.  And if it doesn't work out you can send him right back to Brandy Hall and you'll never have to bother with the affair again!  Just do this little thing for us, Bilbo."

            Moving swiftly, Bilbo retrieved a flying book, placing it back onto his mantelpiece carefully.  "Very well.  We'll see what a nice quiet life in Hobbiton will do for Fro-"

            "Darn Tooks!" A very convincing lament explained the tossing of the book.

            The exhausted parents thanked Bilbo profusely, promising him all their help and support whenever he might look for it.  Naturally, they both split town the next day, changed their names and were never heard from in the Shire again.  A clever little tale was devised which spoke of their unfortunate drowning, undoubtedly fabricated by Drogo and Primula themselves to throw off the trail.

            Years passed, and Frodo proved a difficult child in the beginning.  But with Bilbo's guidance, and a few calm friends to accompany him, he soon became a respectable member of hobbit society, even shaking the nasty habit of blaming random (or not so random) occurrences on the Tooks… although extreme cases would bring out the mysterious habitude from time to time.

            He took to frolicking all over the Shire with some friends, including Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took… the latter of which often rekindled Frodo's bad Took-blaming manner.

            Eventually, Bilbo left Hobbiton and Frodo inherited bag-end and most of the old hobbit's possessions… including a rather shiny gold ring that some wizard named Gandalf liked to rant about.  Frodo would have to admit that he just tuned-out Gandalf's endless chattering about what appeared to be a boring piece of jewelry, but he was good at pretending to listen.

            "Keep it secret!  Keep it safe!" Gandalf advised.

            "Uh-huh." Frodo replied brainlessly, stirring the soup he was making for dinner.

            "Do not behave suspiciously!"

            "Uh-huh."

            "And be wary of whom you seek friendship and counsel!"

            "Uh-huh." The hobbit began searching the pantry with a bored expression.

            "You haven't heard a word I've said, have you, Frodo?"

            "Uh-huh."

            "We may be facing grave disaster… peril… oh the horror!"

            "Uh-huh.  Staying for some soup, Gandalf?"

            But the wizard did not stay for dinner!  And he was not back for breakfast or lunch the next day!  Or second-breakfast and supper and teatime and picnic in the sun.  He missed seventeen years of desserts and midnight snacks and really yummy banana bread that tastes oh-so-good with brunch.  In short, he took some snacks for the road and didn't return to the Shire for a while.

            Seventeen years later:

            "Is it secret?!  Is it safe?!" Gandalf broke into bag-end to deliver those heartfelt words.

            "Eep!" Frodo jumped.  "All these years in Middle-Earth and you've never learned to knock!"

            "Where is the ring?"

            "Huh?"

            "The ring!"

            "Gandalf!" Frodo noticed.  "You have become old and… gray…"

            The wizard looked rather tormented.  "I've always been gray.  You weren't paying attention seventeen years ago."

            "Seventeen years!" The hobbit looked panicked.  "Oh my god, the soup's still on!" He hustled to the stove, and sure enough, his soup remained, moldy and boiled over.  "This must be Pippin's doing!"

            "Forget the soup.  I have some pre-apocalyptic mumbo-jumbo to fill you in on so you might embark on an epic adventure!"

            There was painful silence.  "So then… you want some toast, then?"

            "No!  This is serious!  We're talking about the end of the world, and all of our hopes might just rest on you!"

            Another awkward silence.  "Well if you're holding out for dessert just tell me.  I have some lovely, fresh cakes in the oven!"

            A muffled sound of delight wafted through the open window.  Without warning, Samwise Gamgee bolted into the kitchen, opening and peering into the oven hopefully.

            "Er… hello?" Frodo took a step backwards, noticing the unpleasant smell erupting from the open stove.

            "Ewww!" Sam exclaimed, slamming the oven door shut again.  "Those cakes are at least five years old!  I thought you said they were fresh!"

            "I don't remember saying that to you… who are you and what are you doing in my nice clean kitchen!?"

            "I will now make a few points!" Gandalf seized the opportunity.  "Firstly, this is Sam, and you hired him years ago as a gardener!"

            "Oh yeah." Frodo looked relieved.  "You've aged the way my soup did!"

            "HEY!"

            "Secondly, your kitchen is a terrible mess, and couldn't be considered clean by the sloppiest of trolls."

            "Oh yeah.  I guess that means I never hired a housemaid?"

            "And thirdly, YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO MY FREAKY STORY!" The wizard demanded.  "Both of you sit down and stop being stupid."

            Thusly, Gandalf told scary stories to Frodo and Sam, depicting a rather horrible foe in Mordor who wanted the shiny ring to take over the world with.  It didn't seem to make any sense, but in the end, Frodo and Sam agreed to journey a ridiculously long journey without guide or proper rations.  And then they shrugged and departed.  (But not before stuffing the pot of soup into a sack and bringing it along.)

            The road was long and smelly (thanks to the moldy soup), but the Shire is nice and Frodo and Sam had a good time marching through the scenery.  They crossed a field and then…

            "Mr. Frodo, where'd you go!?" Sam freaked out, searching left and right.  The view was mostly blocked by Farmer Maggot's corn stalks.

            Frodo waltzed back into Sam's sight carrying a load of carrots and cabbages.  "I'm right here!  I didn't go anywhere… and would you mind reminding me who you are?"

            "Frodo!" Sam gasped.  "How could you steal that food?"

            "I…" He tried to explain that he had been a rotten child and still had problems suppressing his bad habits from time to time.  "Well… I didn't…"

            Sam looked unconvinced as Merry and Pippin came strolling by.

            "You see," Frodo continued, shoving the armful of vegetables into a very surprised Pippin's hands.  "Pippin did it!"

            "Eh?" The Took blinked at him.

            "Er… how exactly do you explain that, Mr. Frodo?" Sam looked confused.

            "Tooks are nothing but trouble.  Shame on you, you food thief!" Frodo looked disgusted.

            "What the?" Merry scrutinized the scene.  "What are you doing?"

            "Woof woof!" A vicious sound blared from someplace nearby.  "Snarl, woof!"

            "Those are Farmer Maggot's mean dogs!" Sam said as he abandoned the other hobbits in favor of dashing away.  "They catch thieves!"

            Frodo followed closely, yelling to the hounds.  "Pippin did it!!"

            And so the four hobbits fled, and (according to Peter Jackson's interpretation) Merry and Pippin decided to follow Frodo and Sam to Bree for absolutely no good reason.

            "I think we should follow you guys for no good reason." Merry said.

            "Sounds like a plan!" The others agreed.

            Now would be a good time to point out that Tolkien's trilogy amasses over one thousand pages including appendixes and fancy fonts.  I have no intention of writing thousands of pages, and fancy fonts don't upload well, so in short, I'm going to skip ahead now.

            Abridged section: They get to Bree.  Frodo boogies on a table and draws too much attention.  Strider scolds the living daylights out of all of them.  Butterbur thinks he remembers something but… nah.  Black Riders are foiled by Strider's (or is that Aragorn's?) clever plotting.  They leave Bree.

            Really abridged section: Walking.  More walking.  Uh-oh!  Black Riders with swords.  Weathertop.  OUCH!  Athelas.  Horse.  Galloping.  Defiant last stand.  Big-old wave.  Bye-bye, Black Riders.

            Ridiculously condensed abridged section: Rivendell.  Council.  Dwarf-guy.  Elf-guy.  Shifty human-guy.  Wizard-guy.  Fellowship.  Tootsie Rolls.  Mt. Doom.  Whatever.  "I will take the ring… although I do not know the way… because of Pippin!"  They go.

            Anyway, the Fellowship started their perilous journey, questioning Frodo's sanity every now and again.

            "Why'd you put that stone there, Pippin?!" Frodo fumed upon stubbing his toe on a rock.

            Pippin looked mildly shocked, but he was becoming accustomed to these outbursts.  "I didn't.  It was already there."

            "Stop pestering the ring-bearer!" Gandalf ordered.

            "But I…"

            "Yeah!" Frodo interrupted.  "Stop bugging me."

            Merry looked cross.  "Is this some kind of conspiracy or something?  Pippin didn't do anything!"

            "We should make camp here." Legolas announced.

            "Eh?  We've only been traveling a couple hours." Gimli reasoned.

            "Are we breaking for thoughtful conversation?" Gandalf asked.

            "Is it time to polish our nifty swords?" Aragorn looked pleased.

            "Second breakfast?" The hobbits asked.

            "Pit-stop?" Boromir asked.

            "No," Legolas responded calmly.  "There is a piece of dirt on my face.  I must cease marching for a time and wash my face multiple times so that I am shiny and beautiful again."

            Everybody looked disgusted.

            That night, after Legolas had called a timely halt for pedicures, Frodo snuck off into the dark of the night all by himself, and unnoticed by the rest of the Fellowship.  He returned very soon, whistling innocently and went to sleep.

            "We should all vote on whether we go over Caradhras or through Moria." Aragorn informed the sun-stricken party.  "Let's see hands for Caradhras.  Remember, I think the mountain is a better way to go."

            Aragorn, Boromir, and Legolas raised their hands.

            Gandalf sighed.  "You fools.  Moria is clearly the better route.  Hands for Moria?"

            Gandalf, Gimli, Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin raised their hands.

            The ranger counted carefully while Gandalf looked smug.  "Hm.  Well… short people don't count.  We're going up the mountain."

            "HEY!" Gimli growled.  "We're not short!"

            "Yeah," Frodo sniffed.  "We're vertically challenged."  And then he shot a sideways glance.  "Did you have something to do with that, Pippin?!"

            "What, with our being short?" Pippin answered.

            "We're not short!" Gimli repeated.  "Everybody else is just… just…"

            "Taller than you." Legolas filled in, looking stuck-up.  "Now come.  We must continue our quest."

            And they did!

            "What'd I tell you!" Gandalf accused Aragorn.  "Coming up this mountain was a bad idea."

            The snow on Caradhras was well over four feet high, consequently looming over the shorter… I mean 'vertically challenged' members of the Fellowship.

            "Better than crawling through some stinky old cave," Aragorn retorted.  "I wouldn't even be doing this if the fate of the entire world didn't depend on this quest… and the Ring.  I'd be at home watching Friends, dang it!"

            "It's true." Boromir looked at the miles of snow angrily.  "If it weren't for the Ring-"

            "Dang it!" Frodo interrupted.  "We forgot the Ring."

            "WHAT?!" Gandalf fumed.  "What do you mean we forgot it?"

            "That's nothing!" Sam looked miserable.  "I forgot rope.  I know I'll need it if I haven't got it."

            Everybody looked at him sourly.

            "I think I saw the ring last when we were camping outside Rivendell.  You know, when Legolas was doing everybody's fingernails?" Frodo explained.

            "I remember." Gimli groaned.  "Why did you have to use pink, you worthless elf?!"

            Legolas shrugged.  "It's your color."

            Gandalf threw up his hands.  "There's nothing for it.  We'll have to go scour the countryside now, and just hope that evil hasn't reached the Ring of Power yet.  But I am terribly disappointed in this irresponsibility."

            "Pippin did it." Frodo said quickly.

            "What?  I didn't…"

            "What were you thinking, man?" Gandalf scolded.  "I should toss you off this mountain!"

            Frodo snickered.

            "But I didn't do it!" Pippin protested.  "I spent that whole day trying to scrape off Legolas' nail polish!"

            "Do not lie to me!"

            And so they went all the way back down.

            "That's insane." Boromir shaded his eyes against the sun as he gazed upwards.  "It's impossible."

            "Pippin… how did you do that?" Frodo shook his head scornfully.

            "I tell you I didn't!" Pippin was also looking up.  "I couldn't do that!  I'm afraid of heights!"

            "Wow." Sam could barely see the glint of the Ring, high above everybody's heads.  "I've never seen a ring in a tree before!"

            "Oh, I have." Aragorn said snootily.  "I've seen everything."

            "Shut up." Gimli looked annoyed.  "You have not seen a Ring of Power in a tree.  Especially not at the very top of one of the tallest trees in Middle Earth."

            And so it was.  Legolas had spied a golden glimmer on the tip of a tall tree and had identified it as the wayward ring.  How it got up there was a great mystery to them all… except maybe Frodo, but he wasn't telling.

            "This is a puzzle without an answer." Gandalf said.  "What we really should be pondering is how to get the Ring down again."

            "I can do it." Gimli shouldered his axe.  "We're only one or two chops away from reclaiming that ring!"

            "Why don't you let me shoot it down?" Legolas whined.  "I haven't gotten to shoot anything for days!"

            "We could lose the Ring either way." Aragorn reasoned.  "I will climb the tree."

            "Fools." Gandalf muttered.  "There is an easy solution."

            Frodo looked teary eyed.  "I want my Ring of Power back!"

            "Don't worry, Mr. Frodo." Sam said helpfully.

            Frodo glared at him suspiciously.  "Who in Middle Earth are you, anyway?  And why have you been following us around?"

            As might be suspected (if this was more like the real books) Sam was devastated.  "Your faithful servant and friend, Samwise Gamgee!"

            "Never heard of him."

            Gimli, Legolas, and Aragorn argued heatedly over the best method of retrieving the ring.  They compromised in the end, and decided they would have a free-for-all, and whoever got to the ring first would get the others' share of Tootsie Rolls.  "May the best man win." Aragorn said.

            "You mean best elf."

            "Best dwarf!"

            "And… go!" Merry waved a little flag, signaling the competitors to begin.

            Aragorn sprinted to the base of the great tree, scaling it easily.

            Legolas began to take precise aim of the miniscule target, knowing well that a slight miscalculation would lose him all the Tootsie Rolls in his backpack.

            Gimli took long, powerful strokes with his axe against the tree.

            "This is insane." Boromir said to the hobbits.  "Does this seem like a bad idea to anybody else?"

            "We should have made Frodo get it back." Pippin looked crankily at the ring-bearer.  "He put it up there in the first place, you know."

            "You did it, and you know it." Frodo said quietly.

            "Almost have it!" Aragorn had reached an unstable part of the tree and was trying to compensate for the swaying (partially from the wind, partially from Gimli's efforts).

            "Wind conditions…" Legolas muttered.  "Carefully… precisely… perfectly… hey, there's dirt on my bow!" He brought out a rag from his sack and started cleaning the bow.

            "Hah!" The dwarf chopped enthusiastically.  "This tree has more strength to it than I thought!"

            "I'm never going to see my Ring of Power again." Frodo frowned at the spectacle.

            "Worry not." Gandalf said suddenly.  "I see the solution has arrived."

            "Success!" Aragorn announced.  "I win!"  He reached for the Ring slowly, ignoring the great shadow that passed over the land.

            "Success!" Gimli held his axe over his head.  "Never before has such a tree been felled so quickly!"

            "Success!" Legolas released the singing arrow.  "Never before has an arrow been fired with such precision!"

            Gandalf shook his head.  "Kids these days."

            Just as Aragorn began to close his hand around the small jewelry, a talon snatched it from his reach and carried it away.  "No!"

            And then Legolas succeeded.  The arrow embedded itself in the tip of the tree trunk… which in turn helped Gimli to succeed, because the tree couldn't take anymore stress.

            "Hm." Boromir smirked.  "The mighty king of Gondor, eh?"

            "Ahhhh!" Aragorn held on tight as the tree tipped over to the ground.  The thud was felt all the way in Lothlorien.

            "I can feel it in the earth." Galadriel clasped her hands together and gazed out into the eternal evening of the wood.  "I smell it in the wind.  I sense it in the very essence of Middle Earth." She paused for dramatic effect.  "Indeed, I even read it in the script.  I perceive that a great tree has fallen… by means of a single arrow… the most precise ever shot… and a great axe… such strength!  But ah, pity the fool who was in that aged tree." She closed her eyes.

            "What is it you speak of?" Celeborn regarded her.

            "I believe we shall learn more of this.  But make no mistake… it was a kingly thud that I felt."