"It's a good thing I had my seatbelt on!" Legolas dusted himself off thankfully, standing safely next to the remainders of the Fellowship.
Aragorn regarded the totaled car thoughtfully. "That was the most action-packed escape of my life! Nobody should miss hearing about it!"
"They won't." Sam grimaced at the defeated Balrog. "It's the best part of the whole story, anyhow."
"We're all here, then?" Merry began counting heads.
"Except for my personal fortune teller, Gandalf." Frodo does the whole 'crying kid in a third world country' thing. "Gandalf's dead, and Bilbo's a senile old fart. Somebody please adopt me!"
"Fret not!" Aragorn patted him on the back so hard he fell over. "I will lead the quest!" He flashed some brilliantly white teeth to compliment his moment of glory.
"And there's the exit now!" Gimli pointed, relieved. "It's certainly fortunate that I was able to handle the car with such unswerving skill, that we were able to put an end to that foul beast of nightmare! Long live the dwarves!"
"Uh… yeah." Pippin sighed. "Can we just go now?"
"Somebody should consider making this a new contest for the Shire's parties!" Merry huffed. "They could call it 'Tug of Dwarf'."
"Not funny." Boromir complained, trying desperately to pull Gimli by the arm.
"Come on, it's just another forest!" Aragorn reasoned, dragging the dwarf's other arm compellingly.
Gimli displayed some classic dwarven personality, stubbornly planting his boots into the soft earth just outside the entrance to the wood in question. "I will not go, you can't make me!"
"But it's a beautiful place!" Legolas insisted, doing his part by pushing Gimli from behind. "And we have to pass through."
Aragorn marveled at the dwarf's resistance to the three strong companions efforts. They had made small progress, and Gimli had barely moved past the original spot where he had stopped short. "What's the matter, anyway? Do you feel that this forest is possessed?"
"Not at all. It's just that I heard some rather conspicuous breathing coming from that general direction," he pointed. "And I'm guessing there are a troop of elves in wait to ambush us."
The troop in question emerged from their concealed place in the wood, letting their bows hang loosely by their sides. "Awh. How'd you guess?"
"Elves are noisy."
It was fortunate for the Fellowship, because the new elven acquaintances were willing to show them the way to their grand dwelling Lothlorien. Providing that the Fellowship abided by a few old woodland traditions.
"The dwarf will need to wear this blindfold, as none of his kind are permitted to see the glorious trail to Lothlorian." One of the new elves explained, holding out a purple blindfold and looking superior.
Gimli responded badly to this blatant racism, gripping his axe hilt and eying the forest dwellers angrily.
"Then," Legolas noticed the dwarf's fury, and decided to lighten the atmosphere. "We shall all be blinded, because we travel as one. Though I dearly regret missing the trees."
"You all would do that?" Another of the stranger elves looked suddenly excited. "You will all wear the blindfolds?"
"Of course." Aragorn nodded. "Come Gimli, will you go now?"
Gimli released the hilt, and looked slightly consoled.
"Very well!" The elves clasped their hands, strangely delighted. "If that is the case, we can carry on with our other important traditions!"
Frodo was about to ask what the other traditions were, when an elf began roughly tying a piece of cloth over his eyes.
"Now, none of you can see?" The elf's voice asked the sightless Fellowship.
"No. We can't see. Would you please lead us through the forest?" Boromir held out both of his hands searchingly, still getting used to the blindness.
Sam felt one of the elves grab his wrist firmly. Instead of guiding him through the wood, however, the elf began twirling him around and around.
"Hey!" Sam heard Frodo complain, obviously being treated to the same dizzying treatment. "What are you doing? Is that you, Pippin!?"
Pippin could barely let out a "No," before everyone heard him thud onto the soft earth, probably from dizziness.
"This is one of Lothlorien's sacred traditions!" One of the elves explained, trying his best to make Legolas dizzy. Legolas seemed immune, however.
The whole Fellowship was subjected to the strange 'tradition' before Merry was finally handed some small, object with a sharp end.
"What is this?"
"You must move forward and stick it into the tree in front of you." The explanation was hardly satisfactory.
"This is our tradition. Do it!"
Merry shrugged, and put out his empty hand to feel towards this supposed tree. He was quite disoriented after all the spinning, and marveled at how uneven the forest floor seemed all of a sudden. His fingertips finally brushed against rough bark. "You want me to put this on the tree?"
"Just do it, so we can get on with the quest!" Aragorn advised.
Merry had the strange impression that, were he to remove the blindfold, he would find everybody else standing around him, laughing. He stuck the sharp end of the unknown object into the tree, anyway, feeling foolish.
"Ah, very good!" The nearest elf exclaimed happily. "Now the dwarf's turn!"
Gimli repeated the activity, grumbling about how useless it seemed.
Boromir followed, then Pippin, and then Sam. Everything seemed to be going quite smoothly for the elves' 'tradition…' at least until they got to Frodo.
"I don't wanna… it's stupid, and I can't even see what I'm doing!" He argued, as another mysterious object was placed in his hand. It felt something like a fabric paintbrush with a nail through one end.
Someone pushed the stubborn halfling gently from behind, urging him to complete the task.
Frodo dug his feet (have I mentioned how large his feet are?) into a clump of pine needles, which gave no traction. The hands on his back kept pushing him forward.
"You know, Merry," Frodo said. "What you were saying earlier, about the Shire's parties? Doesn't this situation seem to correspond with that somehow?"
The other hobbit thought about it. "What do you mean?"
"Blindfolds… being dizzy…" Despite Frodo's struggles, he could feel his nose pressing against the target tree. "This seems just like…" He obstinately ripped the blindfold from his eyes.
The elves, who were moments before giggling and smiling, all broke into gasps. "He took off the blindfold! He's cheating!"
Frodo used his reclaimed vision to examine the tree. He had to take a few steps backwards to get a good look, since the elves had pushed him right up against it.
"Frodo!" Legolas was wailing. "You've disrespected the elves!"
"I think it's the other way around." Frodo scowled, examining the object in his hand. "Pin the tail on the donkey, huh?"
That seemed to be the last clue Boromir needed. He also removed the blind and stared in disbelief at the scene.
There was a wide tree with a crudely designed donkey traced on its bark with chalk, but the kicker was the fabric tails stuck in random places around it. The Lothlorian elves looked moderately horrified, and there was a trio a distance off preparing a piñata and some bats.
"So!" Gimli blinked against the light, blindfold in his hand. "Some tradition!"
One of the pranksters looked humbly at the angry visitors, all of which were tearing their blindfolds off. "We can explain."
Legolas shook his head. "Please do! The elves in Mirkwood would never hear of such nonsense!"
"Well, you see," The elf studied his shoe as he traced a line in the dirt with his toe. "Parties just aren't any fun around here! None of the elves can become dizzy!"
"Of course they can't." Legolas snorted knowledgably. "We're always perfectly balanced!"
"So when we saw some foreigners, we thought…"
"Haldir!!" A sonorous new voice exclaimed angrily. "Please say that my eyes, and extra sensory perceptions are deceiving me!"
"Lady Galadriel!" Haldir turned, looking embarrassed as though caught raiding a cookie jar. "What are you doing away from your realm?"
"A more valuable question," The white-clad lady of the wood replied silkily. "Would be one addressed to you."
The elves trembled. "What might that be?"
"What are my officers of the border doing, disfiguring our ancient trees in such a manner? Those punctures may never heal." She looked sorrowful. "And certainly, we will never see them repaired during our remaining stay in Middle-Earth."
"Pippin did it." Frodo nodded, as if sympathizing with Galadriel's grief.
She turned as though on wheels to take in the Fellowship. "The travelers. I have been expecting you for some time. Perhaps after my kin do what they can to fix this disappointment, they may attempt their duties and escort you to my home." She departed after giving a dangerous glance to Haldir, who was already desperately trying to scrape chalk off the tree.
It's about time for some more abridgements, don't you agree? Right then, let's get on with it: Celeborn welcomes the Fellowship to Lothlorian, while Galadriel reads everyone's minds and implants subtle 'eat at Joe's' messages in the backs of their subconscious. Legolas jumps for joy all over the place, nearly falling over a ledge when distracted by a spiffy looking tree.
And now as expected, I skip to a faster method: Mirror. Premonitions. Temptation. Freak-out mode. Passed the test. Lembas. Boats. Presents. Goodbye.
"What are you doing!?" Sam waved his hands frantically, rocking the boat that he, Frodo, and Aragorn were sharing.
"Me?" Frodo quickly retrieved the Ring from falling into the river, where he had been letting it dangle. "Nothing. Who are you? How'd you get into this boat without swimming out to us? You should be all wet."
Sam sighed, a little green from the sickening sway of the boat. "I got on when you did. I can't swim, Mr. Frodo."
"Aha!" Frodo pointed at him, as though that was a startling revelation.
"Keep it down." Aragorn growled, paddling the boat along. "We're coming up to a nifty landmark that I want to see."
And so there was. Two towering statues, on both riverbanks. Men carved from stone, with their hands outstretched greeted the journeyers.
"They're very ancient." Aragorn informed the uninterested hobbits. "How I've longed to… here now, what's going on?"
Both statues spontaneously sank down to the depths of the river, and out of sight. A few curious bubbles played around the surface where they once were.
Frodo rose to his feet, grasping the edge of the boat with one hand and pointing venomously to another of the boats with his other. "Pippin did it!!"
"He did not!" Merry called back, shaking his fist.
(A/N: Why did that happen? Simple. A group of efficient dwarves were tunneling out a new cave deep beneath the waterbed, and decided to make the statues decorations for their new living room. Naturally!)
"I see strange looking orcs approaching from the other side of the river," Legolas informed Aragorn. They were anchoring their boats to the shore.
"A few hours. They are unlike any orcs I've ever seen. And they have… hotdogs with them."
Gimli rolled his eyes. "Are you trying to make us believe that you can see a troupe of orcs hours in the distance so well, you can even make out their lunch!?"
Legolas looked offended. "Of course not."
"I thought you might be exaggerating," Gimli nodded.
"Quite the opposite. I can also make out the ketchup, mustard, and each individual onion on said hotdogs." Legolas shielded his eyes from the sun. "Not to mention the sesame seeds on the hotdog buns."
Gimli looked murderous, and most of the Fellowship attempted to prevent a battle between the elf and dwarf. Thus it was that they missed Frodo and Boromir exiting the group.
Frodo looked back and forth hopefully, holding the Ring in front of him with two fingers. "Let's see now." He was disappointed that there weren't any ridiculously tall trees to leave the Ring in, and it was long past time for him to try something obnoxious.
"Frodo?" Boromir had emerged from the wood (darn those short trees!) apparently searching for firewood. "You shouldn't go wandering off all by yourself."
Frodo retracted the ring and balled both his fists, looking like a child going into a tantrum. "No! You can't have it!!"
Boromir looked confused. "What?"
"You won't take the Ring from me! I won't let you!"
"The Ring?" Boromir looked at the firewood he had collected so far. "Actually, I just want to start a fire."
Frodo looked evil. "You can't fool me! I know what you're planning!"
"Huh?" Boromir dropped the wood as Frodo suddenly disappeared into thin air. "Frodo!? Gurk."
"Hmph," Frodo exclaimed, pulling Sting from Boromir's lifeless body. "Uh…" He suddenly realized that in a fit of strangeness, he had killed a member of the Fellowship. "Well… Pippin did it!" That settled, he skipped back to resume the group.
"Well," Legolas continued spying at the orcs. "It seems they've all eaten their hotdogs now. They'll need to make a snack stop."
"This is ridiculous!" Gimli raged.
"Hm, I thought so." Legolas said snootily. "They're going to Sonic for some hamburgers. We don't have to worry about them anymore."
"Why not?" Aragorn didn't look convinced.
"Because Sonic has such slow service!" (A/N: Not really. It just so happens that the day I wrote this I mysteriously waited about twenty minutes for a cherry coke.)
"Oh…" Aragorn turned from the elf, whose sanity he was questioning, and saw Frodo returning. "Hey, we were looking for you!"
Frodo nodded distractedly, seating himself in the midst of the (remaining) Fellowship, turning the Ring over and over in his hand. "Oh?"
"Yes!" Sam exhaled. "We thought that maybe Boromir had cornered you and tried to take the Ring or some such far-fetched thing. Nothing like that happened, did it, Mr. Frodo?"
The ring-bearer stared at Sam as though he were a total stranger that had started gibbering a foreign language at him. "What? Who the heck are you!?"
Pippin grabbed Frodo's shoulders roughly and gave him a few shakes. "It's Sam! Sam! Sam! Say it!"
"Aaaaaiiiiiii!" Frodo responded to the shaking with a wail. "Let go of me, you filthy murderer!"
The other companions exchanged confused looks.
"Murderer?" Merry prompted.
"You may have gotten away with stabbing Boromir in the woods," Frodo heaved, still fiddling with the Ring. "But you're not going to kill me so easily! I'm on to you!" He took in the unconvinced faces of those around him and added, "Pippin did it!"
"Not that we should be taking any of this seriously," Gimli said. "But where is Boromir?"
"You don't actually think…" Pippin started, feeling as if on trial. "I mean… none of you guys would think I was capable of killing… you don't, right?"
"Ha ha!" Frodo pointed at the Took. "You see? Pippin did it!"
Aragorn sighed gravely. He was becoming terribly sick of hobbits. "We need to check and see if there's anything that's been 'done' at all. You mentioned the woods, Frodo?"
"Yes!" He pointed excitedly. "Right through there! Why'd you do it, Pippin?"
Pippin searched the ground for a good-sized rock, but decided it was a bad time to be acting violently and let the thought of crunching Frodo's head with a rock drop. "Well, I didn't do anything."
They all marched in the direction Frodo pointed to make sure.
A dead silence invaded the scene. Even birds and insects refused to chirp at the moment, allowing the lessened Fellowship a moment of shock at the discovery of Boromir's dead body.
Frodo threw his hand over his mouth in mock horror, even calling forth a bit of moisture in his eyes, but that was an old trick that he'd perfected a long time ago.
Pippin was feeling rather uncomfortable about the fact that he had a knife at his belt at the moment, and that the victim had been stabbed to death. It was just too great of a coincidence for Frodo to prey upon, so he decided to break the un-middle-earthy silence. "I didn't kill him! I was with you guys the whole time, and we all know that Frodo was missing for a while!"
"Are you accusing Frodo!?" Sam bristled, inching closer to his master 'just in case.'
"Well it just makes sense…"
"Can anybody say for sure that Frodo wasn't with us, and Pippin was missing during the time of the murder?" Legolas narrowed his eyes shiftily.
Aragorn shrugged. "All hobbits look the same to me. Could have been."
"I didn't notice." Gimli added.
"Sam," Pippin said desperately. "You knew Frodo was gone! You were calling him! Tell them that I was there, and Frodo was in the forest!"
Sam opened his mouth to speak, but Frodo suddenly interrupted him. "I was taking a nap near the shore and was definitely nowhere near the forest… remember? Sam?"
"He remembers me!" Sam rejoiced, hands clasped. "He knows who I am!"
"Yeah!" Frodo stuck his tongue out at Pippin… victory was near! "So clear my name, Sam old buddy! Tell them how you saw Pippin sneaking off into the woods… and about how you saw me sleeping innocently away from any crime scenes."
The Took's jaw dropped. "Sam… you wouldn't…"
"Well," Sam looked momentarily plagued with guilt, but that melted into pure joy that Frodo was being his friend. "I did see Pippin leave… and Boromir, too. And good Mr. Frodo, he was just snoozing away, after all that scary boating we did. I'd testify that he was too tired to kill anybody."
"Now wait a minute!" Merry interjected, alarmed. "That's a lie! Pippin was with us! I was talking to him!"
"Yeah, listen to Merry!" Pippin nodded hopefully. "He knows everything!"
"Everything, huh?" Aragorn considered the different statements shrewdly. "I find it strange that a hobbit could slay a man of Gondor at any rate. Meriadoc?"
"If I were to ask you, which of the hobbits of this company would be most capable of accomplishing such a task, which would you say? After all, you know everything." The ranger added the last with a sarcastic grin.
"Er…" Merry thought about this. "Well… I have to admit that Frodo seems kind of weak…"
"Pippin did it." Frodo agreed, becoming more confident by the moment.
"Merry!?" The Took despaired.
"Well? You are the tallest and strongest out of us!" Merry explained guiltily. "That's just what you get for being born a Took!"
"That settles it for me." Legolas said with closure.
"I can't believe it." Gimli shook his head at Pippin regretfully. "How dishonorable."
"Must have stabbed him in the back." Aragorn commented, trying to maintain the pride of Gondor. (Can't have halflings picking off members of the great race of men, now can we?)
Pippin suddenly found himself surrounded by the taller members of the group… and Sam who was thrilled that Frodo was no longer suspected. "What are you going to do?"
"Well, we can't take you with us." Legolas said coldly. "Never know when you could 'snap' and murder us in our sleep. That would ruin my hair!"
"Agreed." Aragorn said. "Well… not about the hair, but…"
Merry was infuriated. "Are you all crazy!? Frodo set this up!"
Frodo just smiled in satisfaction, twirling the Ring around.
"We can't let you go." Gimli continued the sentencing. "We don't need another stalker hiding in the shadows."
"Yeah," Aragorn agreed. "We've already got Gollum for that. So we can't take you, and we can't let you go…" He seemed to have difficulty coming up with a suitable solution.
"Ooo!" Legolas exclaimed loudly. "I haven't shot anything for hours! I've been dying to try out this nifty bow that the Lothlorien elves made especially for me!" He looked uncharacteristically giddy. "Can I, Aragorn? Can I?"
"You can't shoot me!" Pippin cried. "Say no! Say no!"
"Hmmm…" Aragorn seemed to be stuck again.
Sam looked fretful. "I'm sure glad you're innocent, Mr. Frodo. I wouldn't have let them execute you, though."
"Oh…" Aragorn turned to Legolas reluctantly. "Alright, go ahead. Man, who needs Gandalf? I make great decisions!"
"Yay!" Legolas began digging through his quiver happily. "Here it is! The pretty blue one. So cool!" He picked a psycho-looking arrow from the rest. "They don't make them like this in Mirkwood!"
Pippin had resorted to pleading. "Don't shoot me! I didn't do it! Frodo did it! I'm… I'm still a minor, dang it!"
Legolas didn't seem interested in the probable last words. He readied the bow, notching the strange arrow.
Obviously, the pleading stage was over. Pippin looked resolved to death… to Frodo's death, that is. He charged past Aragorn and tackled Frodo, sending them both tumbling down a short hill.
"What is the matter with you?"
Legolas lowered the arrow in disappointment. "Hey! He was supposed to hold still!" He listened to the fighting hobbits in disgust.
"Mr. Frodo!" Sam declared, joining the fray valiantly.
"Pippin!" Merry called, also leaping in to defend his cousin.
Aragorn looked sleepy. "I'm so sick of hobbits."
"I think I might have four of these spiffy arrows!" Legolas offered.
The brawl continued. "No! The Ring! That's mine!"
"Hmph!" Pippin emerged from the whirling melee, looking pleased. "I'm sick of this quest, sick of this Fellowship, and especially sick of you, Frodo!" His hand was clenched around something.
The other three hobbits stopped dueling, and Sam rubbed his bruised cheek. "Give the Ring back to Mr. Frodo!"
"I'm the ring-bearer." Frodo added, looking desperate. "I'm supposed to destroy that Ring! Pippin stole my Ring! Pippin did it!"
Legolas re-notched the arrow. "Now, Aragorn?"
"What the heck? Why not?" Aragorn waved his hand without concern.
"No!" Merry continued the defense. "Stop trying to shoot him!"
Legolas and Pippin glared at each other unblinkingly. Pippin started taking steps backwards, hoping to have Frodo in the line of fire as well, if worst came to worst.
"Mr. Frodo!" Sam gasped, noticing the plot. "Get out of the way!" He shoved Frodo roughly aside, and out of harm's way.
Frodo landed on the ground with a crash, and his backpack fell open, distributing his possessions beneath the trees. Of particular notice was the moldy pot of soup, which settled on the dirt with a disruptive clanging noise.
"What is that smell!?" Legolas whined, dropping the bow and arrow in favor of waving the unsettling aroma away from his face.
Nobody was really sure what quite happened next, what with the putrid smell making everybody's eyes water too much to see clearly. There was the sound of shuffling feet (big, HUGE feet) as Pippin made a mad dash towards the pot of soup, and some more shuffling sounds of feet (slightly smaller big, HUGE feet) as Frodo tried to tackle him. Then there was a sizzling noise, and the air became even thicker with the scent of aged peas. Frodo yelled loudly, and Pippin made a triumphant noise… and then all was very, very quiet as everybody wiped the tears from their eyes.
The silence prevailed even after the group's eyesight had returned. Frodo was sitting on the grass dejectedly, ignoring Sam's consoling pats on the shoulder. Pippin looked thoroughly relieved, peering in the pot of soup as if to make sure of something.
"What happened?" Gimli finally asked.
"The Ring," Frodo sniffled. "The Ring went into the pot of moldy soup!"
"So?" Aragorn wondered if he should suggest a target for Legolas to shoot at, but it didn't seem like the right situation. What was the situation, anyway?
"I thought the Ring could only be destroyed in the fires of Mount Doom?" Merry asked, also seeming relieved.
Legolas retrieved his dropped weapon, but didn't make to fire at anybody. "That's right. That's what we're supposed to be doing."
"So," Sam filled in the blanks. "Does that mean that the moldy pot of soup has the same potency as the fires in Mordor?"
"Or it's even stronger!" Pippin rejoiced. "Because the Ring's destroyed! It's nowhere in the soup!"
Frodo sobbed at this revelation, covering his face with his hands.
"It's been destroyed?" Aragorn didn't believe it, so he checked the pot of moldy soup for himself. "Of all the loony things to happen… it is gone."
"Then the quest is over," Gimli said profoundly. "We have succeeded!"
Sam struck his forehead. "We were carrying that soup around with us the whole time!"
"Well, halflings aren't worthless after all!" Legolas decided. "How'd you know to try that anyway?"
Suddenly, Frodo stopped pouting and stood up straight. "I did it! It was me."
Pippin was going to argue this point, and explain that he had dropped the Ring into the pot of moldy soup, but Merry shook his head in warning. "Let it go, Pip."
"I did it!" Frodo grew happier with every claim. "I completed the quest! It was all me!"
"I only have one question." Pippin said, reassuring Merry that he wasn't going to spoil Frodo's good mood by revealing who actually obliterated Sauron. "How, in all of Middle Earth, did you get the Ring in the tree that one time?"
Frodo looked slightly annoyed, but was still in pretty great humor. "Well come on! Didn't you notice how close Gwaihir was when my personal fortuneteller called him? Why would the lord of all eagles just be in the neighborhood like that? I did it!"
"That big old eagle agreed to do that for you, Mr. Frodo?" Sam asked cheerfully.
"Huh!? Who are you?"
And so ended the (not-so) perilous quest. If anybody told you that there were an entire two more books in this story, they were wrong. It ended there. What do you mean you don't believe me? Just look for yourself! It ended right up there. No more story. That's all there is, and that is the TRUTH about Frodo. You heard it here first, dear readers.
GWFan: Well that's not exactly it; we still have to do author's notes. So why do we have to do author's notes anyway?
Elly: It's all the rage.
GWFan: That's insane…
Elly: So anyway, there are more installments to this TRUTH series, we just haven't written them yet.
GWFan: Although, if you do happen to see them later on and these author notes still say they are unborn, just ignore Elly. In fact, don't worry about it at all, just ignore Elly.
Elly: Hey! Well anyway, mail goes to DancingMoogle@hotmail.com
GWFan: Now wasn't that not gay? We thought we'd be giving people the wrong idea with the title… hope nobody's disappointed.
Elly: We done our best.
Somewhere on the road between Bree and Moria, a lone tombstone stood quietly. The inscription read as follows:
Here lies Un-beloved Bill, who served a fat hobbit well, but died as a result of blasphemous words.
Let us all bow our heads in respect of poor departed Bill, and bestow a moment of silence.