(previously known as "Lord of the Stars.")

By Blue Raja (previously known as Speed of Dark until that e-mail address up and died on me)

PG-13 Beware of uncharacteristic "swearing". Uncharacteristic of the characters and of myself.

Disclaimer: I don't own anybody, not even myself. Which would explain my lack of constraint and consideration when stealing other people's characters. Sorry to J.R.R. Tolkein and George Lucas and Monty Python, whomever they belong to.

CHAPTER ONE: The One Bead of Power

A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, on a world that might be our very own, there lived a hobbit. For those of you that don't know what a hobbit is, it is a very short person with hairy feet. The hobbit that lived a long, long time ago lived in a hobbit hole in a little place called Hobbiton, which was in the Shire, which was in Middle-Earth.
Not very complicated, once you get down to it.
Anyway, this hobbit's name was Frodo Bagginswalker. He was quite a normal hobbit, and he had inherited his hobbit hole from his uncle, Bilbo Bagginswalker. But that wasn't all he had inherited.
Hidden in a box in the hole in Hobbiton, in the Shire, in Middle-Earth, there was a small golden bead on a piece of string.
It was for this bead that Obi-Wan-Gandalf the Jedi came.
Frodo had been sitting in front of his warm hobbit fire when the knock came on his door.
"What the hell? Who could that be?" he asked himself. He was shocked to see Obi-Wan-Gandalf on his rather small doorstep in Hobbiton, in the Shire, in Middle-Earth. "Wandalf!" the hobbit cheered as the Jedi ducked into the hole.
"It's GANDALF, Frodo, GANDALF." Obi-Wan corrected.
"Oh, right. GANDALF." Frodo nodded. Jedis were pretty picky about pronunciations sometimes.
…Obi-Wan-GANDALF smiled down at his hobbit friend. "Do you still have it?" he asked in a "You-oughta-know" voice.
"Have what?" Frodo asked in a "What-the-hell-are-you-talking-about?" voice.
Gandalf rolled his eyes. "The bead, the BEAD!" he shouted.
"Bead?" Frodo asked, still using his "What-the-hell-are-you-talking-about?" voice.
"The golden bead your uncle Bilbo left you!"
"Oh, you mean that stupid little thing on a string? What about it?"
"Where is it?"
"How am I supposed to know? It's a freaking bead!"
"It was on a string…" Gandalf muttered bleakly as Frodo gave him an odd look. "String is supposed to keep everything in order! How can you not know where it is?"
"Oh, wait!" Frodo exclaimed, snapping his fingers. "I might have vacuumed it up! I'll go get the vacuum. Be right back!" Frodo scampered off to parts of the hole unknown to anyone but himself. Gandalf eased himself into a chair and waited impatiently for the young hobbit to come back with the bead.
"Here it is!" Frodo announced as he returned. He was carrying a heavy looking bag covered in dust and lint.
"Frodo, dammit, that is not a bead." Gandalf slapped his forehead.
Frodo dropped the bag onto the floor and cracked his knuckles. "I know that! It's somewhere in there." He opened the bag, releasing a cloud of dust and dirt. "All we have to do is find it…"

"…is this it?"
"…is THIS it?"
"Oh, wait! Is THIS it?"
Frodo looked exasperated and confused. "Then what the hell is this?" he asked, holding up the linty ball he had just found. He and Obi-Wan-Gandalf were sitting in a pile of dirt, dust, fur, lint, rocks, crumbs, and other random objects. Frodo was slightly gray from the heavy coating of dust that had settled on him. Gandalf, who was gray to begin with, was… still gray.
"Okay, it's not here. That's great." Gandalf threw down a handful of dust in frustration. A cloud of junk lifted into the air and settled quickly. "That's just WONDERFUL." He looked meaningfully at Frodo. "You know that thing is dangerous, right?"
"Hmm, dangerous?" Frodo asked, having not been paying attention.
"Yes, dangerous, with a capital D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S. The dark lord Darth Sauron wants it to finish his evil necklace. He'll stop at nothing to get that bead, Frodo. We need to destroy it before he can get it! Do you understand me?"
"Hmmm? Oh, I lost you back at A-N-G-E-R."
Gandalf groaned as Frodo continued rummaging through his vacuum's contents.
"Check it out! It's that sock I lost last week!" Frodo held up a gray tube of cloth.
"Frodo, hobbits don't wear socks."
"Oh. I guess it could be a spoon cozy, then."
"A spoon cozy?"
"Sure, why not? Tea gets a cozy, why shouldn't a spoon?"
Gandalf didn't try to argue with the hobbit's logic.
"I'll just put this away real quick." Frodo said, hopping to his feet and opening a large box that was in the corner of the room. He folded the spoon cozy gently and tucked it under some napkins. He suddenly stopped, snatched something out of the box, and whirled towards Gandalf, a huge smile on his face.
"Oh, what now?" Gandalf asked, rubbing at a headache he was getting.
"Guess what I found!"
"You know I hate these games, Frodo."
"You've got to guess."
"Eaugh. Fine. Um… a matching fork cozy?" Frodo shook his head. "Uh… Samwise Solo?"
"Nope." Frodo was still grinning. There was a thump from the box behind him.
"I give, what is it?"
"TAH-DAH!" Frodo held out a fist, and from it dangled a thin string, and from the string, a small golden bead sparkled.
Gandalf's eyes widened. "You found it!!" he exclaimed. "Now we can go destroy it in the fires in which it was forged and rid Middle-Earth of the most disgustingly evil piece of jewelry since the 'Bonnie Bell LipSmackers' necklace!
"Going too fast for me again, Wandalf." Frodo said, looking slightly dizzy.
"We can go toss in a big pit of really hot red stuff and watch it melt." Gandalf offered.
"OOH, cool! Can I go?" Frodo started to bounce around the room.
"I did say, 'we', didn't I?"
"I wanna go too!" a voice called from inside the box. Frodo and Gandalf suddenly went quiet. Gandalf tiptoed to the box and lifted the lid slightly.
"PLEEEAS—OW!" Something rose in the box and promptly had the lid dropped on its head.
"SAM!" Frodo exclaimed, recognizing his loyal chauffer. "What the hell are you doing in there?"
"Errrr… dusting?" Sam smiled meekly at the tall Jedi and short hobbit that were glaring at him.
"How much of our conversation did you hear?" Gandalf asked.
"Oh, you were having a conversation? I didn't hear you…"
"What's this?" Frodo asked, pulling a tape recorder out of the box.
"My duster!" blurted Sam, snatching back the recorder.
"Really… hmmm…" Gandalf eyed the spying hobbit. "You have an X-ring, don't you?"
Sam nodded slowly, climbing out of the box. "Yeah, why?"
Frodo looked startled. "Hey! All I have is a lousy pony! Where'd you get enough money to buy an X-ring?"
Sam's eyes darted to a safe imbedded in the wall. Its door was slightly ajar. "I… worked real hard." He responded.
"Uh, huh." Gandalf mused. After a long moment, he held out a hand towards Sam. "Give me your keys."
"Huh, WHAT?" Sam exclaimed.
Gandalf shook his hand. "Your keys. We're borrowing your X-ring."
"No you're not!" Sam cried, hugging his keys to his chest.
"Give me the keys or I'll turn you into a wraith!" Gandalf threatened.
"Oh, fine." Sam handed over the keys reluctantly. "But I'm going with you."
"No you're not, we're going alone. You stay here and make sure no one takes anything." Frodo commanded.
"I'm going."
"You're staying here."
"I'm going."
"You're staying here."
"Okay, I'm staying here."
"And don't let anyone take anything."
"Right, so I go with you and no-one'll take anything."
"No, you stay here and make sure that no-one takes anything."
"No-one takes everything. They're allowed to take anything they want as long as they leave something."
"No, no, no! You stay here. And make sure. That NO-ONE takes ANYTHING."
"So I wait for a guy named Norman to come take anything?"
Frodo sighed. "Come on, then."
"Yaaaay! Do we get to see elves?" Sam asked.
"Don't count on it." Gandalf said gruffly. "We'd better leave before those dang Wraith-Troopers get here."
"Right." Sam and Frodo said in unison.
The three left the hobbit hole and headed out to Sam's X-ring.