A Mouse's Fellowship
For those of you who don't like 10th walker stories, sorry. But I've been wanting to do this story for some time. Takes place during VDT and during all three LotR books.
Summary: On the road to the Gap of Rohan, the Fellowship is joined by another small traveler on quest for his king. But this pint-sized package of fury is, by far, the most unusual of teammates. Who would have thought that the 10th walker could be a mouse?
Chapter one: An Honor To Join
Aragorn watched in amusement as Boromir attempted to train the hobbits to use their swords. He'd been giving them half hour lessons every evening for several days now. Sam ducked underneath Boromir's blade and swept his own short sword back at the Gondorian. Boromir blocked the attack easily enough, but smiled warily at Sam.
"Using your height to your advantage, Master Samwise. Very clever. Part of what makes a good swordsman is his ability to improvise."
Sam blushed at the compliment. Frodo chuckled. "C'mon, Sam, let's see it again."
"Where did Pippin go?" Merry asked suddenly.
The other seven members of the Fellowship looked around. "Fool of a Took," Gandalf muttered. "Gone wandering off again. When I catch him, I think I'll weld him to one of the pony's satchels, and that way, perhaps we can actually keep track of him."
"You know how Tooks are prone to wandering," Merry stated, hoping to defend his youngest cousin. Gandalf only gave a dissatisfied grunt in response and began surveying the area, hoping to catch some sign of the missing hobbit.
Aragorn and Legolas were already well into the undergrowth, the ranger scanning for signs of hobbit and the elven prince looking and listening.
"If only we had a bloodhound with us," Gimli said as he plowed through thick undergrowth. "His nose would outdo any elf's ears and eyes, and I wouldn't mind losing to such a creature." This last phrase he added under his breath.
Legolas none the less heard him, and shot the dwarf a glare.
"Maybe we should have left him at Rivendell," Frodo commented, trying to hide his worry. "I'd hate to get back home to the Shire and have to tell his parents that he got lost in the woods on the way to Mordor."
"Don't go blaming yourself, Mr. Frodo," Sam said.
Suddenly they heard what sounded like a yelp—or something between that and a scream. Just as suddenly, Pippin burst out of the undergrowth and dove behind the protection of Gandalf's robes. Immediately after him came what appeared to be a black mouse. But none present believed it could truly be a mouse. It was enormous as far as mice go; two feet tall as it stood—rather ran—on its hind legs, swinging a rapier about three quarters of its body length. It spouted a string of insults concerning Pippin's feet, lifestyle, and ancestry. Gandalf couldn't help but laugh at the rodent's tirade as it chased the hobbit around his feet.
"You will feel the flat of my blade and no less, for your disrespect. Take that, and that!" The mouse swung the rapier at Pippin, smacking him squarely on the rump. "You'll learn to respect a knight!" WHACK! "And a mouse!" WHACK!" "And a mouses tail!" WHACK WHACK! "And to add injury to insult, you give me a fair kick in the ribs!" The mouse placed another three welts on Pippin's already stinging rump. Clearly the hobbit was not succeeding in avoiding his attacker.
"Gandalf, help me! I didn't mean to step on its tail, honest. It startled me, and I just instinctively kicked. I didn't mean anything. Gandalf, stop him! Ow, ow!"
Finally Aragorn grabbed Pippin and pulled him close, while Gimli restrained the mouse, who still struggled to escape the dwarf, continuously yelling insults at the offending hobbit.
"Calm yourselves!" Gandalf barked. Mouse and hobbit fell silent. Gandalf recomposed himself and turned to the mouse. "Now, what has this young hobbit done to offend your honor?"
"He came thundering through the woods with no regard to any beast's presence, and his big, hairy, filthy feet came right down on my tail. I made that fact known to him, and did he apologize? No! He simply screamed and kicked me in the ribs! No one treats a knight of Narnia that way and gets away with it."
"I wasn't expecting to step on a giant mouse," Pippin protested. "I was just surprised when you spoke to me. Mice aren't supposed to talk. Or be that big, either. I'm sorry. Really, I am."
The mouse sheathed his rapier. Gimli glanced at Gandalf and Aragorn. At a nod from Aragorn, Gimli let the mouse go.
"My apologies, but I'm very careful around creatures larger than myself. I guard my honor—and my tail—carefully."
"Well said," Boromir piped up. "What does a man—or beast—have if not his tail—ah, I mean, honor?"
"A mouse's tail is his pride," the mouse added. "Some measure their worth in inches. We mice can do no such thing. We are the smallest of the Talking Beasts."
"Small?" Pippin said. "I've never seen such a huge mouse in my life! Have you, Gandalf?"
The wizard ignored him and spoke to the mouse. "What is your name, sir knight of Narnia?"
The mouse gave a very elegant bow. "My name is Reepicheep, and I am chief of the Talking Mice of Narnia. I was a part of the voyage to the far eastern reaches of the world with my king, Caspian X, and two of the kings and queens of old; King Edmund and his sister Queen Lucy. We landed on an island to replenish our supplies one day, and divided into groups to explore the island a bit. I was separated from my group. I climbed a tree to get a vantage point, and I quickly discovered that wherever I am, it is certainly not the island where we landed."
"So, you do indeed come from Narnia?" Gandalf said with a raised eyebrow. "I have heard of such a land. There are wizards who live there; Coriakin is one of them."
"Yes, we've met Coriakin," Reepicheep said. He chuckled a very mouse-y sort of chuckle. "The monopod Duffers—or Dufflepuds, as they call themselves—are quite a handful for the poor old fellow."
Gandalf laughed. "I've heard. It seems you've had quite a few interesting adventures already on your voyage."
"Perhaps one of my shipmates will write a book one day about our adventures."
Gandalf suddenly grew serious. "Sir Reepicheep, I don't know what purpose the Lion has designed for you or your friends, but we ourselves are on a mission of grave importance. I would offer my sevices to help you return to your ship if I could, but there lies ahead of us a much more pressing task, the details of which I cannot make known. However, we are going through the country of Rohan. We can take you at least that far, and from there give you directions to the capital city of Edoras. Perhaps you will be able to find assistance there."
Pippin stared at Gandalf, unable to comprehend why he would allow such a tempermental rodent to join such a perilous quest.
"I would be much obliged," Reepicheep said, "but if Aslan has brought me here, it is for a reason. Perhaps he wishes me to play some small role in your journey. I would be glad to offer whatever service I can."
"Gandalf," Boromir said, "we don't know him. How do we know we can trust him? Not just to not turn us over to Sauron, but to also stay with us in battle and not turn tail and run."
"I pledge to you my undying loyalty for as long as I am here in this land," Reepicheep said with a flourish. "I will give my life in service for you."
Gandalf smiled. "Well then, sir Mouse, welcome to the Fellowship of the Ring!"
Reepicheep bowed again. "It is an honor to join you, sirs."