Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire: 22. Fatherly Love and the Frodohobbit

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22. Fatherly Love and the Frodohobbit

A/N:
We have a few new characters in this chapter (Allin’s family!), and translations are at the bottom of the page. Tip your hat to arabiasil and her wonderful horse stories in regards to the plight of Shadowfax. :) Happy Reading!

CHARACTER LIST:

Fanlin- Male Elf of Imladris. Joined the Eastern Scouting Party, injured in the first battle.

Rithol- Female Elf of Imladris. Joined Eastern Scouting Party, escorting Fanlin back home.

Allin- The 8 year old shepherd boy Frodo, Pippin, and Sam meet in the highlands.

Laure- Allin’s 6 year old sister.

Atan Lerooj (“Atan the Red”)- Allin’s father, one of three chieftains of Pahtoh.

Vanrie- Allin’s mother.

Nwahr- the sheepdog.

*******

Autumn had reached its peak in Rivendell, and the realm was abloom with fiery reds, gilded yellows, and eye-watering oranges. The grass, nurtured by delicate fall rains, remained emerald as ever; the sky was an endless blue of possibilities.

Elrond, his dark-haired figure melding into the scenery as only Elves do, moved serenely down to the pastures, several apples in hand. His journey came to an abrupt halt when he caught sight of his daughter flitting beneath the trees, dancing and singing as though she were Autumn herself.

He watched her dark hair swirl and bounce about her as the breeze teased it, noticing how her slender arms entwined and swayed like sapling branches. Her lithe figure moved gracefully as she twirled on bare feet; her grey eyes shown with a light borrowed from the stars. Were the sun a bit dimmer, Elrond would have sworn he was witnessing some long-forgotten vision of Lúthien waltzing beneath the shady eaves.

Sensing her father’s presence, Arwen lifted her skirts and skipped gracefully to his side. “You go to feed the horses,” she said as her twinkling grey eyes fell upon the apples in his hand. “You spoil them, Father.”

Elrond smiled at his daughter. “Nay, it is your brother Elladan who is in the habit of spoiling them. I merely sweeten them.”

“You shall fatten them if you are not careful.” Arwen stole one of the apples from his hand and bit into it.

“A single apple now and then does no harm unto our swift friends.”

The two Elves walked in comfortable silence for a time, save the loud crunches of Arwen’s swiped apple as she bit into it. Elrond soon found himself lost in thoughts, which lately had begun to flow a more bittersweet course.

Arwen held the apple-core by the stem and watched, almost curiously, as its white flesh began to turn a bruised brown in the crisp air. She smiled and held the core up to her father. “A bit of magic from the wind.”

The Elven lord of Imladris frowned at the withering core, and Arwen caught the heavy look of weariness in his eyes that seemed to grow more prominent as the weeks went by. Before their departure, Elladan and Elrohir had voiced quiet concern over their father’s increased moodiness. The twins had attributed it to the change in season, whereas Arwen suggested her brothers had finally succeeded, after several centuries, in driving their father mad. All three knew the true cause of Elrond’s despondence, but they seemed to reach an unspoken understanding that naught be spoken of it.

“Days such as this do not grace us with their presence as often as I wish,” said Arwen, hoping to redirect her father’s melancholy. She gathered several brilliantly colored leaves and began fashioning them into a crown.

“Alas, you speak truth.” Elrond sighed wearily and looked to the trees. “Autumn has fallen sooner this year than years past, and winter shall be upon us within the blink of an eye. Time weighs heavily upon the land and burdens us all.”

Arwen’s delicate fingers paused their weaving and she lifted her head. “You burden yourself in thinking such thoughts.”

“Do I?” The Elf lord’s response was sharper than was his wont, and he immediately regretted his words as he noticed Arwen flinch. “Forgive me daughter. I have not been myself as of late and it is in poor taste to lash out at those around me.”

“Even if they may be the cause of such feelings?” Arwen lowered her head and seemingly bent her full concentration on the leaf crown.

Elrond did not speak for several moments. He watched Arwen’s slender fingers as they skillfully wove the leaf stems, not missing their barely perceptible trembles. ‘So much like her mother,’ he thought. ‘Celebrían’s hands were just as delicate.’ He blinked rapidly and cleared his throat. “Child, what mean you by those words?”

Arwen’s fingers began to move faster. Over, under, pull, twist, straighten. “I know you are not... pleased...with my decision.” Her voice was barely audible above the rustling branches of the trees. “I hope you will one day be able to forgive me. Please do not blame Estel, he—“

“Daughter,” interrupted Elrond, his voice unnaturally hoarse but firm, “Many a time have we discussed this. I never have, and I never will blame you or Estel for the paths you have chosen to walk.” He saw Arwen’s tensed shoulders drop in slight relief. “Long have I known where your heart would ultimately rest, my child— before even you were aware of its desires.”

He cupped his daughter’s face in his hands and pressed a loving kiss to her forehead. “I may wish to keep you for my own selfish reasons,” he looked straight into her suspiciously misty eyes, “but your happiness is what matters most to me. For if you are happy, I am happy. I would give up everything for the sake of my children’s happiness.” He smiled and gave one of her long braids an affectionate tug. “After all,” his grey eyes twinkled mischievously, “I always favored you most amongst my daughters.”

Arwen released a peal of silvery laughter and placed the crown of leaves upon his head. “And I always favored you most, My Lord, amongst my fathers.”

Elrond dipped in an elegant bow and offered his arm to Arwen. “Then by all means, my fair Evenstar and best-loved daughter, shall we continue our walk to the pastures? I suddenly feel most festive with this wreath upon my head.” The Elf lord tossed his head and struck a gallant pose.

A serene and somewhat smug grin broke across the face of the beautiful maiden. “Indeed Father. I have not seen you adorn yourself so... ‘festively’... since our last visit to Mirkwood.” The grin broadened. “As I recall, you and King Thranduil—“

Elrond shot his daughter a severe look, though his cheeks and the tips of his ears blushed a noticeable crimson. He had last visited Mirkwood to celebrate Sauron’s release of Dol Guldur.* Thranduil had been a most liberal host, diving straight into Oropher’s vintage Dorwinian casks. Wine had flowed that night and the following three evenings with more force than the mighty Anduin. For his part, Elrond remembered very little of the celebration, and the brief flashes he did recall he professed to have no knowledge of.

He grimaced as a particularly distorted image of he and Thranduil attempting to shove a very inebriated Gandalf into the Forest River suddenly surfaced forth. In a bout of drunken reasoning, the two Elf lords decided they needed the Istari’s staff (Valar knew for what purpose) and... Elrond shook his head to dispel the image. ‘Nay,’ he firmly reassured himself, ‘I do not remember such an incident.’

Arwen stifled a laugh at the perturbed look clouding her father’s face. “Legolas was born a short while after that, as I remember,” she stated lightly, recalling how a similar look would grace the young prince’s face should anyone mention the words “victory celebration” and “unexpected gift” in the same sentence.

“Did not his brothers give him the nickname of—“ Elrond suddenly raised a hand and turned intently to the trees, effectively hushing his daughter. Arwen strained her ears and watched her father’s clear bright eyes as they darted to and fro, piercing the forest eaves.

“Horses,” murmured Elrond. His brow constricted as he narrowed his sharp eyes. “Two Elvish mounts.”

Arwen frowned. “None of the parties are due to return as of yet. Mayhap they are messengers sent by either Mithlond or Mirkwood?”

Elrond shook his head. “Nay, Galdor has yet to reach Círdan’s Haven, for he left but two weeks ago. These riders come from the East, but were they of Thranduil’s kin they would have encountered the eastern scouting party..."

“If they ride from the East they will not be of the Golden Wood,” Arwen concluded, furrowing her brow in the same manner as her father’s. “I suspect we shall soon find from whence they hail, for they are headed this way.”

The sound of pounding hooves drew near, sending a wave of tense urgency rolling throughout the sheltered forest. As Elrond predicted, two Elvish mounts dashed out from beneath the trees. Necks arched proudly, their long limbs covered ground in a flowing gallop more akin to flight. Mane, tail, and Elvish hair streamed behind the sun-dappled bodies in ribbons as the horses charged down the gentle pasture slope.

Both father and daughter stiffened in alarm; each horse bore a rider of the Elven race, but one of the riders lay slumped forward and was clearly impaired.

“My lord! My lord Elrond!” Rithol’s panicked voice rang clear across the pasture. The two parties met at the bottom of the field, and the blowing steeds had barely halted before the Elves began to exchange words.

“Lord Elrond,” panted Rithol, hastily brushing unruly strands of dark hair from her face, “we were waylaid on the mountain trail by an Orkish band and Fanlin took hurt. Glorfindel bade us return to the Homely House and warn you that that fell beasts wander unhindered across the western face of the mountains.”

A small gasp of alarm escaped the lips of Arwen. “The western face of the mountains,” she repeated, reflexively looking to the shrouded slopes in the distance. “Then the darkness draws near our borders, as well.”

Rithol shuddered and nodded vigorously. She breathlessly continued to relate the tale while Elrond gently lifted Fanlin from the back of his steed. The horse stomped her foot and snorted in concern, seeking reassurance her rider was in good hands. Arwen stroked the winded beast and spoke soothingly into her ear. The mare quieted immediately.

“How long has he been as such?” Elrond asked as he carefully lifted the back of Fanlin’s tunic. He frowned when he noticed a slight bloodstain on the otherwise spotless white bandage.

Rithol slid off the back of her steed and wearily draped an arm over the stallion’s withers. “Since last evening. He showed no signs of ill side-effects from the wound, save what is to be expected, and then he simply fell asleep.” The pretty Elf’s brow wrinkled in concern. “I have been unable to wake him!”

Elrond gently pulled aside the bandage covering the injured Elf’s back and examined the wound with an expertise gained from long years’ experience. He elicited a small grunt at the stitch-work holding the wound together— Glorfindel’s work, no doubt. ‘For all his experience on the battlefield,’ thought the chagrinned Elf lord, noticing the varied sizes of loops and knots, ‘one would think it possible for Glorfindel to pull a decent stitch.’

“See how it has turned a deep purple around the edges of the stitching, more so than is normal?” Arwen knelt down next to her father to closer view the wound and nodded. “The blade was undoubtedly poisoned,” Elrond continued, “though judging by the appearance of the injury and the time it took for the toxins to affect him, I do not believe it will be too detrimental. From what you have told me, Rithol,” the Elf lord glanced at the dark-haired maiden, “I suspect it is some mixture of the Faelerons* plant.”

Rithol breathed a sigh of relief and hugged her tired mount, pressing her forehead against his sleek neck. “Blessed Elbereth,” she murmured, “I feared Fanlin would never again open his eyes to the day.”

Elrond scooped Fanlin into his arms, taking care not to jostle the unconscious Elf. “It is but a minor poison, Rithol,” he gently assured the female warrior. “In small amounts it may render one sluggish; larger doses render a victim unconscious.”

Rithol chewed on her lip thoughtfully. “An easy victory would we have been, were the entire company poisoned. Even had we escaped the first attack, a second or third party of the fell beasts might have overwhelmed us.”

Elrond nodded gravely and murmured in agreement. “It is well no other members of the party suffered injury.”

* * *

Shadowfax galloped proudly over the treacherous mountain terrain, arching his neck and watching as his wet hooves glinted silver in the muted sunlight. The thick fog from whence the Misty Mountains earned their namesake had yet to lift, and the land was transformed into a surreal golden haze. The golden shrouds clung and swirled about the stallion’s silver coat, reminding him of how the very first King of the Mearas must have appeared as he flew through the heavens.

Middle-earth was graced by the presence of Shadowfax, and the stallion knew this. Even the Valar would shed tears of delight if they could see him now: charging bravely into unknown peril, with no thought for his own safety. He was the savior of Middle-earth, a shining beacon of light and goodness. Even the clouds parted and bowed before him as he galloped onward.

Why had Gandalf chosen the mare?

An Elvish mare! Shadowfax snorted contemptuously. Elvish horses were sneaky and addle-brained. The mares were the worst, for they refused to consider any stallion raised by those other than the Elder. They simply ignored all other suitors— not that Shadowfax had ever tried to catch the attentions of an Elvish mare... Never whole-heartedly attempted, anyways. They were far below his notice.

Shadowfax laid back his ears and curled his lip in disdain. He also hated the way Elvish horses didn’t leave proper tracks. Their gait was too similar to that of the Elves, and as far as Shadowfax was concerned, any horse who imitated the gait of a two-legged creature was a sad beast indeed.

Tracks... Tracks... Shadowfax’s long strides faltered to a gentle lope. Where were that confounded mare’s prints? He halted and flared his nostrils. He could either go to the left, to the right, or continue galloping straight ahead. The great stallion swung his head around and surveyed his options. To the left there was golden mist. To the right, there was golden mist. And straight ahead, there was... golden mist. Shadowfax took one last look, just to be certain. Yes, the golden mist was everywhere.

He picked up one foot and arched his neck and tail, striking up what he believed to be a gallant pose of confusion. In the end, the silver King of the Mearas decided to veer right: he still looked just as beautiful in the golden mist—as it was everywhere—and going right allowed him to gallop downhill, which would in turn show off his highly-muscled haunches.

* * *

“Is it safe to come out now, Allin?” Frodo poked his head out from underneath the creaky bed and looked to the boy expectantly.

“I do not see the bird,” replied the boy, craning his neck while he surveyed the evening sky from the window, “but I think you should stay where you are. Just in case it comes back.”

“I would like to see him stuffed under this bed,” grumbled Pippin. “Then you watch how quickly it would be safe to come out.”

Allin’s house was fashioned in the manner of all the village houses: a sturdy structure of piled limestone rock covered by a thatched roof. The front of the house served as the main room, containing a large fireplace to the left and a beaten wooden table with two benches at the right. Various iron cookware lined the fireplace, and the eastward window above the table and benches contained several potted herbs and three cooling meat pies. A large tin bathing tub sat discreetly in the corner, next to a smaller wooden bucket. Aside from a woven grass mat on the hard-packed floor, the room was relatively bare. The back of the house, though it had been sectioned off into two separate sleeping compartments, was just as scarce; neither containing an abundance of furnishings. Thus, it had only made sense that the safest place for the hobbits to hide was under a bed.

“Stop breathing on me, Sam!” Sounds of a light scuffle arose, and Frodo attempted to twist his body around to better view what sort of fight Pippin and Sam were engaged in. He had been last to dive under the bed, and had not ended up compacted against the wall and each other, as had Sam and Pippin.

“Ouch, those were my ribs!”

“Then stop breathing on me!”

“I’m not doing it on purpose. Why don’t you stop making your elbows so pointy?”

This was followed by a snort, and Frodo thought he saw a glint of light reflecting in either Pippin or Sam’s eyes. Whose, he could not be certain. He wormed his way back to facing Allin, and was perturbed to find the boy gone missing.

“Allin?”

There was no response.

Someone grabbed his sleeve, accidentally pinching his arm in the process, and began tugging at him. “Frodo, mister Frodo!”

“What?” he snapped crossly, jerking his arm away.

“I think I’m stuck.”

Biting back the word “good,” which seemed to immediately find its way to the tip of his tongue, Frodo gritted his teeth in frustration. “Sam, I am sure you are not stuck.”

“No, mister Frodo, I’m fairly certain—“

“If he’s stuck I won’t be able to get out either,” moaned Pippin.

Frodo again poked his head out from underneath the bed. “Allin? Allin!” Growing worried, he risked pulling himself out a little further.

“Frodo, where are you going? Mister Frodo? Don’t leave me, I’m stuck!” Sam began pulling at his legs.

“He’s breathing on me again Frodo! Stop it Sam. Frodo, kindly tell him to stop!”

“I can’t get out! Help oh help! What would the Gaffer say if he saw me now? He would tell me it serves me right, he would. He would say ‘Samwise Gamgee, this is what happens when you try to hide under beds, because beds were made to sleep on and not hide under.’

“Sam, will you please stop pulling on my leg? Allin? Allin!”

“Stop breathing on me!”

“Why don’t you both stop yelling at me? I’m the one who’s stuck!”

Deciding enough was enough, Frodo crawled out from underneath the bed and went to look for Allin himself. He nearly ran into the boy as they both simultaneously stepped into the doorframe.

“Mon Valo,” cried Allin, jerking back in surprise and nearly dropping the meat pie he held in his hands. He juggled the pie for a few precarious moments. “Frodo, why have you left the bed? It is not safe for you to walk about.”

Frodo glanced at the bed and grimaced at the squabbling voices originating from underneath it. He sighed and looked back to the ginger-haired boy. “I grew worried when I called and you didn’t respond, Allin.”

The gangly boy wrinkled his nose and grinned apologetically, not sure of whether to be offended Frodo thought him unable to care for himself, or pleased by the hobbit’s concern over his welfare. “I have brought you a meat pie, Frodo Hobbit.” He proudly held forth the pie. “Mah Mehr made it herself. She is known as the best cook in our village.”

Frodo smiled and bowed slightly, touched by the boy’s thoughtfulness. “Thank you, Allin. We hobbits are never ones to pass up a meal, and I am sure Sam and Pippin will be just as pleased. You know, they say thoughtful persons like yourself often make the greatest leaders.”

The ginger-haired boy’s face broke out into a snaggle-toothed grin. “I shall be a great leader one day,” he fiercely declared, puffing out his chest.

Frodo, Pippin, and Sam (who had immediately become un-stuck at the mention of food), sat down to their second large meal of the day. Allin again watched in admiration as they consumed the entire pie, which was quite a feat, as it was large enough to satiate four fully-grown men. When the three had finished their meal, the boy bid them to hide under the bed again.

Sam eyed the dark space warily. “I don’t think that’s a very good idea, seeing as how I got stuck last time when my stomach wasn’t even full.”

“Oh you were not stuck,” snapped Pippin.

“Allin,” asked Frodo, “why do we need to hide underneath the bed again?”

The boy averted his eyes and mumbled to his feet, unconsciously tugging at his hair.

“Pardon me?” Pippin asked curiously.

All three hobbits turned to regard the boy expectantly. Allin flushed and tugged at the nape of his sweater. “Ah, so l’wazoh will not get you..."

Frodo raised an eyebrow, suddenly realizing why the boy wished for them to continue hiding. “Allin, will your parents allow us to stay in your house? You were planning to tell them of us, weren’t you?”

The boy picked at a piece of pie crust left in the pan and chewed on it half-heartedly. “Mon Pehr still works in the hills and mah Mehr and Laure help the other women salt meat for winter.”

“Allin,” said Frodo, “we do not wish to intrude upon your family.” Placing both hands on his hips, he gave the boy a stern look, imitating Farmer Maggot’s scowl to the best of his abilities. It seemed to have the intended effect, as the boy’s face fell and he grew rather somber. Frodo ignored Pippin’s stifled snicker. The younger hobbit had immediately recognized whom the furrowed brow, glowering eyes, and puckered mouth belonged to.

Allin heaved a great sigh. “I shall tell them as soon as they arrive home. But I still think you should—“ The telltale sound of a creaky wooden door being pushed open caused all four companions to freeze. Allin sprang to his feet and desperately attempted to usher the three hobbits underneath the bed.

However, he was not fast enough. The door had already been opened and none of the hobbits were in any great hurry to return to their cramped hideaway.

“Allin!” shrieked a voice belonging to a young girl, “Kehs-keh-say?”*

Allin roughly nudged Sam’s arm under the bed with his foot. “Be careful!” cried the gardener. “There’s no use kicking me.”

Frodo laid his head flat against the floor and tried to catch a glimpse of their newest arrival. A young girl, no older than six, stood glaring at Allin suspiciously from the doorway. Her cheeks were a rosy red, courtesy of the wind, and her wind-swept ginger hair rested haphazardly about her shoulders. She, too, was dressed in heavy woolen clothing, from her button-up coat down to her thick stockings.

The girl child cocked her head to one side and stuck her nose up into the air, hands still rested on her hips. “Kehs-keh-say, Allin?” She stressed the words, almost menacingly, and pointed an accusing finger towards the bed.

Allin glowered. “Lahs tu, Laure.”*

Pippin wriggled next to Frodo. “What’s going on?” he whispered.

“I am fairly certain that is his sister Laure,” Frodo whispered back. “But other than that, I’m as lost as you.”

Pippin nodded and wormed his way back to Sam. “Allin is talking to his sister Laure.”

The girl child’s eyes grew wide as she heard her name whispered from underneath the bed. She gasped and took a step backwards.

“Laure,” snapped Allin, “Neh racohnt pah Maman ou Papa, ou ahlor meh crehtur— eel voolahnt mahnjay tu!” *

Allin’s younger sister whimpered and shrank against the doorway. Frodo watched as the boy bent his hands to resemble claws, gnashed his teeth, and stalked towards the girl menacingly. ‘I wonder what he has told her,’ Frodo wondered, finding himself very disturbed. The girl Laure squeaked and retreated back into the main room. Allin was quick to follow, hunching his body and making odd clawing-motions, growling all the while.

The sleek sheepdog Nwahr, thinking some new game afoot, leapt up from his place by the fire and began frisking about the two siblings, wagging his tail and barking excitedly. This, in turn, excited Allin, who increased the ferocity of his growls until they took on a distinctly wolf-like bellow. Laure threw herself into the oversized bathing tin and screamed for her mother in octaves only attainable by the very young.

The front door opened abruptly, sending a blast of cold air sweeping through the cozy home. The flames in the fireplace shivered and leapt at the sudden intrusion, and several iron ladles and spoons clinked together pleasantly. All activity ceased immediately, save the tearful, albeit joyful, cry of Laure from inside the metal tub.

“Papa!”

Frodo’s heart suddenly resided in his throat and he had the overwhelming urge to stay hidden underneath the bed. Permanently. Judging by the gasps elicited from Sam and Pippin, they were of the same mindset.

Frodo could not recall having ever seen such an imposing man. Allin’s father resembled an overgrown Dwarf in compactness, from his broad shoulders and barreled chest to his full, braided beard. Though his legs were much longer than those of a Dwarf, he nonetheless looked as though he had been chiseled from solid rock. His hair was the same gingery red as that of his children, and his eyes were a shocking pale blue. However, the most imposing aspect of the man was not the shape of his body, but rather the tattoos that adorned it.

Blue woad tattoos of fantastic design covered nearly every inch of visible skin. They swirled around his eyes and across his brow; wound up his arm from his fingertips and palms. There were woven knots, birds, deer, and creatures the hobbits had never even seen before. Frodo was riveted and terrified at the same time.

Sam gurgled incoherently before finally rediscovering his ability to speak. “He’s like a walking picture!”

A stout woman bearing a basket laden with wool came bustling in behind the man. Her hair was not as fiery as the rest of the family, and her dancing eyes were more of a watery blue. A healthy smattering of freckles dashed across her face, which was tattooed in a manner similar to her husband’s though not to the same extent. She seemed a cheery and robust woman; Frodo imagined she laughed often and heartily.

The large man swept his daughter into his arms and proceeded to reprimand Allin for his antics. His deep, booming voice was occasionally interrupted by added words or phrases from his wife, who was setting the dinner table and out of the hobbits’ line of view. “I hope she doesn’t notice the missing pie,” whispered Pippin as they watched Allin shuffle and squirm under his parents’ lecturing voices.

Sam noticed the girl child Laure had wrapped her arms around her father’s massive neck and was blatantly smirking at her brother. He felt a pang of sympathy for the boy as Laure grinned devilishly and stuck out her tongue.

* * *

Atan Lehrooj, or Atan the Red as he was called, had descended from the great warrior tribesmen of Pahtoh. His forefathers had fought in the Last Alliance, bringing much honor and pride to his family name. He was one of three chieftains of the village, and a force in his own right. He proudly bore the great deeds of his ancestors and those by his own hand on the tattoos decorating his body. Few dared cross him, and those who did almost always regretted it.

“Allin,” he boomed, his voice reverberating off the limestone walls, “how many times must I tell you to leave your sister alone?”

“Listen to your father, boy.” Vanrie, his wife and perhaps the only person who could cross the man, called from across the room.

Atan watched his son squirm uncomfortably. Laure wrapped her tiny arms around his neck and sniffled loudly. “He said his creatures under the bed would eat me,” the pixie-esque child complained woefully.

Atan the Red shook his head and sighed. “Allin, again, how many times must I tell you not to bring animals you find on the mountainside into this house?”

An angry exclamation came from the opposite side of the room. Vanrie stood wiping her hands with the apron she had donned. “Allin, have you been eating my pies again? I specifically told you not to touch them!”

Allin flushed and tugged at his hair. “And what have you brought home this time?” Vanrie continued. “A snake? A dead bird? I certainly hope it isn’t another goat.”

Allin gulped and tried to avoid both his father and mother’s eyes. Laure was grinning at him in smug delight. A month ago he had brought home a stray goat, which had eaten half the bed sheets and the woven floor mat, gnawed on the table, and kicked in Vanrie’s prized iron kettle.

“He brought home little creatures from the mountains with big hairy feet,” Laure declared gleefully as she pointed to their bedroom. Allin groaned.

“Frodo,” Sam whispered in the darkness. “The little girl is pointing at us.”

Atan the Red gently placed his daughter back on the floor and reached for the family sword, which rested above the doorway, as this was believed to ward off any evil spirits or sickness. “Come now, Laure. I am sure these ‘hairy mountain creatures’ will not last long against my sword.”

Vanrie reached down to give the dog Nwahr a friendly pat and chuckled. It never failed to charm her the way her husband treated the fears of her children so seriously and then went about banishing them as though battling an enemy.

The huge man tossed the blade over his shoulder and jauntily strode towards the bedroom. “Run, Frodo Hobbit!” Allin cried out in Westron and dashed for the front door, flinging it wide open.

Running was the last thing on Frodo’s mind as he and the two other hobbits stared in utter horror at the towering figure blocking the doorway.

Atan the Red got down onto both knees, then turned to Laure and gave the child a cheeky wink. He was not sure what a Frodohobbit was, but he intended to get it out of his house nonetheless. ‘Probably a field mouse,’ he thought, remembering Laure’s irrational fear of the small furry animals. Chuckling, he lowered his face to the floor.

Three pairs of very non-field mouse eyes stared back.

*******

Translations:

“Kehs-keh-say?”: ‘Ques-ce c’est?’ -- What is this?

“Lahs tu, Laure.” : ‘Laisse tu, Laure.’ -- Leave [you], Laure.

“Laure, neh racohnt pah Maman ou Papa, ou ahlor meh crehtur— eel voolwah mahnjay tu!” : ‘Laure, ne raconte pas Maman ou Papa, ou alors mes creatures— ils veulent manger tu!’ -- Laure, do not tell Mama or Papa, or else my creatures— they will eat you!

***

*Sauron’s release of Dol Guldur: “2063 Third Age: Gandalf goes to Dol Guldur. Sauron retreats and hides in the East. The Watchful Peace begins. The Nazgûl remain quiet in Minas Morgul.” -- ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King’; Appendix B: “The Tale of Years (Chronology of the Westlands),” “The Third Age.”

*Faelerons plant: Asclepias faeleronis. Member of the milkweed genus. A perennial species found most commonly in the rocky, arid soil of shallow caves. Leaves arranged in whorled configuration and approximately 3-4 cm in length. Pale green in appearance and somewhat velvety to the touch. Known to produce a milky toxin containing potent sleep-inducing chemicals. May cause tongue to itch if eaten. Also see: “Snore Leaf.”

--- Bryn’s Guide of Imaginary Middle-earth Species, Chapter 7: “Don’t Know Elvish? Just Spell It Backwards.” Pg. 46.


This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.

Story Information

Author: bryn

Status: Reviewed

Completion: Complete

Era: 3rd Age - Ring War

Genre: Humor

Rating: General

Last Updated: 10/01/03

Original Post: 08/13/02

Go to Out of the Frying Pan and Into the Fire overview

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