2. Chapter 2
We finally set out on "the Quest", and your advice about not blowing the Horn of Gondor came too late, as usual. Rounded off a few blasts and got told off by Lord Elrond as if I were a young miscreant. Forget what I said about his being courteous; he and his blasted eyebrows can go to Mandos.
Sorry to hear about Tinúviel. That was truly cruel of Father—you were practically married to that bird. If I see any parakeets up here, I'll catch one for you; if not, we could probably kidnap a gull in Dol Amroth. Or we could journey into Far Harad and buy something more exotic, though, on second thought, that might not be such an ideal plan. Father might fret about us getting captured by Haradrim; ridiculous man.
As for therapy: I've already had him with a psychologist on the Third Level for quite some time—ever since your thirty-first birthday, in fact. I trust you remember that incident; when we went on that boating trip on the Anduin and he tried to push you in the river, after asking you to hold the weighted fishing net for him? It would appear, however, that his current shrink isn't doing the job. Maybe we should try hypnosis.
Ah, Mithrandir insists that we set off again. Do you know that they have refused to take the Gap of Rohan and instead mean to go around the Misty Mountains through Caradhras? This shall never work.
Surprisingly enough, I don't seem to recall that particular boating trip, but with Father it all seems to run together. I checked up on the records; you ought not to have hired out a psychologist without consulting me first, Bori. This one's an absolute nut—he's the fellow who tried to convince me that my nightmares were the product of extreme travel anxiety. I pointed out that I rarely have them when traveling, and he said "Ah-ha! So you have extreme non-travel anxiety!" Absolutely raving.
I noticed that you ranted a great deal in your last letter about Father and Elrond, but you said absolutely nothing about this Strider. Boromir, he's going to be our King, I'd like to hear a bit more about him. Does he have a name, incidentally—since I doubt that any mother would name their child Strider, especially if he is of such lineage—?
I suppose Mithrandir knows what he's doing. He is several Ages old, and has wandered in the North for quite some time, so I would suspect, brother, that he has some idea of the best routes.
Ah... I think there are some Haradrim coming 'round the bend... I am writing this crouched rather uncomfortably behind a large bush, if you were interested... and I suppose we'd best ambush them, eh?
We are just now resting after an invigorating trek up Caradhras, hunkered down behind a cliff face that is supposedly "shelter." Mithrandir won't light a fire (too risky, he says) and it is damn cold. My fingers can barely write for shaking.
The snow here is almost as high as the Halflings' heads, and Frodo already took a tumble down the side of the mountain. Wonderfully coordinated, really. He dropped the Ring, too, which I very kindly picked up for him, only to get told off by Aragorn (which is Strider's proper name, in case you were interested) for who-knows-what. Tried to downplay the situation by patting Frodo on the head; I keep forgetting that's he's actually fifty, since he looks about ten, especially when wearing his big-blue-eyed-scared-and-bewildered expression (which is all the time). Then his gardener, Sam (who brings their gardener along on a quest?), told me off for "pawing his master." Eurgh.
As a matter of fact, everyone has done nothing but tell me off since this whole thing began, especially Aragorn. Yes, Faramir, I know he's our King, but it's hard to get on with someone who insists on contradicting one's every statement. "We should use the Ring." "NO! You cannot wield it!" "We should go through the Gap of Rohan." "NO! We're going around Caradhras!" "My sword has good balance." "NO! Mine is better, and it was Elendil's, so thbbbpt!"
Funny, there's sort of strange rumbling noise coming from above; I wonder if-
I apologize for the smudging, as we just had twenty-five tons of rock and snow dumped on our heads. Saruman's work, says Mithrandir. Amazing, really, that none of us were hurt. Mithrandir's hat didn't even fall off.
Now I suppose we'll have to go through the Gap of Rohan. This is madness!
It sounds like you're having a wonderful time.
I hate the way I write a five-page letter and you can only spare me a sentence. I thought you were supposed to be the literary-oriented one.
Sorry about that; I was injured in a skirmish with Haradrim and was unable to write, so I dictated a rather lengthy letter to Mablung. He didn't seem to be writing much, and claimed that he had "paraphrased." Remind me never to dictate to him again.
What I had intended to say was: Boromir, you idiot. You are obviously making no effort whatsoever in your relations with Aragorn. You are going to be his Steward. Politics is almost entirely comprised of learning to interact with people you'd rather see strung up and hurled off the Seventh Level of Minas Tirith. Some wonderful arts called tact and diplomacy, as well as the occasional fabrication, are involved in this process. Honestly, Boromir, if you'd spent any time listening to Tutor instead fidgeting and staring out the window, you might know some of this, too. You can't treat politics like it's some battle you're out to win; it's a delicate balance between double-crossing and compromise.
And don't touch the Ring again, if you can help it. Isildur's Bane has corrupted men as strong-willed as yourself... including Isildur, come to think of it. In addition, you'll have the wrath of this Sam to contend with, which sounds like a formidable force indeed.
There's nothing like, after a long day's worth of travel, receiving a letter from your beloved baby brother—in which he quite pragmatically informs one of one's idiocy. Thank you, Fari, for your support. And I hope that you're feeling better.
We're now sitting in front of—no, you guess. The Gap of Rohan? No, of course not. It takes us too close to Isengard. No-o-o, we're in front of... Moria. Yes, you heard that right. Moria. The Dwarrowdelf. Khazad-dûm. Durin's Halls. The Mines of Moria.
Isn't that just spectacular?
Not that we're anticipating any possibility of entering the Mines anytime soon. We arrived just in time for the light of the full moon to bathe the doors in silver light, revealing ancient spidery runes shining therein, whereupon Mithrandir placed his staff against the rock face, uttered some words in a foreign tongue... and realized that he didn't know the password. I've seen a great many things on this ill-fated venture, but this takes the cake. Mithrandir has spent the past three hours muttering in Elvish and Dwarvish and Manwë knows what else, and still the doors remain immovable. And there are wolves howling.
So we sit by the lake... and wait...
While Aragorn smokes his pipe...
...and Legolas strums his bow...
... and Gimli polishes his axe...
... and Sam weeps for the loss of Bill, our pony...
... and Pippin throws rocks into the lake...
... and... wait a minute, did that water just move—
Again, sorry for the smudging. We just got attacked by a bloodthirsty water creature.
And now we're trapped in Moria. Great.
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