3. A Daring Plan
Disclaimer: The Hobbit is owned by J.R.R. Tolkien, etc. Not me. I'm only dabbling my unworthy fingers in his magical world.
Credit: Tuckborough dot com, realelvish dot net, Sindarin Lexicon, arwenundomiel dot com, folk dot uib dot no/hnohf/khuzdul
A hush fell over the assembled company of elves (and hobbit) as the minstrels began to pluck a haunting, mesmerising melody. Bilbo (still clinging valiantly to the horn) could feel his heart thundering with fright as his companions left their seats and began to circle the tribute he'd been unfortunate enough to select as a hiding place. Fortunately, a few of the lights in the arched branches directly above the horn had been purposefully removed by elves wielding tall poles before his escort had settled it before the dais, leaving the tribute sitting in a slightly darker area. Why they had done this Bilbo had no idea - perhaps it was a mark of the solemnity with which they regarded this ceremony - but he was at least relieved that his shadow wouldn't immediately give him away.
Round and round they went, each elf completing one circle, then another, and another, before retiring to their seats; and all the while Bilbo was in a flutter, wondering if they would go as far as to reach out and touch it …
Wouldn't they get a rather big surprise if they did?
What a silly, silly hobbit he was! Of course the horn hadn't been a birthday present! Birthday presents were always wrapped prettily, and the horn certainly hadn't been.
He clung desperately to the bore, stiff and silent, wishing the elves away as fast (and as far) as he could. Not until every last one of them had completed their final circuit of the horn and returned to stand before the trestles did he feel able to release the breath he'd been holding.
But he was soon robbed of his short respite. The horn had been placed at an angle to the dais, and so Bilbo was perfectly able (and perfectly horrified) to see that Thranduil had now left the table of honour and was making his way to the steps of the dais.
"No! No! Go away!" he thought desperately as the king slowly descended the stairs. Fortunately, the lordly elf did not approach his poorly-selected hiding place; instead, Thranduil paused at the base of the steps and held up both arms. Slowly, in a loud, clear voice, he began to chant:
"Ai Oromë, vaethor veleg! Lasto beth vin! Alae, torthal ven! Aníra ammen nan galu!"
Bilbo's Sindarin was hardly impressive by anyone's standards, but he had managed to pick up a few words and, in conjunction with what he'd overheard at the table earlier, surmised that the king was calling the spirit of the warrior Vala to bless his son.
For a second, the hobbit stilled, wondering if it the elf-king's prayer would actually work. And - if it did - whether the Vala would mention the fact that there was an invisible hobbit clinging to his tribute, and would Thranduil please do him the favour of shooting the silly creature off of it.
But the moment passed and nothing happened. Which came as a relief to Bilbo - he didn't want to be shot. Anyway, the Vala surely had better things to do than pop over to Mirkwood for a nice chat with the locals.
Through the dim light, he could just see a brief look of disappointment on the king's face as the elf realised that, yet again, Oromë obviously couldn't be bothered to show up. Thranduil lowered his arms and his shoulders sagged slightly, but then he straightened and turned with the intent of resuming his place at the table of honour. A ripple of murmurs broke out among his guests and Bilbo almost felt sorry for the elf, who had so yearned to have the honour for his son's millennial birthday …
But wait! Perhaps he still could. Perhaps there was a way to give the king what he wanted - and for Bilbo to get what he wanted too: his stew!
An excellent plan! But did he dare impersonate a Vala?
He eyed the steaming pot of rich, thick, herby rabbit on the table behind the crestfallen king ...
Of course he did!
That settled, Bilbo set about collecting his thoughts and steeling himself for the task ahead.
Now, what did a Vala sound like? Silvery and merry, like the elves? Or deep and rumbly, like Beorn?
Hmm. Perhaps he was a mixture of the two, being both a deity and a warrior? Well, Bilbo should be able to make the appropriate adjustments to the tone of his voice (with a lot of luck). But there was still the problem of Valar vernacular. How did such grand personages express themselves?
Not to worry; Bilbo would think of something. Hadn't he a whole library of books back in Bag End from which to take inspiration? He had to think of something! His shrivelled little stomach was depending on it!
Feeling rather desperate, Bilbo briefly debated trying to clamber up the bore and slip inside the bell so that his voice issued from within the massive carving itself, but he promptly dismissed the idea. Knowing his luck, he would tumble off the other end of the horn and land at the elven-king's unnaturally small feet. Or worse: land upside down inside the bell! In which case, he'd be stuck like that with his legs sticking up for the rest of his natural life - like some sort of invisible, upside down, hobbity sacrifice to the Valar (which would be a fitting punishment for trying to impersonate one of them) …
Instead, he pulled himself up as close to the circular bell as he could and, with his heart banging nervously against his ribs, tipped his curly head back, cupped his hands to his mouth, and sought his best 'Vala' voice.
"Greetings, Thranduil, King of the Woodland Realm!" cried Bilbo in a voice so deep, he might have summoned it all the way up from his toes.
But oh, dear! He hadn't quite managed the silvery part. Would the king notice? Would the king even care, or might he not just be too thrilled to have finally gotten an answer?
A thin bead of perspiration slipped down Bilbo's temple and tickled at his cheek, but he didn't dare move to wipe it off, and it coursed its way down his chin and onto his rather rumpled cloak. He held his breath as he waited for the elves' reactions.
Thranduil froze halfway up the steps to the dais. A wave of awed gasps swept the room and every elf within the chamber suddenly dropped gracefully to their knees and bowed their heads reverently in Bilbo's direction. The king turned slowly about.
"Can it be?" he whispered, taking cautious steps back toward the horn. "Has Valaróma answered our call?"
"He who bears Valaróma hath answered thy call, child," replied the hungry hobbit daringly. Though, truth be told, it was more a case of Valaróma bearing him than the other way about.
Unaware of the deception, Thranduil inhaled sharply, then he, too, sank to his knees (gracefully).
"Ai Oromë! Gîl síla erin lû e-govaded vîn! Le govannen hí na 'lass!"
Bilbo frowned. Well, this was no good! His Sindarin was practically non-existent. As was his Quenya - or whatever language it was that the grand fellow was speaking. He made a mental note to study the elvish tongues in greater depth at his earliest convenience (if he made it out of the Feasting Hall alive). But for the moment, his main concern was his present predicament. It was all very pleasant for his ruse not to have been discovered, but what good would all this effort do him in the end if he didn't understand what the elf was saying?
He'd never get his dinner at this rate!
Suddenly, Bilbo frowned in annoyance. Was he a Vala, or not?
Well, no; not really. But that was beside the point. The elves thought he was, so he should at least start acting like one!
"O ye most magnificent of Elven-kings -" began Bilbo, wondering exactly how many elven-kings there currently were in Middle-earth (for if there was only one, and the hobbit was currently speaking to him, then the greeting wasn't much of a compliment), "we would command thee to indulge our whim and address us in Westron, for the present."
There. That solved his problem nicely - and it sounded suitably Valar-ish. They wouldn't be shy about giving orders to a king - elvish or not. Mind you, they might strike Bilbo down with a lightning bolt (or a hobbit-eating dragon) if they ever found out he'd impersonated one of their kind. Oh well. He'd have to take his chances. He could always apologise later (in the unlikely event he ever met one).
Thranduil raised his head, and confusion was clear in his deep grey eyes. "Westron?" he asked rather stupidly. "Oromë, greatest huntsman of the Valar, would converse in mere Westron?"
Dear, oh dear. This was no time for elvish snobbery!
"Dost thou await an explanation from a Vala, child of the Eldar?" boomed the hobbit grandly.
Oh, that sounded good! Very imposing. And Thranduil was obviously mortified, for he splayed his hands at the horn in a placatory gesture.
"Nay! Forgive me, greatest of all hunters, champion of all warriors! I intended no slight. I was merely … surprised by the request."
Bilbo tipped his head back once more. "We speak all the tongues of all the Elves and Men of Arda, and yet more again than that -"
Which surely Oromë would - all knowing and seeing Vala that he was?
"- yet seldom do we have opportunity to utilise those other than the High Tongues. We ask that thee indulge our whim. Nay, we command it! Yet we are prepared to indulge thee in kind: if Westron offends thine ears, perhaps thou wouldst prefer -"
He wracked his brains for inspiration, and realised it was closer than he thought.
"- Dwarvish? In which case, gabil baraz sigin-tarâg ai-mênu, Uzbad Gundu."
Hmm. Being no great philologist, Bilbo wasn't entirely sure, but - from the limited snatches of the language he had picked up from Thorin and the other dwarves - he may just have wished 'great, red long-beards' upon 'the Lord of the Underground Halls'. And, technically speaking, it was a wish that had already been fulfilled, for there were ten great red long-beards in the cellars at that very moment (Thorin's was greying, Fili's was yellow and Dwalin's was a very odd shade of blue, of all things).
Yet perhaps, for that very reason, it wasn't such a good idea to have used Dwarvish as an example? The king might well become suspicious …
"Or Entish?" Bilbo added quickly. "A-rello-bello-ballo-tamba-kombanda-tar-a-la-nokandu-lallo-lello-randu-barolla-farolla-mandu-harra-herra-harra-lombu-manna-kommana-falala-lala-landu-biggy-baggy-boggy-bandu."
Thranduil and all the elves stared at the horn in dumbfounded amazement.
"Which is Entish for 'hello'," supplied the now sweating hobbit helpfully.
It meant no such thing. In fact, that is exactly what it meant: nothing. Bilbo had composed it himself, taking his lead from a very odd walking song which Gandalf had sung, in a very strange language called Entish, when the company was crossing the Brandywine Bridge. Fascinated, he had tried to memorise it, but had failed.
Still, at least his attempt had sounded something similar to Gandalf's song, and how was the elven-king to know any different?
The elven-king did not know any different. Indeed, the graceful being was entirely flummoxed, and not entirely successful in concealing the astonished look on his fair face. But he smoothed it quickly away and smiled serenely.
"I would be honoured to continue our discourse in Westron, if that be your desire, o mightiest among warriors!"
Phew! What a relief, because Bilbo had already stretched his rather sparse language skills to the limits of his knowledge (and beyond)! Of course, Thranduil's knowledge of Entish and Dwarvish were probably worse than his own, and the hobbit had been counting on that. Fortunately, his gamble had paid off. And just as well - it would have been most unfortunate for Bilbo if his host had suddenly started spouting either of the languages like some sort of hardened native ...
Feeling a little more secure that communications with his 'host' had been established (and that the Valar had withheld their wrath for the present - possibly due to the fact that lightning bolts could not quite reach him down here), Bilbo took a deep breath and resumed the conversation.
"So be it. Arise, child," said Bilbo, struggling a little with the grand vernacular, and feeling rather silly at calling such an ancient elf 'child'. "Thou hast summoned us here this day to bestow our most magnificent of blessings on the fruit of thy loins, hath thee not?"
Hmm. That vernacular needed work; and Oromë sounded rather pompous to Bilbo's ears. Though elves and hobbits might describe a Vala's blessing as 'magnificent', might it not be a little arrogant for said Vala to do so himself?
It was too late to debate the matter; a beaming Thranduil was already rising to his feet and beckoning his equally golden-haired son forward. The prince pressed a hand to his heart and bowed in deference to his 'deity'.
"My youngest heir and Prince of the Woodland Realm," declared the king, gesturing proudly at his progeny, "Legolas Thranduillion -"
Bilbo frowned worriedly.
Gracious, what a mouthful! Legolas Thrandu-thingumabob. He hoped the king didn't expect him to say that - Bilbo would never manage it without swallowing his tongue!
"- known to us also as Legolas Greenleaf."
Relief surged through him.
That was much better. And very hobbity indeed.
"Felicitations, young Greenleaf," said Bilbo. "We understand that thou hast achieved thy first millennium this very day. Is this so?"
"Indeed, Lord Oromë," said the prince, looking both awed and thrilled at being addressed by a Vala.
"Then allow us to wish thee a joyful day, young one!" continued the hobbit, wondering what he should say next. What did one say to an elf on their birthday? He could hardly wish for him to have a full larder, a brimming mug, and an endless supply of pipeweed.
Bilbo studied the golden-haired son of the king rather desperately. "May thy years be long and thy hair be longer still," he said finally, thinking that might do the trick – after all, every elf he had encountered so far had locks far surpassing the length of any hobbit-lass of his acquaintance (not that he was acquainted with that many hobbit-lasses, confirmed bachelor that he was).
A frown flitted briefly across Legolas' face as he fingered his hair in concern: the elf was obviously worried that it was about to shoot down the length of his body and start pooling around his feet. Hmm. Perhaps that wasn't the best of things to say? Feeling a little flustered, Bilbo hastily added "And may thine arrows ever find their mark."
Relief flooded the young elf and Bilbo relaxed. But not for long. Thranduil cleared his throat.
"O mighty Oromë, strongest and most cunning of all who bear arms, does your most honoured presence among us this day confirm what the prophecy Galu i Faroth has ever rumoured to promise?"
Galu what? Of course! Peace for a thousand generations of Men, to begin within the next century.
Oh dear, oh dear! In all the kerfuffle over languages (and hair), Bilbo had quite forgotten about that. What to do now?
"Beneficent Oromë, shall it be thus? Dare we hope that the evil which infiltrates our glorious realm will be banished beyond recall? Will the darkness of the Necromancer fall from Dol Guldur, and the spiders that infest our land perish? Will Greenwood truly become Great once more?"
Silence fell as king and subjects stared hopefully at the horn. Bilbo swallowed nervously.
How in the name of the green, green Shire was he supposed to know? He was just a hobbit! He had absolutely no idea what Necro-whatsits and Dol-whatnots even were! What did it all mean?
Whatever it meant, it was of great importance to the elves; they gazed at the horn en masse, a sea of silvery grey eyes watching their tribute expectantly and hoping for a confirmation that the hobbit was quite unable to give them. The air was thick with anticipation and Bilbo squirmed uncomfortably on the bole.
Bother! Bother, bother, bother! What should he tell them?
Feeling very much out of his depth, the little hobbit clung to the horn rather desperately, fervently wishing he was back in the comfort of his own warm Smial and tucking into a very large roast chicken. Served with creamy potatoes, peas and buttered carrots, of course. Perhaps a cup of honey-sweetened tea to wash it down? Plus a cake or four for afterwards. Oh! and a lovely big slice of strawberry tart and clotted cream to fill in the corners …
So lost in his delightful thoughts was he that Bilbo almost missed the bewildered murmurings of the elves, who were growing distinctly uneasy at his prolonged silence.
"Has he departed?" asked one elf in concern.
"'Tis an evil omen," said another. "The prophecy will remain unfulfilled after all, and we shall know no peace despite all our endeavours to protect our beloved home!"
"Silence!" ordered Thranduil, throwing a warning look at his subjects. The chamber fell still instantly. Bilbo cursed his foolish flightiness and dragged his attention back to the golden-haired king.
Now, where were they? Ah yes, Necro-whatsists and Dol-whatnots …
Time for some creative thinking!
"King of the Elves," he began, and there was a collective sigh of relief from his audience when he spoke, "the Necromancer shall indeed fall -"
Well he would eventually, surely? Whoever he was, once he had conquered the world and had no enemies left to slaughter, he may very well die of boredom.
The elves looked thrilled by the news.
"- Dol Guldur itself shall be reborn in light and beauty -"
Though, if it had been some sort of home to this dastardly-sounding Necromancer person, someone might want to give it a thorough scrubbing-out first. With plenty of soap. And lots of steaming hot water!
A loud cheer rose from the assembled guests and their beaming monarch. Bilbo felt rather guilty for raising their hopes and thought perhaps he should temper their joy with a little caution - it was the very least he could do after lying to them so scandalously. He made a mental note never to include the outrageous fibs in any correspondence with his cousin, Dora Baggins, who would no doubt jump at the opportunity to give him a sound telling-off as thoroughly and as often as she could (in prose, of course. She rarely visited).
"- though we shall not say when this may happen."
Mainly because he really didn't know when it would happen (if at all). But his words had the desired effect of stilling the elves' premature joy. Thranduil looked slightly bewildered.
"May I ask why, Lord of Warriors?"
No, you may not!
"He who seeks answers from horns must first pose a question of himself," replied Bilbo solemnly.
"And what may that question be, most Gracious One?"
"Why am I speaking to a horn?' Bilbo was sorely tempted to say, but he wisely refrained. Instead, he said:
"The question thee must ask thyself is this: what answer do I seek that my heart doth not already know, were I but to search for it?"
How very Gandalf!
"Forgive me, Great One; I do not understand."
Very Gandalf indeed, then! Bilbo rarely understood what the wizard was talking about either …
"Knowledge is not always wisdom," replied Bilbo sagely, adapting a quote from his favourite read, A Took In A Book: The Unofficial Biography of Hildifons the Queer (a cautionary tale in which the author, Fando Chubb, detailed the life of his unnaturally adventurous second cousin thrice removed, and proposed the theory that Hildifons had perhaps fallen foul of a will-o'-the-wisp outside the Shire's borders, and had thus been lured into a bog, where he surely drowned). "Knowledge is not always wisdom," Bilbo repeated. "This thee must surely know. Ask not how long darkness shall endure! It may be one hundred years of Men, or one thousand more again. Or it may well be that it wanes sooner than all would guess. But wane it shall, one way or another. Such is the way of the world."
Thranduil gave the response serious consideration before responding. "I see."
At least someone did, because Bilbo hadn't a clue what he was talking about. What he did know was that if he didn't end this conversation soon, the king and all his fair folk might suddenly realise it, too.
As if to emphasise this, the aroma of hot, tasty rabbit stew came floating down the steps. Bilbo breathed in deeply, reflexively, and the smell entered his nostrils and circled his heart. In reply, his stomach gave the loudest protest yet, rumbling long and repeatedly. The eyebrows of Thranduil, Legolas and every elf present rose in astonishment as angry rumble after angry rumble echoed around the cavern.
Bilbo cringed in horror, terrified that the game was up. He had been betrayed by his own stomach, and would now be captured by the king and tortured for his unmitigated gall in impersonating a Vala. And then tortured again for his insolence to a king. And then tortured once more for breaking into said king's home …
The eyes of every elf seemed to be searching the horn for an explanation – it would not be long now before their sharp senses picked up a faint shadow under the flickering torchlight ... Sweat poured down the frightened hobbit's forehead, and suddenly Bilbo felt quite sick.
What to do, what to do?
"My Lord Oromë?" ventured Thranduil questioningly. "Is all well?"
No, actually, it wasn't. 'Oromë' was in fact a burglar hobbit who had invaded the elves' caverns, who was trying (unsuccessfully) to free thirteen dwarves without Gandalf's help, who hadn't eaten a decent meal in, oh, far too many days to think about, who was now clinging to a giant horn in a great hall where he had been fooling the King of Mirkwood for the past ten minutes by pretending to be a deity. And he had just been betrayed by his own stomach – a stomach which was now in danger of emptying itself in fright right at said king's pointy-shoed feet (and wouldn't that come as a shock to everyone?).
Some warrior Vala he was!
But wait: Oromë was not just a warrior - Thranduil himself had made reference to this earlier.
In that moment, inspiration struck, and a solution presented itself to Bilbo that was so simple he could have laughed.
"All is indeed well, child," boomed the hobbit with renewed confidence. "'Tis but thunder thou hears. It rolls across the plains of Aman, calling us to the Great Hunt. Alas, but we must now depart. Yet perhaps thou may join us, in thine own way? Both thee and all thy subjects at this feast? Let it be our birthday gift to the young prince."
Thranduil, who had been looking slightly dismayed that his unexpected visitor was to leave him so soon, suddenly perked up, to say nothing of Legolas, whose jaw had almost dropped off his face in astonishment. "Join you, Mighty Huntsman?" gasped the king in amazement, probably wondering if the entire Feasting Hall was just about to be magically transported across the Sundering Sea.
"Not literally, we fear, not yet at least. Perhaps one day, when thou cross the Sea and we both stand together in the Undying Lands, then we may hunt together, thee and we ..."
Or should that be 'thee and me?' he wondered. Not that it mattered, Thranduil and Bilbo would never hunt together. And the hobbit's chances of setting foot on the Undying Lands were about as great as his chances of freeing thirteen very irate dwarves, successfully burgling a flesh-eating dragon, and returning safely to the Shire within his own lifetime.
"... we mean that thou must join us symbolically. As we depart thy company to hunt the elusive white stag of Aman, so must thee gather all the revellers in thy Thamas: let us hunt together, little elflings. Let us leave together this very minute, even though we are parted by the vastness of the Sea! And let us bring back the greatest game we each may find and feast thereafter upon it in companionship. For though distance may part us, friendship cannot. To the hunt!"
Beyond all expectation, and to his utter delight (and very great relief), an enormous cheer rose in the hall.
"To the hunt! To the hunt!" cried the elves in unison, each and every one electrified by the 'Vala's' invitation (despite the fact that he had referred to them all as 'elflings').
"We shall bring back our own white stag, that we may feast upon the same meat in honour of the Huntsman of the Valar!" declared Thranduil effusively.
"Then we bid thee farewell, King of Elves, great friend of the Huntsman of the Valar!" cried Bilbo grandly, almost giddy with hunger and relief.
"Farewell, Lord Oromë!" cried the elves, who burst thereafter into joyful song. Thranduil and his son both bowed sweepingly before the horn and, abandoning all the excellent dishes which had already been prepared for the prince's birthday feast, they led the mass of jubilant immortals from the Feasting Hall and into the same rocky corridor which Bilbo had followed from the kitchens. The sound of their merry, tinkling voices rebounded pleasantly off the walls then slowly receded.
It was another five minutes before the hobbit dared to move. Slipping cautiously from the horn, Bilbo tiptoed to the entrance and peered down it: there was neither sight nor sound of the elves.
His daring plan had worked! Thank goodness! Oh, how Gandalf would laugh! Although, come to think of it, given that Gandalf was a wizard, he might be less than happy that Bilbo had dared to impersonate a Vala – even if it had been to save himself from starvation. What if, in his anger, Gandalf turned Bilbo into a rabbit for his cheek? Presented him to the king for his next meal as punishment? What if Thranduil had him made into a horrible sort of rabbit-Bilbo stew. Or rabbit-hobbit stew? Or maybe Gandalf would forgo the magical transformation and the elf king would just make a plain hobbit stew instead?
A shudder ran up and down Bilbo's spine. It was probably best not to mention this to Gandalf, if he ever saw him again. It wouldn't do to upset the wizard. Just in case.
He removed a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his face and hands. Hobbit stew aside, if Bilbo had suspected for a minute that his ruse would work so well, he might have told the king to take every elf in the caverns with him, instead of just everyone in the Hall – something which would have made freeing Thorin and all the other dwarves much easier. But he hadn't ...
"Don't be foolish, Bilbo Baggins. You can't expect poor old Oromë to do all your work for you. He is far too busy hunting stags and doing all sorts of other important Valar-y type things to bother about one silly little hobbit. You shall just have make a plan to free Thorin, and Fili and Kili, and Balin and Dwalin, and Bifur, Bofur and Bombur, and Oin and Gloin, and Dori, Nori and Ori all by yourself!"
Something that might be easier to do once he had eaten.
And then the enormity of his situation hit him ...
Bilbo was alone.
Completely alone. In a room full of hot, fresh, tasty food. And with hours to himself in which to do some very serious damage to the roasted venison, boiled fish, smoked cheeses, golden breads, sticky honey-and-fruits, mead, port and ale which had been so hastily abandoned by the elves in their rush to hunt with a Vala! His heart soared.
But where to begin?
Bilbo turned on his heel with a joyous laugh and made for the king's table.
He would begin with the stew, of course!
Ai Oromë, vaethor veleg! Lasto beth vin! Alae, torthal ven! Aníra ammen nan galu! - Hail Oromë, mighty warrior! Hear our voice! Behold, we are yours to command. Honour us with your blessings!
Thamas - (great) Hall
No galu govad gen- May blessings go with you.
Aníra ammen nan galu - Honour us with your blessings (cobbled together, and therefore probably inaccurate)
Gîl síla erin lû e-govaded vîn! - A star shines on the hour of our meeting!
gabil - great; sigin - long; baraz - red; tarâg - beards; ai-mênu - upon you; Uzbad - Lord of; gundu - underground hall.
A-rello-bello-ballo-tamba-kombanda-tar-a-la-nokandu-lallo-lello-randu-barolla-farolla-mandu-harra-herra-harra-lombu-manna-kommana-falala-lala-landu-biggy-baggy-boggy-bandu – Hello (completely made-up)
Kara's Aunty ;)
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.