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GamgeeFest's Keepsakes  by GamgeeFest

Ever wonder how that entire conversation between the Gaffer and the Black Rider went? Some lines are taken from FOTR, "Three Is Company". I'll trust that you'll all know which lines are mine and which are Tolkien's. ;) And speaking of Tolkien, my sincerest apologies. :D

Deconstructing the Red Book, Part II

Khaműl reared his horse to a halt at the foot of the little bridge. He looked down at the little river, black under the night sky and spangled with the reflection of many bright stars. He sniffed suspiciously at the water, fearful of what might lie in wait beneath its deceptively peaceful flow. He inspected the bridge to ensure it was sound then nudged his horse over it and continued on the little dirt lane up the little hill.

He despised this land. Everything here was little: little roads, little hills, little rivers. Even the people were little. They were little enough that he could squash them under his boot and rub them into the ground – if he were allowed. For some strange reason, his Master had forbidden him and the other Nazgűl from using their powers while in this place these little people called Shire. Had he still the ability to think for himself, he would find it all rather foolish, not to use what powers he had to make this job go faster and easier. Really, these little runts could be tipped over with a simple push of his finger.

Is using my finger to tip them over the same as using my powers? thought Khaműl. He wasn’t sure, but he decided to give the matter some serious thought. If it was not, then he had found a possible loophole to his Master’s commands.

He kept the horse’s pace at a trot so he could study the map the Witch King had taken from that slinking spy of Saruman’s. He was quite familiar with it by now and knew he was in Hobbiton. The mean old lady with the umbrella he had come across earlier had pointed him in this direction, saying that Baggins could be found in Hobbiton on the hill. However, upon coming to Hobbiton, he realized there were a few hills to be choosing from. This was the last hill he was attempting and his patience was wearing thin.

This hunt was supposed to have been a simple in and out assignment. He had already spent a day longer in this little land than he had planned and he was discovering that finding Baggins was the equivalent of finding an undetectable magical ring in a haystack the size of Arda. If one more thing went wrong on this hunt, he would have a conniption.

There were many little houses on little farms at the bottom of this little hill. About halfway up, was a little lane of three little holes, and at the top was another little hole and a tree. At the end of the little lane with the three little holes stood an old bent runt breathing smoke from a little pipe. Khaműl decided to try him first, thinking that surely he was overdue for some good luck and that this little old runt just might be Baggins. The old runt certainly looked to be the right age, as it has been nearly eighty years since Baggins took the Ring from that horrid Gollum creature.

Khaműl urged his horse towards the little old runt, who rudely began to retreat into his little hole as soon as he spotted Khaműl approaching.

“You there,” Khaműl said in his most menacingly sweet voice.

The old runt paused, his hand on the doorknob. “What do you want?” he croaked up at Khaműl.

Khaműl sat up straighter on his horse, pleased to see that at least the old runt was sufficiently wary of him. “I am looking for Baggins,” Khaműl said and waited expectantly for the old runt to unwittingly turn himself in as the thief Baggins.

The old runt looked up at him and blinked, taking in Khaműl’s black robes and peering into his hood in vain search of a face. “Well,” the old runt said, sounding uncertain, “if you’re looking for a Baggins, you’ve come to the right parts, but which Baggins would you be looking for?”

Khaműl paused. Had he just heard correctly? “Which Baggins?”

“Aye, which one? There’s a few of them to be choosing from.”

“There is?” asked Khaműl, his heart sinking. “How many are there?”

The old runt held up his hands and started ticking off one finger at a time as he listed all the Bagginses. “Well, there’s Mr. Frodo Baggins to be starting. Then there’s Mr. Ponto Baggins and his daughter Miss Angelica Baggins. There’s also Mr. Porto Baggins. Then there’s Mistress Lobelia Sackville-Baggins and her son Mr. Lotho. Them’s the only real Bagginses left. So which one are you wanting?”

“Which one?” Khaműl repeated, at a loss. The loathsome creature Gollum had not given them any other name except Baggins. Khaműl never would have thought it was only half the name he needed. He huffed in frustration and tried a different tactic. “I am looking for the Baggins who went away, went away a long time ago, and came back to the Shire.”

“Ah, that’d be Mr. Bilbo Baggins,” the old runt declared and Khaműl felt triumph stirring eagerly in his breast – until the old runt continued. “He ain’t here no more. He left again some seventeen years back. Took off for the Blue. Couldn’t tell you where to be finding him.”

“Which way did he go?” Khaműl asked, leaning down, all but growling at this most unwelcoming revelation.

“I don’t know!” the old runt said, more put out and annoyed than he had a right to be. He should be quaking in his boots, if he were wearing any. At the very least, the hair on his feet should be standing on end, but they were remaining stubbornly curled. “I just said I couldn’t be telling you where to find him, now didn’t I? Now if that’s all you’re wanting, I have dinner on the stove. Good night!”

The old runt started to open the door. Khaműl thought quickly. “Wait! The other Bagginses? They would know where to find him?” he asked.

The old runt paused and considered this question for too long a time. Khaműl leaned down more, deciding in that moment that tipping them over was not the same as using his power on them. But before Khaműl could so much as flex a finger, the old runt replied, rather hesitantly, “If any of them do, it’d be Mr. Frodo, but he’s always maintained that he don’t.”

Finally! He was getting some results! Khaműl straightened importantly and tightened his grip on his horse’s reins, ready to ride. “You will take me to him. Is he nearby?” Khaműl asked confidently.

“No, Mr. Baggins has gone away. Went this morning, and my Sam went with him: anyway all his stuff went,” the old runt said.

Khaműl hissed a sigh, and had he any real hair left he would have pulled it out with much glee and fanfare. Weren’t these little people supposed to stay put? Khaműl leaned down again, hoping to scare the truth out of the runt. “He left did he? I suppose he is gone for good too?”

“Yes. Sold out and gone, I tell ‘ee,” the old runt insisted unhelpfully.


“Why? Why’s none of my business, or yours.”

“No – why me?” Khaműl asked, feeling a headache coming on. “Then at least tell me, where is he going?”

“Where to? That ain’t no secret. He’s moved to Bucklebury or some such place, away down yonder.”

“Down yonder?” Khaműl said and looked in the direction the old runt had pointed. Khaműl looked at his map and searched it frantically for Bucklebury, but no such name was written upon it anywhere. No Bucklebury to the East. No Bucklebury to the North. No Bucklebury to the South nor even to the West. No Bucklebury. No Baggins. No RING! He scrunched the useless map into a ball and did his best not to screech. The last thing he needed was to draw attention to himself.

He glared down at the old runt and was at least pleased to see that the old runt was now adequately frightened. “Is this Bucklebury place far from here?” Khaműl asked.

“Yes it is – a tidy way,” the old runt said, sounding scared, but still most inappropriately put out. “I’ve never been so far myself; they’re queer folks in Buckland.”

Buckland? Khaműl smoothed out the map and looked at it again. Then he seethed again. No Buckland either. He scrunched the map up and threw it into his saddlebag. He was through talking to this little fool. He would find out from someone more useful where this Buckleburyland place was. But since he was here, the old runt may as well do something of use to him. “You will send a message to Mr. Frodo Baggins for me, tell him not to go anywhere until I get there.”

Only instead of dropping to his knees and offering subservience, the old runt puffed out his chest and opened his door. “No,” he dared to say. “I can’t give no message. Good night to you!” And with that he went inside and slammed – SLAMMED! – the door in Khaműl’s non-existent face.

Khaműl growled at the door and twitched a finger. He should have tipped the old runt over when he had a chance. He turned his horse around and headed back down the little hill. “The Witch King will not be happy to hear this,” he told his horse, who grunted in agreement.


GF 2/28/07

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