For the Lost and the Baffled by AiedailWing|
Summary: The Fellowship of the Ring had come to the point where they must choose between several options…
Rating: G (K)
Genres: humor, mystery
Warnings: AU (a bit), humor (but I guess no eating-and-drinking warning needed)
“Which road will you choose, Frodo?” Gandalf asked the Ring-Bearer calmly. Dawn had just cracked after the night of slaughtering wargs. The only people awake were the stronger-beyond-his-years Wizard, the insomniac hobit, and the rarely-resting Elf – Legolas.
“I do not know, Gandalf,” the hobbit answered in a small voice while rubbing his eyes tiredly. “The Gap of Rohan seems like the easiest route, but Strider said that it must be under the Enemy’s watch. We might be defeated by Caradhras without the Enemy putting a hand in it… and what about the secret way you talked about with Strider last night?”
“We agreed that we are not to talk about that route unless the situation presses, dear Frodo,” Gandalf reminded him, smiling mysteriously, and Frodo sighed. The hobbit rummaged absently in his pack, hoping to find something to help him in deciding which way to go.
Then he yelped in surprised and pulled out a booklet from the depths of his pack. “I saw this in the library of Elrond,” he said to the curious Gandalf and Legolas. “But I do not know who put this into my pack.” He threw a suspicious glance around the camp, to the slumbering figures of his younger cousins and the two Men. “It is a guide to choose a route to take and how to pass it safely,” he explained, then handed the booklet to the Wizard and Elf.
They began to read…
GUIDE FOR THE LOST AND THE BAFFLED
Crossroads are easy to choose between: just cross your fingers and pick one of the roads. Intersections are even easier to face: merge the sections and you get all you need!
Now just peruse the index, good Ainu (disguised or not), Elves, Men or hobbit, and you are going to read what is there to see.
Gandalf frowned at the words “Ainu” and “disguised.” Legolas in turn frowned at him, thinking that the Wizard was concealing something so obvious – among many – he had been wanting to know, which answers of his guesses of them had never been answered.
`Later,` he grumbled to himself, and so he read the booklet again together with Gandalf in the section they had sought: “Middle-Earth: To the South through the East.”
If you are undecided about which path you should take on your journey to the south of Middle-Earth (or Ennorath, or Endorë) by the eastern side of the Misty Mountains (or the Hithaeglir, or Hísaicassi), especially because a wise person has told you that “the western road is closed” – so that you cannot use that path even if you want, then here is some advice on which way you should take:
There are three roads available on this part of Middle-Earth. The first is through Fangorn and the Gap of Rohan, the second is through Moria, and the last is through the mountain pass in Redhorn. But all roads must pass the Woods of Lórien (no, not your home Lórien in the Farthest West, Olórin), so please make sure that the Dwarf(ves) in your company stay low (not in a literal meaning!), the Elf(ves) pull their rank or kinship, your leader claim (not in a cocky manner) that he has passed that way before, and the others keep their quiet (especially their breathing, as impossible as it might seem).
If you choose to enter the south from the mountain pass in Redhorn, these points are to be heeded – in various extents:
Legolas’ delicate face flushed pink, then pinker. A split second later it dissolved into a sickly greenish colour, before turning a no-less sickly chalk-white. Finally, he spoke – no, half-whimpered and half-whispered, “Mithrandir, what does it mean by—“
“Hush, Thranduilion,” Gandalf cut his question off. The Wizard glanced sharply at Frodo, who was fidgeting where he sat, and the other, oblivious members of the Fellowship of the Ring. “What I wanted to know is what does crossing Caradhras have to do with my lo—Lord Manwë, and what about my lo—Arien sailing backwards – if that is even possible! – and… and… thaw the ice and grill Saruman white hot?”
“I never saw you blush, Mithrandir,” Legolas stated, his blue-green eyes wide with innocent surprise, curiosity and interest. And indeed, the Grey Pilgrim’s face, or at least the patches which were not covered by his white overgrown eyebrows, mustache and beard, turned a nice colour of red.
Throughout all, Frodo watched with consternation. He flinched when the Elf and the Wizard pinned their gazes at him, accusing.
“Who wrote this, Frodo, if you did not know who gave you this?”
“I do not know!”
The two oldest members in the company narrowed their eyes.
“Who came up with the absurd ideas, then?”
“I do not know!”
Gandalf and Legolas relaxed. They placated the upset hobbit, then returned his booklet with half-hearted gratitude. A nearby owl hooted with laughter, but, when the nature-lover Elf, shocked, turned his head up to gauge the uncommon occurance, it was gone.
Far away, in the Sundering Sea, a storm brewed. A cackle, neither evil nor good, was heard in it, but it was not – unlike the usual – caused by the storm itself. A delinquent spirit of the sea was celebrating his latest prank, the success of which had just been informed by a friend of his, a spirit of the land.