*Parte ye Thyrde*
When the day of departure came, the four hobbits succeeded in
attaching themselves to the tail end of the _orda_ of Rohirrim who had
come down from the Riddlemark to bear HeyHoDen back to his ancestral
kingdom. King Eonerd and Eowynn verified the dead King's identity in
the morgue, and then shut the zippered black bag as fast as they could.
It was a sultry southern summer, and HeyHoDen had been stored up for
over three months.
They placed the bag with HeyHoDen's body inside a plastic barrel,
which went inside a corrugated metal tube, which was sealed with
cement, which was locked inside a packing crate, which was put in the
trailer of a sixteen-wheeler headed north. The trucker drove slowly,
pausing at rest stops every quarter-day to allow the _tümän_ of Riders
to catch up. The four hobbits hitched a ride in the back of the cab.
In that riding went also Aragon and Arwen and others of the wedding
guests: El Rond, Al Ladan and Al Rokar, Boromir and Imrahil and, in
fact,the entire invitation list, all of whom had noticed how much
slimmer their wallets became the longer they stayed in Minas Tirith
At a leisurely pace they rode the highway north through Anórien, and
they came to _Injun_ territory. The _injun_ warriors, stoked to a
frenzy by the secret herbs they habitually took before entering battle,
fired many arrows among them, but hit no one. Aragon read aloud a
proclamation annexing six-sevenths of _injun_ territory to Gondor(TM)
in return for the right to erect a casino and have exclusive hunting
and fishing rights on the remaining one-seventh. The procession then
rolled on, leaving a few score of anti-hunting and anti-gambling
protestors demonstrating behind them.
After many days of journey, the truck bearing HeyHoDen came at last
to Edoras City. The dandelions grew tall and stately about Medusald.
There a great feast was held for the visitors; and if the occasional
Dunlending slave fell into the immense fires and was accidentally
cooked together with the ceremonial horseflesh, no one commented upon
Then they buried HeyHoDen, still sealed with cement, fifty feet deep
beneath a mound planted thick with garlic, topped with ancient symbols
of power, and under the permanent guard of the Riddlemark's finest
warriors armed with silver-tipped spears. With him were buried all
those things and people which he had had close to him in life, lest he
return to claim them. The Edoras Choir slowly sang a song of exorcism,
which Gléoclubb the minstrel made, and immediately died after. Even
those who comprehended not the harsh gutturals of the Edorian tongue
could tell how horrible the song was, as it described the reddened
light of the moon shining through the blood-drenched fields of the
Lammas Ichor, the gorecrows slaking their thirst in the red pools, the
howling of the wolves as their brethren crunched upon bones, and how
King HeyHoDen arose and with dripping corpse-fingers sought to destroy
those who were close to him in life:
Out of dark, out of death, to the dead's rising
He clambered out of the clay still clinging
To his bloody fingers, with filth blackened
That sought the throats of thrall and servant,
Or of sister-son his throne usurping...
But Morrie wondered at the superstitions of the Riders, pondering
how they might be turned to his own advantage.
When the burial was over and the stone atop the mound was inscribed
with the words "HeyHoDen, and his worm Grimey", another minstrel (there
were many minstrels and to spare in the Riddlemark of those days, and
their lives were held cheap) named all the Lords of the Mark in their
ordure: Yorl the Kid, who had purchased Edoras in the days of
Gondor(TM)'s indebtedness, and Prego mixer of the Sauce, and Polder
drainer of the Fens, brother of Molder the Dead; and Freewine the
Generous, and Goldwyn the Mogul, and Dior the Couturier, and Gram the
Weighty, and Helm the Hard-headed, and Deem the Jazzmaster, who had
held concerts in Deem's Help that had rivalled those of Caer Andrews.
So ended the nine mounds on the west, because there had been a violent
revolution in those days which installed a new dynasty, and after came
the mounds of the east-side: Freelove the Revolutionary; and Fluffy,
who due to lack of ceremonial propriety (the minstrels had been unable
to keep a straight face when speaking his name) had returned as a
_draugr_ and had eaten half the warriors in Medusald before being
exorcised; and Walda, and Folca, and Folcwine, and Fengel, and Thengel,
and HeyHoDen the latest. And by the time HeyHoDen was named, Eonerd
and all the Riders were very drunk.
When the feast drew to an end (at about four in the morning, with
the sun due to rise soon), Eonerd tried to arise and said in a slurred
voice: 'HeyHoDen's _dead_. That means _I_'m the king. Cool, huh?'
A nervous titter arose from those of the guests who were not already
asleep or dead drunk.
'But I got good news for ya,' he continued. 'Eewww...._in_ifred my
sis had the hots for Aragon. But he's already married, the bastard.
And 'sides he's her father. Life sucks, dunnit?'
More nervous laughter.
'So instead she's gonna marry the nummer two guy. Wossis name.
Farrie... Farrah... uh... _Bore_-oh-meer, Steuart of Gonnor!'
Muted cheers. Eonerd propped himself up, knuckles on the table, and
looked around to see if anyone would respond. Aragon came awake with a
start after a swift kick from Arwen, and removed a paper from his tux.
'Thus,' he read slowly and with a wince, 'is the friendship of the
Mark and of Gondor (TM) bound with a new bond. No niggard are you,
Eonerd, to give...'
'What?' Eonerd interrupted. 'Whadjou say?'
Aragon coughed and began again. 'No niggard are you, Eonerd...'
'Thass what I _thought_ you said. Well I don'know whuss like in
Gonnor. But here in Ed'ras we don' allow filthy lang-idge like that in
'All I said,' said Aragon, 'was "No niggard..."'
'Thass _enough_! Outta the hall, now! We'll settle this inna
courtchard!' Eonerd reached with one hand for his sword-belt, lost his
balance, and fell face forward onto the table. Aragon and Arwen left
swiftly, and departed without taking leave of King Eonerd.
The hobbits had remained hidden during this time, but before the
procession was ready to roll, Morrie paid a last visit to Eonerd and
Eowynn. And Eonerd said 'Kings of old would have laden you with gifts
that a tractor-trailer could not bear for your deeds upon the Cowboy's
Field; but those were the Kings of Old, and these are cheaper times.
Nonetheless, my sister wants you to have this, in memory of the horns
of the Mark at sunrise.' And Morrie wondered what Eonerd was talking
about, but he kept his mouth shut.
Then Eowynn gave to Morrie a small tin horn, wrought with a rubber
sphere at one end. 'This is an heirloom of our house,' said Eowynn.
'When you squeeze the globe, the horn will make a noise. Behold!' and
she pressed the rubber sphere with her white fingers. _Honk_ went the
horn. _Honk, honk_.
*Part ye Fourthe*
Lego-lass and Giggly were to continue on to the Giggling Caves at
Deem's Help, to start their long-planned amusement park. Aragon and
Arwen, who had an interest in all new enterprises in the region, came
along, as did El Rond, Al Ladan and Al Rokar, as they were planning to
return to their homes by this route. When Lego-lass emerged from the
Giggling Caves she was laughing her rear end off, and immediately
fronted Giggly the money to begin the project, and the two at once
telegraphed Minas Tirith (TM) to round up investors.
Leaving Lego-lass and Giggly behind, the others rode from Deem's
Help to Isengard, expecting to meet the Ments there and behold Isengard
transformed into an electric paradise. But all the land around was dim
and quiet as they approached. Eagles circled ominously overhead.
Cardinals and waxwings in the nearby bushes eyed them disturbingly.
At Isengard they saw that the stone circle had been destroyed.
Where it had been was a wilderness of trees and bushes, full of deer,
bears, wolves, panthers, oliphaunts, sloths, tigers, langurs and
macaques, not to mention birds of all shapes and sizes. With
trepidation the travellers rode to the center of the old circle. The
hobbits, as usual, sneaked along behind. The hideous shape of Eyesore
still stood there, its shadow sadly reflected in the water of a pool
As they stood, aghast at the transformation of Isengard from
something that might have been economically productive into some kind
of biologically diverse eco-park, they heard a series of squawks and
whistles coming from nearby. They turned, and slowly became aware of a
figure sitting very still, cross-legged, in the shade of a pine tree.
It was clad in a simple robe of hempen brown, and its thin hair and
scanty beard were of brown streaked with grey. A yellow-breasted chat
stood on one thigh and ate berries from an upturned hand. The man
smiled, looking well-pleased and amused.
A sudden light broke on Frodo. 'Radagast!' he cried, forgetting
that he was supposed to be sneaking.
Radagast laughed. 'So you have heard the name, have you? All the
Woodmen used to call me that in Rhosgobel, I believe. A sign of
affection, possibly. But evidently you did not expect to see me here.'
'I did not,' Frodo said. 'But I might have guessed. The crows, the
'Exactly,' Radagast answered. 'You have been watched, all the way
from Rivendell. And now, with Aruman and Gandalf out of the way, with
Morenaughtie and Rumpustum in the distant East, with the Balrog
destroyed and Sauron reduced to impotence, I am the most powerful of
the Maiar left in the West. And I have... hm... plans.'
'You traitor!' cried Aragon. 'What have you done with my Ments?'
'I sent them home,' Radagast said happily. 'To rust, I hope. Their
work is done. Trees and orchards are coming back here, King of Gondor,
where birds may sit and sing and beasts may dig their holes. In time,
Rohan and Gondor both may become fit habitations for the animals that
shall inherit them. Even in Lothlórien, perhaps, the golf courses
shall grow over with crabgrass, to become the abode of moles and
Aragorn gritted his teeth. 'You can't do this,' he said slowly.
'You're eating into my profit margin. How many people do you think are
going to come out to see this...' -- he gestured around him -- 'this
'Middle-earth was a wilderness once, before Men got their hands on
it,' Radagast said. 'One day it shall be a wilderness again. What you
see is merely the first-fruits. Go back to your kingdom, King of
Gondor; keep it as you may. But know that the beasts and birds are
returning. They will reclaim their own.' He resumed his silent
sitting, and the chat began to whistle again.
Aragon turned on the hobbits, whom he now saw for the first time.
'This is your doing, isn't it! You fiends! You have come all this way
just to see me, the King of Gondor, humiliated!'
Frodo shook his head, confused. A voice in side his head seemed to
be saying _squeeze him while you can, precious!_, but he did not
understand it. Sam grinned. Pipsqueak stared at the spaces between
his toes while Morrie whistled nonchalantly.
Arwen came up behind Aragon. 'This is not the hobbits' doing,' she
said softly. 'They knew no more of Radagast than we, nor do his plans
fit with theirs. Yet I wonder what brings them so far, following on
our very heels?'
Frodo looked at Sam, helplessly. Sam looked at Paragraph.
Pipsqueak nudged Morrie, who looked back at Arwen defiantly.
'I was hoping to get a word with you privately' he said. 'But
this'll have to do.'
'A word?' said Arwen. 'About what?' Her voice was soft but
menacing, as it not infrequently was.
'About your part in the murder of Ariellë Húriniel, and the
attempted murder of Frodo Baggins.'
Aragon, Sam and Pipsqueak gasped. The Elves chuckled sarcastically.
'Murder, Mr. Brandybuck? That's a hard charge to make against the
Queen of Gondor. What evidence do you have?'
'Enough. I know that you enticed Boromir into convincing Giggly
into stealing an arrow from Lego-lass's quiver, which you then could
use to shoot Frodo to keep him quiet, while putting the blame on
'Hah!' Arwen laughed. 'You are very clever, Mr. Brandybuck. Too
clever, some might say. Yes, you are right, Mr. Brandybuck. I did
shoot Frodo, not to kill him, but to keep him from blurting out the
name of Ariellë's murderer before the people of the City.'
'No, not my name, Mr. Brandybuck. The name of the killer. The one
person who had the most to gain from the murder. But no court can now
prosecute the murderer; for he now _is_ the law, and the ultimate
judge: Aragon son of Arathon, King El Lesser.'
Everyone turned to look at Aragon. He stared back at them, mouth
gaping wide open. 'No,' he gasped after a long silence. 'Not me! I
didn't do it! I didn't really want to be king, not like that!'
Morrie looked in Aragon's face for a long time. Then he shook his
head and turned back to Arwen. 'Nope, lady' he said, 'you've got the
wrong guy. It takes a smart cookie to cook up a Bywater Grin, and
frankly, your husband's just a few holes short of a smial, if you know
what I mean.'
'But it had to have been! I mean, who else...'
'Who indeed,' said Morrie, looking around him meaningfully. 'Who
_Idiot_, said the voice in Frodo's head.
Radagast had arisen during the conversation and stood just outside
the circle of recrimination, leaning on a smoothed pinewood staff. He
chuckled softly. 'Well, King of Gondor,' he said, 'perhaps you ought
to return to your own land now. If your own Queen thinks you guilty of
murdering your predecessor, there may be others with the same thought.
And while there is no legal way to punish a king, there are many
illegal ways to remove one. There are those who would not be unhappy
with a change. Some, I guess, who are unhappy with the recent peace
with Mordor, perhaps?'
Aragon and Arwen looked at each other in terror, rushed to their
horses, and galloped off southward without a word of farewell.
'Well now,' said Radagast, considering the elves and hobbits before
him. 'You were travelling on to Rivendell, were you not? Excellent.
I think I shall go with you. It will give me an opportunity to stretch
my legs, and give more attention to the northlands, where my efforts
are perhaps especially needed.'
'But... but... ' said Pipsqueak.
'What about the weed trade?' exclaimed Morrie.
'What about the Revolution?' expostulated Sam.
'_Cassiopeia_!' screamed Frodo, apropos of nothing.
'We're not gonna take this,' said Morrie.
'Oh, no, we ain't gonna take it,' rumbled Sam.
At that moment an immense black bear, six feet tall at the shoulder,
ambled out from behind a rhododendron and looked at them. Its six-inch
claws clacked upon the rocks, and its tongue licked brutally long
'Rest assured, my young friends,' said Radagast, stroking the bear's
fur, 'that all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of
thing shall be well.' And they believed him. He was a Maia, after