Post-The Two Towers News Headlines - Steven Cavanagh reports from Middle Earth

BOROMIR FOUND ALIVE AND WELL
The eldest son of the Steward of Gondor, feared to have perished by the Anduril river at Amon Hen, has been found alive in Osgiliath posing as his own brother.

The ruse was uncovered when 'Faramir', leading a raiding party, was once again confronted with the One Ring. Lacking the integrity and character of his younger brother he instantly succumbed to temptation and captured the two hobbits carrying it. When it was pointed out that the real Faramir would never have done such a thing, the imposter was surrounded. Taken into custody by his own men, the heir to the stewardship removed his rubber mask and cried 'I would have got away with it if it hadn't been for you pesky halflings!'


LAST ALLIANCE RENAMED SECOND LAST ALLIANCE
Historians in the White City have been confronted with a dilemma as startling news arrived from the nearby kingdom of Rohan. Upon hearing that the elves have again allied themselves with the race of men at Helm's Deep, the record keepers have called an urgent council to determine how to refer to the famous Last Alliance of the previous age.

This just wasn't supposed to happen' protested Lord Callig of the scroll keeper's guild. 'We now have to go through over 20,000 scrolls, parchments and scriptures, squeezing in a little upward pointing arrow and then writing 'second' over the top of the line. And what happens if they help us again? It's just inconsiderate'.

'I hear the elves are all clearing off and going overseas. Can't happen soon enough, I say'.


ROHAN FORGES FIRST MALIBU SHIELD
Legolas Greenleaf's shield surfing success at the battle of Helm's Deep has swelled to a craze in Rohan, prompting a wave of enthusiasm and a new official sport.

Not content to merely imitate, the hardy folk of the plains have forged a longer style of battle shield. 'Dude' informs Rip Coerl, waxing down the first Malibu Shield. 'My old shield is like, awesome for sick cobblestoning, but with this thing we can, like, totally cut wicked stairs'.

Apparently the new shield is particular to the varied size of staircases found throughout the ancient fortress, allowing an increased repertoire of maneuvers.

The new design does, however, restrict the market for the new product as noted by Gimli the dwarf: 'You could have picked a shorter length'.


SARUMAN REGRETS CREATING NEW ORC WEAPON
'It all seemed like such a good idea' protested Saruman the White from his Orthanc home last week. 'A mount for my orcs with speed to rival the horse-lords. But look at this!'

His unkempt home is the result of breeding Wargs, giant wolf-like creatures used recently in the assault on Rohan. 'Bad dog! Outside!' he said for the umpteenth time as a giant puppy scampered from the room with a sofa in its mouth. 'I just didn't think it through. I can't keep them off the furniture, I haven't received any mail for weeks and you should see the huge holes they've dug in my front yard!'

Mr The White has already moved into damage control, ordering transparent bottles of water placed in the castle grounds and fast tracking development of a half-ton pooper scooper. 'I've had it!' he exasperated. 'Do you know what it's like to have fifty two-ton dogs all running around with nothing to mark their territory on? What I need is to get a few trees back in here'.


POLITICAL POLLS: THEODEN RALLIES, SLUMPS
After a strong surge of popularity prior to Helm's Deep, King Theoden of Rohan has slipped by more then thirty-seven points in what political analysts are calling the steepest spike in centuries.

'Everyone has been complaining' said Erkenbrand of Edoras, who took no part in the battle.

'Gandalf transformed him from a weak, useless old man incapable of leading his people into a weak, useless old man incapable of leading his people'

'At first it was great- he regained his youth and threw out Wormtongue, but then he led us to Helm's Deep, of all places. That was bad tactics, there's no way out of there. It's not as if he was riding to anyone's aid. Then he just walked around whining to Aragorn about how we were all scared, and hid in the caves during the attack'.

'The Theoden I knew would have boldly ordered his men to follow him on a glorious charge to make an end that would be worth a song. Instead he just sat there until Aaragorn talked him into it, and meekly agreed. Call that a King?'


FOREST APPEARS ON MOUNTAIN TOP
The battle of Helm's Deep was not the only unusual incident to take place last week. On the day after the isolated conflict, Dunharrow residents were startled to find a forest on the White Mountains above them. A great host of trees apparently appeared on a snow-capped peak 'as if they came from nowhere', and remained in plain view the entire day before vanishing during the night.

Although no wind was apparent the trees stirred 'in a frustrated way', and an irritable rustling could be heard by Dunharrow citizens some miles below. When it was discovered that the trees had gone a climber was sent to investigate the site, but all that could be found was a crumpled road map.


LEGAL ACTION THREATENED AGAINST RIVENDELL WEAPONSMITHS
'Where the hell is it?' That's the question on everyone's lips as the Narsil Forging Project, undertaken by Rivendell weaponsmiths, has again suffered from delays and project blowout.

The project's major deliverable, Narsil Third Age(TM) was originally slated for release when the Fellowship of the Ring set off from Rivendell a year ago. This release date slipped by, attributed to lack of clearly defined scope during the requirements gathering phase.

Popular speculation was that N3.0 would be released to its client before the battle of Helm's Deep. This second deadline has also come and gone, prompting concerns that problems with the first version may not be able to be fixed.

'It's not just a lack of the product' said a dejected Aragorn after the battle. 'There just hasn't been any communication- we don't know when it's coming out. It shows not only negligence but a lack of customer focus on the behalf of Rivendell weaponsmiths, and I'm going to take it up with the company. When I eventually get Narsil delivered to me I also want to see their best staff'.

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