Frolijah – Part 12
On and on we go, I don’t want to hold your hand. Song cue!
Recap: How did they get to Middle Earth? Alice and Frolijah gave some (very odd) guesses. Elijodo – poor guy! – spilled the beans to Lea in an attempt convince her that he really is Frodo Baggins.
“You mean you were asleep and didn’t even notice when the Nazgûl came??” I asked incredulously. How thick can you get? Obviously more than I had thought – and that was after completing a high school full of . . . well, full of not-very-bright people. At least, that’s what I called them when I was being nice. “I mean, through trumpets and shouting and whatnot?”
“Hey, come on – I was — tired!”
“And I was a flying bunny rabbit.”
“No, I’m serious! You were asleep too! I mean, after conking it out the first time, then hitting your pillow laughing ten minutes later -”
“Thank you for waking us all up, Frodo.” Pippin popped his curl-covered head from under the blankets and stared blearily at Frolijah. “We really didn’t need the sleep.” Frolijah scowled at him before hopping out of bed himself. I suppose acting gets you used to waking up early. Errrrr.
Trying to beat him to the spot, I hurried into the next room to see what I already knew was there: slashed bolsters (I finally learned what bolsters were, and then felt stupid for not realizing earlier. What kind of fan was I, to have a vocabulary so small? That was a rhetorical question; you don’t have to answer it. In fact, I’d rather if you didn’t) and brown mats torn to pieces. Some of the scraps waved mournfully in the wind. It might have been sad, even sickening, except for the fact that my level of emotion was about zero – equal to how much restful sleep I had gotten after the quantum discussion and such, despite what Frolijah had said. Yawn.
Aragorn (wait, I have to think of him as Strider – right? Right.) so: Strider went to fetch Barliman Butterbur. Great: another guy who could get up well. It must have been a curse for me to be with these people. Rising before nine o’clock – what was their problem? Beside the obvious, that is.
Guess what happened next? (As if you don’t already know) Our horses were gone, causing a three hour delay. But at least I got enough to eat – something of extreme importance in my opinion. And then we got to go. Oh, goody.
Well, in the end there turned out to be one horse left – that belonging to Mr. Sleazy. I mean Bill Ferny. This is how it happened.
” — it,” said Frolijah upon returning with Bob. Theory: he was trying to get away from me. “There is only one horse left – and I’m surprised he’s not dead, from the look of the — thing.” I rolled my eyes. Really, after learning he couldn’t swear, Frolijah had seemed to double his efforts!
“And he won’t part with it for less than thrice it’s worth, seeing how you’re placed, not if I know Bill Ferny;” added Bob helpfully. I rolled my eyes. The swindling – no, must not think bad word. Hmm, I wonder if that would come out as an `—‘ as well . . .
“Bill Ferny?” said Sam. “Isn’t it some kind of trick? Will the beast just bolt back to him or help him track us or something?”
“I wonder,” answered Strider. “But I cannot imagine any animal running home to him, once it got away. I fancy this is only an afterthought of kind Master Ferny’s: just a way of increasing his profits from the affair. The chief danger is that the poor beast is probably at death’s door. But there does not seem any choice. What does it want for it?”
“Twelve silver pennies,” replied Bob. Frolijah looked at me helplessly, no doubt for a translation into a better-know-by-him currency. I shrugged; how would I know? I mean, obsession only goes so far . . .
Well, the horse wasn’t quite dying yet, and Mr. Butterbur paid for it himself as well as offering Merry another eighteen pence for his lost animals, which I suppose was a good price. He was a very decent man, and I was grateful at least to not be personally giving Ferny any money (as if I had any) seeing as I knew – Thank you Tolkien! – even then what would happen in the future.
Speaking of 21st century knowledge, I was beginning to get a pretty good idea of just what might happen if we didn’t get back there soon enough – especially if part of the canon were changed. I’ll give you a hint: death (mine)! Destruction (middle-earth)! Endless games of Candyland (hell)!
My point is, in case you haven’t gotten it – I wouldn’t be surprised – that I felt it my duty to do nothing worthy of mention and stay out of everybody’s way while still going on to make sure Frolijah – who I had about as much trust in as I had chance of rolling a `7′ on a typical die – kept going and finished the Quest without getting himself (or me) killed in the process, or letting anyone – especially the canon characters – know who we were and where we were from.
Oh, yeah: back to the story. Sorry about my little rant; I’ll get out of the way now and – wait, what was Frolijah doing now?
Waving? Okay, let me back up a little.
We had started off with Frolijah in the front accompanied by Strider. Next came Merry then Pippin, and I went with Sam in back. We had the oh-so-stinky job of leading the baggage-laden pony. It looked rather happier than me to get away, despite its load. (After Ferny, I don’t blame it.)
By this time, of course, the story of everything – Frolijah’s disappearance, the wraiths, stolen horses and Strider – had spread all around Bree; so, naturally, everyone was watching us leave. Part of the way out, Frolijah’s actor-instincts must have kicked in, because he – in stark contrast to Strider – waved as he passed, grinning brightly at the crowd. That seemed to scare the Bree-folk as much as Strider’s glower – it just didn’t seem natural.
I wondered if he did it on purpose.
I for one was slightly anxious, because of my hate of crowds. Aside from that, my mind was pretty blank. I get in those moods sometimes: even more sarcastic than usual when I do speak, but largely silent. You might think of it as a `Don’t-you-dare-bother-me-if-you-don’t-want-your-head-bitten-off’ tone. I glared in a way I hoped was menacingly at the Bree-landers. Somehow, I doubt they took me very seriously. How unusual.
Sam was chewing an apple thoughtfully while gazing at his master’s rather poor replacement. He had a whole pocket full of the fruit, as a parting gift from Nob and Bob, and had given me one of the same earlier. “Apples for walking, and a pipe for sitting,” Sam said to himself. “But I reckon I’ll miss them both before long.” Privately, I agreed.
The Breelanders stayed pretty much out of our way, and nothing went at all amiss until we came upon a house I couldn’t describe as anything but foreboding. It was dark and ill-kept, half hidden by a hedge. I remember from the book that in it hide the southerner – the one who was probably more than half goblin.
Over the hedge, a man stared boldly at us. Strider and Frolijah got most of the ogle, though Ferny managed to shoot me a nasty glance as well. He had heavy black brows, and dark scornful eyes; his large mouth curled in a sneer, and appeared to have been stuck in that position for a long time. He was smoking a short black pipe. As we approached, he took it out of his mouth and spat.
“Morning, Longshanks!” he called in Strider’s direction. “Off early? Found some friends at last?” Strider nodded but did not answer. I felt my sarcastic temper rising slightly. “Morning, my little friends!” he said to the rest of us. Friend? Excuse me! “I suppose you know who you’ve taken up with? That’s Stick-at-nought Strider, that is! Though I’ve heard other names not so pretty. Watch out tonight! And you, Sammie, don’t go ill-treating my poor old pony! Pah!” He spat again.
Sam turned quickly, beating me to a come back. “And you, Ferny,” he said, “put your ugly face out of sight, or it will get hurt.” With a sudden flick, quick as lightning, an apple left his hand and hit Bill square on the nose. He ducked to late, and curses came from behind the hedge. “Waste of a good apple,” said Sam regretfully. I applauded him quietly as we went on.
After a little bit, possibly too far for Ferny to have followed us well, we turned off the road, on what Strider promised not to be another infamous short-cut. In his own words: “Ah, but you had not got me with you then,” laughed Strider, meaning our previous attempts. “My cuts, short or long, don’t go wrong.”
“But,” said Elijodo in a depressed voice, “I don’t even know how I got here!”
“Well, I figure that you extended one of the quantum foam wormholes using magic instead of anti-energy, but had to switch with a counter-part once you were here. This could go wrong, I guess, if instead Middle-earth is just the past, in which case I can’t get you back – not that I could anyway, but it’s impossible for a time machine to go backwards in time.”
“I don’t understand what you are saying,” Elijodo said, confused. Lea ignored him, and went on.
“Unless, of course, something happened if you went faster than the speed of light, and somehow managed to take the wormhole back in time. We may have to do both. If you just went to a similar universe, we could send you back, except for time might be messed up. Oh, and we would have to have the anti-energy or possibly magic the amount of Jupiter, and I can’t get that. So, I guess you’re stuck until your counter-part does switch you.”
“Counter-part – are you saying someone is in Middle-earth as me – and with the real Ring? So the Elijah Wood that used to be here, is now in my body as me?”
Still not really hearing him, Lea continued: “The only problem with this is that, if you did use a wormhole, you might get there before, after, or at the same time you left – ergo being in Middle-earth at the same time as your counter part, who we must assume is Elijah Wood.”
“Yes, I said that. But are you sure about all this quantum stuff? What is it anyway? I have not heard of it before. You say we could use magic instead – perhaps that is it. And what is this wormhole you continue to mention?” Elijodo broke off, realizing that Lea was too busy diving into her scientific knowledge to pay him any heed, yet.
“Of course, it could be even more complicated if a) you were not the only one switched, and so we have to get multiple people back; b) you are switched in a 3-way triangle or even more; or c) it has nothing to do with anything I’ve talked about; or d) you really are Wood and just went a little crazy. What do you think?”
Elijodo stared at Lea apprehensively, trying to follow the long and – mostly – scientific spiel she had embarked upon. He had a feeling he had missed something. Like what the heck she was talking about. He wondered once more what quantum was, but that could wait – he had thought of an easier tactic, one that was sure to get her attention. “What if it’s a lot simpler than that?” he asked.
“Simpler? Like what? You mean not quantum foam-wormhole based?”
“No – maybe the Valar sent me here, or such. I can’t imagine they would need . . . quantum . . . to do it. But it doesn’t really matter how I got here. The important thing is that I return to Middle-earth before it is too late. I know now more than ever that time is flying by and I must get back. And I have only you to help me.”
“Are you sure it’s not quantum?” Lea asked suspiciously.
“I don’t even know what that is, and therefore could not have possibly done it. You must understand, if it is truly my fault, or even that of the true Elijah Wood, our switch must indeed be something more effortless than . . . quantum.” Elijodo watched as Lea deflated slightly, then resumed his speech.
“What I did understand from all of that, though, was the possibility that it wasn’t only the two of us switched – perhaps the real Mr. Wood is in some totally different predicament, and one who knows nothing of my world is there. I hope that is not the case; for if it is, I would fear even more for the fate of my world. I only wish that Mr. Wood, knowing something of the situation, can go on without the knowledge I have.
“But I think that there is, perhaps, something else to consider: what if I am not the only one to make the switch.”
“What do you mean,” Lea asked, confused. “I did mention multiple people, but surely it would be relatively obvious if someone else were switched! I would know if anyone was missing . . .” she trailed of in realization.
“What is it?” Elijodo asked. “I was going to say that we – I hope – have not been so very conspicuous, but perhaps you do know someone who is gone? And by the look on your face, no counter-part has shown himself in this person’s place.”
“My sister,” Lea said in a low voice. “She went to you – Elijah Wood, that is – for an interview, and never came back. I thought she had just forgotten to contact me, but maybe it wasn’t her . . . or maybe she had not counter-part, and is stuck in Middle-earth with the real Wood, or whoever! Seeing as they might have gotten split apart, or switched with different people or something. I can see her as a Ringwraith . . . but this is assuming you really are who you claim to be, that is.”
“Have we not clarified that?”
“Well, you are speaking in English, not Westron.”
“English? I have never heard of it! Is English your language?” asked Elijodo in surprise. “Well, in that case, at least we can be sure your sister is able to communicate with the people of my world. I don’t have any other explanation. But that would probably be the reason why – even not counting accents – the words of people here are odd to me, though I did not previously know why.”
“That’s an interesting thought,” said Lea, not really paying attention; she was thinking, and could almost grasp something that seemed very important.
“What is a wormhole?” asked Elijodo, noticing Lea’s odd expression, though not interpreting her contemplation correctly.
“It’s like a portal between two places. They are very unstable, and – wait! I just thought of something!” Lea exclaimed, jumping up from her seat on one of Elijah Wood’s chairs. She ran up stairs for a moment, then came back down before Elijodo had a chance to ask what she was doing. “Time!”
“Does time work in the same way? For all we know, when – yes, when, not if! – you get back, how much time will have passed? None at all? The same amount as here? You could arrive before you ever left, or a hundred years after! Time!”
Elijodo gaped at the truth in her words. What if time were passing even more quickly than he had guessed?
I beg you all to be proud of me for finally getting this out – not angry for the wait! – for it was a struggle, though I must admit, after I was done with Frolijah, Elijodo was just fun, as always. Please comment!
Oh, and all the quantum stuff is as accurate as I can make it. In general, I hate science. But Quantum Physics interests me for this very reason – what if I could go to Middle-earth? It’s an intriguing thought.
Sorry this part wasn’t as humourous as I try to make most. Necessity and writer’s-blockity.