Frolijah – Part 21
In which the “interesting” things *aren’t* happening to Alice.
Recapitulation: Alice is stuck in Imladris while Frolijah goes on; Elijodo is stuck on a plane with a rabid E.W. fan while Lea shrugs and abandons her search for him.
Disclaimer: I am not a dead man, therefore I am not Tolkien. Obviously, nothing which is not mine is mine and I disclaim everything. Any similarities between characters in this story and real life are probably either purposeful or not, but they definitely aren’t you. Um, oh, yeah: the end of the poem is Bree379’s. Everyone clap for Bree. Give a bow, please. Okay, on with the story.
As you know, I, Alice, was stuck in Rivendell. All I knew of Frolijah during that time was whatever I could gather by the variances in time – that is, when he was excited, it sped up, and when he was sleeping it slowed, and so on. No one else seemed to notice, and I realize that this is probably of no interest to you whatsoever, dear reader. So with the subtle omniscience of a true author in a tight spot, I will tell you what was going on with him whom you know only as Frolijah.
“And what would an elf know of such things?” This was Gimli, though the central word could have easily been changed to “dwarf” and it would have been Legolas. They had been bickering nonstop ever since leaving Rivendell, less than a week ago. Frolijah sighed.
“Speciesist,” he muttered. Despite his falling into the method acting part of Frodo Baggins, he couldn’t help being annoyed. “At least on Star Trek they didn’t care. Wait . . . how do I know that? I’ve never seen any of that series. It must be the weather.”
And indeed the weather perfectly matched the relationship between Legolas and Gimli: grey, wet, and unpleasant. Wet because of the incident with one elf, one dwarf, a bottle of water, and that strange smelling plant. . . . Frolijah smiled. That one was kind of funny.
“Perhaps that is why you can’t climb trees. Or are you just too fat?”
“At least I don’t climb them because I’m too busy fixing my hair.”
“No, I suppose you don’t care what you look like. It’s not as if anyone can see down that far anyway without quite an effort.”
“A great advantage in battle, I assure you.”
“Says the elf who fights with a bow from great distances.”
“You know,” Frolijah hedged. “Perhaps I may be able to help you in your argument.”
The entire Fellowship turned towards him, eager to hear this task that was surely impossible. They had been listening to the arguments of Legolas and Gimli for days, and any possible deterrent would be welcome. “Oh, what is that?” Legolas asked loftily – though less so, because Frolijah was the Ringbearer, after all.
“Among my people, there was a great struggle to find the answer to the universal question. Finally we did: it is 42.”
“42!” Gimli exclaimed, stopping and looking at Frolijah strangely. Pippin, ever . . . ah, sensible . . . was the one who brought up the question each of them had been wondering.
“What’s the universal question?”
Frolijah grinned widely, as if he’d won. “That’s what I’d like to know. Surely, as great as the elves and dwarves are, one of them should be able to tell a simple hobbit like myself.” Saying no more, he began to walk once more, waiting until he was much farther ahead before bursting into silent laughter. Anything to keep them from arguing.
“What is the universal question?” Aragorn asked, sidling up to Frolijah, far enough ahead that it was likely no others would hear. “Surely you know.”
Frolijah looked at him in surprise. “I think the question is: is there a universal question at all, not what is it.”
“But you said you 42 was the answer!”
“You have a better answer?”
Aragorn looked at him sternly for a moment, then actually laughed. It sounded strange and rare, coming from the Ranger. He shook his head, and a second later, and resumed his Ranger duties. But it was enough, Frolijah had succeeded: he knew for sure that Aragorn had a sense of humor.
Merry, who had been watching the entire scene, emerged from his hiding place. He nodded respectfully at Frolijah. “You were right, he does know how to laugh, I admit it.”
“And our agreement?”
“Here’s the pipeweed I got from you yesterday. But I bet I can get Gimli to laugh before you can get Legolas to.”
“I’ll take that bet. Same stakes?”
“Unless you have mushrooms.”
Frolijah shook his head. “Aragorn refused to pack any. He said he didn’t like the effect they had on me.”
“I wonder why,” Merry answered drily. “But it doesn’t matter; we have to get an elf and dwarf to laugh.” He went to fill Pippin in on the newest development. Hobbits in general weren’t terribly (well, usually) into betting, but anything to get the others to smile . . . they were so serious. Anyway, pipeweed was at stake.
About ten minutes had passed when Pippin made the first attempt (it was only natural the two younger hobbits should work together.) He crept up behind elf and dwarf and listened to their conversation for a while.
“Surely you must agree, that the Universal Question would have nothing to do with dwarves, burrowers in the ground, so low. Perhaps it refers to a number of elves.”
“How many elves does it take to change a candlestick?” Gimli guessed.
“30,” Pippin answered promptly. “One to change in and twenty-nine to assure him that it will hurt neither his ego nor his hair.”
“Exactly!” Gimli exclaimed while Legolas glowered. But while the dwarf beamed in satisfaction, no laugh elicited from his mouth.
Disappointed and a little put out, though by no means giving up, Pippin returned to Merry. “Your turn,” he whispered.
During the time when Pippin had been attempting to get Gimli to laugh, Frolijah was making his own preparations. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he knew that he should probably be more serious about the whole Quest-thingy. But, somehow, his brain wouldn’t let him do that. Pressure was better handled under the guise of humor, anyway. Besides, he was nearly ready.
“And then I got another television so I could watch Flipper, the Lord of the Rings, the Faculty, Huck Finn, and whatsit-called, that new movie of yours, all at once!! I’m just totally serious!! You are so my favorite actor of all time!!! Don’t you think?!!!”
“Me too!! Oh, we’ve landed,” the rabid fan girl pouted. “Hasn’t this flight just flown by? Get it? Flown by!!!”
“Excuse me, but may I get past? Everyone else has left the . . . the plane.” Elijodo sounded polite, but in truth he had more than he could stand and was ready to blow up at the fan girl (guts and all) in a way that he never had – not even at the S-Bs.
“Oh, yeah! Did I give you my phone number, address, fax-number, e-mail, IM, cell number, and social security number?!!”
“Yes! And I don’t want them! You are no lady and I wish never to be stuck in such an uncomfortable, ghastly condition again in my entire existence!”
“You – you don’t?” The girl burst into tears, and Elijodo felt instantly guilty. Almost. But her crying had happened several time before on the plane, if, say, he forgot her name, and he knew that comforting her would only elicit stronger emotions of attachment on her part. So feeling strange and out-of-character, Elijodo took his bag and left her there, crying. A moment later, she ran after him.
“You left this on your chair!” she said, as if that gave her an excuse to talk to him again. “Look, it’s a poem or something!”
“Yes, thank you!” Elijodo grabbed it and headed out, instinctively remembering how to get off a plane. He didn’t even look at the slip of paper.
It was nearly two hours later when Elijodo, settled down in his new room, remembered paper in his hand. He was sure that it was of no importance, but there was nothing better to do (save study the script, whatever he was supposed to be doing with it) and so he read it:
Flying away on wings of gold
Is just a story, told by the old
To the young, and likely sort
Who later join the last resort
And become what they think is grand,
Fighting monsters in a foreign land
And never gaining a true family
I know this is true; it happened to me.
And let me say this, to you who know not
For it is something I never forgot:
To remember what you don’t know,
Is to forget all that you owe.
And dream of a far away place
The life that you live to erase.
Elijodo frowned at the paper. The words were quivering on it, as if trying to squirm away from under his gaze. He re-read it, and wondered: what did it mean? The first part was probably just an introduction, telling about heroes who fought . . . sad heroes, or just one, the one who wrote it, who never had any joy or family. And what he never forgot? That not living in the moment, as the expression went, was to lose your life for an imaginary one. Yes, perhaps that’s what it meant. And then again, perhaps not.
Elijodo peered at the words again, trying to decipher them more clearly. But they kept trying to change. It was as if they weren’t in normal Westron!
No . . . they were. That was the strange thing. Elijodo glanced around him, reading small signs here and there, which all made sense to him, easily. But this, this Westron, was strange to him, when he could read the other things easily. Was he losing his old life?
Or was it just the plane food?
Author’s Notes: Ah, hah! I got it out in a reasonable amount of time! Cheer me! *Bows*. Okay, this part is dedicated to my dear beta, Jeanlily. Wave, Jeanlily. Also, thanks to Bree for the end to the poem.
Comments good. I love comments.
Part 1: https://www.theonering.com/docs/9902.html
Part 2: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10143.html
Part 3: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10355.html
Part 4: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10482.html
Part 5: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10757.html
Part 6: https://www.theonering.com/docs/10954.html
Part 7: https://www.theonering.com/docs/11150.html
Part 8: https://www.theonering.com/docs/11304.html
Part 9: https://www.theonering.com/docs/11439.html
Part 10: https://www.theonering.com/docs/11595.html
Part 11: https://www.theonering.com/docs/11798.html
Part 12: https://www.theonering.com/docs/12295.html
Part 13: https://www.tolkienonlien.com/docs/12515.html
Part 14: https://www.theonering.com/docs/12955.html
Part 15: https://www.theonering.com/docs/12955.html
Part 16: https://www.theonering.com/docs/13251.html
Part 17: https://www.theonering.com/docs/13606.html
Part 18: https://www.theonering.com/docs/14852.html
Part 19: https://www.theonering.com/docs/15827.html
Part 20: https://www.theonering.com/docs/16246.html