To get to Bree the Hobbits and Elfen needed to go through the old forest. All of them knew of the stories of the old forest, of the trees being able to move and seem like they were talking. Elfen knew this more then the hobbits. Rufus quite enjoyed the trees and grass except when the forest seemed to be talking and moving. At those times Rufus would jump into Elfen’s arms.
“Silly kitten,” she said, letting out a small laugh and smiling.
Finally after a long and tiring trudge through the big woods the five of them reached the end. Elfen saw that Rufus was getting tired, and she picked him up.
“I think maybe we should rest for a minute.” Elfen looked back and saw that the hobbits where well behind her starting dinner. She laughed at this and walked back.
“Ah! Fried mushrooms! Did you want some, Frodo and Elfen?” Pippin asked as he prepared them and then dished them out. Frodo accepted, but Elfen refused.
“I really can’t stand mushrooms. Besides, I have my own food.” She took out a sandwich she made before they left. Rufus quite enjoyed the fried mushrooms and the bits of meat from Elfen’s sandwich.
“We should get going soon. We will be able to stop in Bree for the night and have supper there hopefully,” Elfen said, standing up and helping Sam pack. They headed off, and within five or six hours they reached Bree. They walked up to an inn with a sign saying `Prancing Pony.’ They walked in and Elfen stepped up to the bar.
The bartender turned around. He was a fat man, slightly balding, and had a bushy mustache. He walked over to Elfen and looked her over. “Can I help you?” he asked, puzzled at the way she was dressed.
“Yes. My companions,” she motioned to the four Hobbits, “and I are seeking accommodations.”
The bartender nodded his head. “I have some nice cozy hobbit-sized rooms and a good comfy room for you… Miss…” he said.
“Clark, and these are Masters Underhill, Gamgee, Took, and Brandybuck,” she said, pointing to each of the Hobbits as she said their names. The bartender nodded his head and motioned for them to sit down in the main area of the bar. Elfen looked around from the place were she sat. A small look of disgust on her face. She deeply disapproved of the amount of drinking that was being done in the bar. She looked over and saw a man sitting in the corner smoking a pipe. His face was hidden, but Elfen knew who he was.
“That man has done nothing but stare at us since we got here,” Sam said looking over to the faceless man.
“Who is he?” Frodo asked, looking too. He stopped the bartender, who was walking by, “Excuse me. That man in the corner over there. Who is he?”
The bartender looked over and back at them with wide eyes.
“He’s one of those rangers, dangerous folk. They wander the wild. What his right name is I don’t know, but around here he’s known as Strider.” He walked away and Frodo kept looking.
From a distance he could hear Pippin talking and then he heard, “Baggins? Sure I know a Baggins…”
Frodo snapped back to life and stood up on a table, saying, “I think we need a song!” Everyone looked at him and approved of the idea. Frodo fiddled with something in his pocket before he started singing:
“There is an inn, a merry old inn
Beneath an old grey hill,
And the brew a beer so brow
That the Man in The Moon himself came down
One night to drink his full.
The ostler has a tipsy cat
That play’s a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
Now sawing in the middle.
The landlord keeps a little dog
That is mighty fond of jokes;
When there’s a good cheer among the guest,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
And laughs until he chokes.
They also keep a horned cow
As proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And make her wave her tufted tale
And dance upon the green.
And O! the rows of silver dishes
And the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there’s a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
On Saturday afternoons.
The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.
The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.
Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
“The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master’s been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun’ll be rising soon!”
So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
“It’s after three!” he said.
They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.
Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.
With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.
The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her suprise
they all went back to bed.”
Frodo finished his song and everyone clapped and called for more. They sang the song over and over again and he started to do actions to the song. When he got to `the cow jumped over the moon’ Frodo leaped into the air and fell off the table, disappearing. Both Elfen and Strider stood up.
When Frodo reappeared Strider grabbed him and took him to a room. Elfen followed. They went into a room, where Strider threw off his hood to reveak his face. “You draw too much attention to yourself little one,” Strider said.
Elfen, who was standing in the corner, stepped in to the firelight. “Let him alone, Strider. He carries nothing.” Frodo and Strider both looked at her. She was very brave for a girl, and she looked at Strider with power, like she was higher than him.
“You speak nobly, Miss Clark, but that is no trinket he carries,” Strider said.
Frodo looked up at Elfen, who was now behind him. “I-I-I carry nothing,” Frodo stammered. Strider shook his head and extinguished the candles. Sam, Pippin and Merry barged into the room ready to attack someone. Strider jumped and turned around.
“Let my Mr. Frodo go! Or I’ll have you longshanks!” Sam said, raising his fist ready to attack. Pippin and Merry were right behind him, holding a stool and candle.
“You have a stout heart, little one,” Strider said.
“Well, let’s not stand around. Strider, you know what is hunting for the little trinket. Do you have any idea how they can avoid getting, um, killed?” Elfen said as she tilted her head towards the Hobbits. She knew very well what was coming next but didn’t say anything. Strider suggested that they stay in his room and make it look like they where in the room they were suppose to be in.
All of them agreed and they moved quickly. This is what they did: First they got four potato sacks and filled them with feathers and stuff. Then they put them under the covers of the four small beds to make it look like the four Hobbits were sleeping in them. Elfen then took her stuff, grabbed Rufus and then helped Sam with his things. They went to Strider’s room and got ready for bed.
Strider and Elfen stayed awake while the Hobbits settled down and fell asleep. Rufus curled up on Elfen’s lap and purred softly while Elfen stroked him. Suddenly four of the Black Riders came into the inn. They slowly made there way up to the hobbits’ room. Each rider went to one of the beds and drew his sword. They brought the swords up and held them there for a brief moment, before they brought them down and stabbed the beds. The hobbits awoke in fear, as the Black Riders screeched when they found only potato sacks and feathers. Frodo sat up quite suddenly.
“What are they?” he asked.
“They were once men. Great kings of men.” Strider said.
Elfen continued. “Then Sauron, the deceiver, gave to them nine rings of power.”
Then Strider picked up where Elfen left off. “Blinded by their greed, they took them without questioning, one by one falling into darkness.”
Elfen continued. “Now they are slaves to his will.”
“They are the Nazgul.”
“Ringwraiths,” Elfen interrupted.
“Neither living nor dead.”
“At all times they feel the presence of the ring.”
“Drawn to the power of the One.” Strider then gave Elfen a look saying “are you going to finish that? Or are you going to be quiet?” Then just as Strider was going to finish. Elfen and him said the same thing: “They will never stop hunting you.”
Strider looked at Elfen as if he was going to kill her. Elfen just smiled at him innocently. Frodo, meanwhile, was looking at them both with fear. Pippin, Sam, and Merry looked at each other, and then back to Frodo, then to Strider and Elfen. Then, all of a sudden, Elfen had to say, “That was a little frightening for poor Frodo.” She then looked to Frodo, who looked very scared.
“We should leave at once. As soon as the sun comes out,” Aragorn said, standing up.
“I think you should get some rest, little ones,” Elfen said, also standing up. Rufus fell off her knee, meowed loudly and went to the bed, curling into a little black ball on Pippin’s lap.
Dawn came too quickly for the Hobbits. Elfen and Strider stayed up all night packing the bags and preparing to leave, getting weapons and a pony. Elfen woke the four sleepy Hobbits with a soft touch of her hand.
“Come on, it’s time to wake up. We got to get going,” she said. She looked extremely tired and her hair fell loosely around her face, framing its beauty. They got dressed, had a quick and hurried breakfast, and were off. As they left the city, Elfen noticed a man in the shadows, she could only see the metallic look of his eyes as he disappeared.
Those eyes, she thought. They seem so familiar. She shook her head and continued to walk with the four Hobbits, and Strider, heading to Rivendell.