Journal of Ruin Took, part I by pipsqueak
This is the journal of Ruin Took, Half-halfling, and descendent of the Thain Peregrin Took. Touch it and you must die. (Unless, of course you are me. Who am I? Ruin Took, of course, you ninnyhammer! But if you are reading this then you are a DEAD ninnyhammer.)
Entry 1: I am avoiding Elrohir’s all too parental eye. He caught me tracking a just a few specks of mud into the main hallway. I protested I was on my way to a bath (As If!) but no, clean it up this instant young lady you should be ashamed of yourself for making such a mess and not cleaning it up and leaving someone else to do your dirty work…ect, ect. To tell the truth, Imladris is getting very crowded these days. I might take off to Mirkwood and Legolas’ court for a month soon. Legolas lets me get away with a lot of things others do not. Even my pets are allowed. And I would love to roam those deep woods for a while. There is always something mysterious abroad there to try and get a peep at. I think I shall ask Elrohir. I know he will like the notion.
Entry 2: Elrohir said he already had a trip for me as message bearer. But to where? The Shire! Of all the places to spend a fine adventurous summer I have to go there. Maybe I can lodge at Bree. They always have a couple half orcs around there. But I think I will not have a speck of adventure this summer.
Maybe you are thinking of asking me why I do not like the Shire. I admit it is a wonderful place for relaxation, but I am hardly in the mood for that. But the main reason I hate going there is the size issue. I am always a head smaller than anyone outside the shire, so I am used to being thought small. But in the shire I am almost a foot taller than anyone else, and it is very hard and trying when you so want to be included in a hobbit game, but all the hobbit children your age are 3 feet tall. It makes me feel like a very, well, Giant person. It is down-heartening, even for a Took.
Entry 3: Well, on my way to the shire. For a bit of fun I think I shall cut through the forest. I am always welcome at Brandy hall, and they are fairly tall, so I don’t feel quite so enormous. I might meet Bombadil through here. I hope so, because I am getting dreadfully hungry for more than camp fare.
The sky is clouding over. I hope I reach the forest soon, as the trees might add some protection against the coming rain. Oh Tom, why couldn’t you have given me sane directions instead of “Over hill and Under hill and through my lady’s lilys,”?
Finally! The forest! But the sky looks like it’s at breaking point. I am running for it.
Made it, and just in time. The thick trees don’t let a drop get through. I feel dead on my feet, but this place has a reputation for not supplying good naps. My great-grand father Pippin went through here, slept, and got caught inside a willow tree. Bombadil rescued him.
There is a strange song going through here, and not to be a ninnyhammer, but I think a tree is singing it. I am so tired! The song does not help, either, making my eyelids feel like lead. I do not care what happens, I shall take a rest. This tree has a nice look around it. Good Night!
Entry 4: Oh what a horrible tree that one was! I guess getting almost eaten alive by it runs in the family! I was just dropping of when wham! It closed all around me. Why didn’t I think not to sleep by a willow? I am sure I should have known better. So there I was, with no prospect of a nap, and my clothes drenched. (The leaves did NOT provide enough protection.) I grappled for my sword, and had just pulled it out when a horrible creaky voice told me to put it back or be squeezed to death! Lovely. I didn’t like that idea but being eaten alive didn’t have much appeal either. I nearly had the sword drawn out when instantly the tree did squeeze me, and tight. Tighter than any of my hobbit aunts ever, and I had one break a rib, too. I felt like I was going to die when I lashed out with the sword. The tree quivered, and the bark around my face was sliced open.
“Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, Harken now and hear us!
Come Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!”
I sang the song as loud as I could, and the tree let me looser ever so little, when the reply came rippling over the hill.
Tom looked at my muddy, face through the hole in the bark and burst out laughing.
“Ho, Ruin, Halfhobbit! Runs in the family, this particular trait.”
“Oh, just make it let go. It’s hot in here.” I replied grouchily, but very relieved. Dinner was Served.
Entry 5: Today I made it through the rest of the forest, after a very good overnight at Tom’s, meals included. I am now at Brandyhall, where the nature of Elrohir’s message was revealed. Eomer had died, and Meriadoc Brandybuck was not going to return, nor Peregrin Took. Their positions would fall to their kin, and they wrote who they wanted. I wonder who that would be, since both would be related to me. Strider, Meriadoc’s oldest son, was quiet about whom it was. I assumed the hall would fall to him. By tradition it falls to a male, especially the Thainship.
Merry and Pippin are not dead, but they want to spend their time left in Gondor or elsewhere with the Fellowship, or what’s left of it. After this I plan to visit them, After all, Peregrin is my great-grandfather and Merry is, um, my, um…. I think he is my first cousin three times remove on his mother’s side. Complicated.
Entry 6: I have been called to Brandy Hall. I have no idea what for, I have been very careful to wipe my feet before coming in.
Oh Elbereth. I did NOT expect this. What a ninnyhammer I have been! How didn’t I notice I was in the direct line to be Thain? My mother is dead, and her father, and both their spouses. That leaves me. I know I can’t. Not at all.
This is a big shock. I am going to bed after pondering this until midnight.
Entry 7: I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I can’t even think.
I couldn’t ever be Thain. I am not that kind of a person, who would stay at home, and be reliable, and never do anything unexpected, and lead a country with every one a foot smaller than me. I think every one else would agree. I am not even pure hobbit. Can you imagine the kind of insults there would be? I can. Even hobbits can be ill-natured. How could I even begin to be Thain?
I was correct, Strider agreed with all my reasons. Yet he couldn’t change fate, except send me to plea with Peregrin to change it.
So be it.
Entry 8: I set out yesterday night, and let the night air freshen my wits. I did not stop till noon today, when I reached the outskirts of Hobbiton. Then I slept in a grove of trees just off the road, after making sure there were no willows amongst them. From there I have continued, and set a good pace. I should reach Bree in another day, if I keep at this pace. I refused the offer of a shire pony, they do not go fast enough for my liking, but when I reach Rohan, I will buy a horse. Or maybe something a bit toned down. I am not that adventurous, nor that tall, being five feet, two and a ‘alf inches, and dreadfully scared of heights.
Entry 9: I am at Bree, seated in a corner over a Pint. Of milk. I am only 18, clearly underaged for ale by hobbit standards. I get a lot of people eyeing me, because I look even younger for my age, and a girl with hobbit blood clearly not of age wearing pants and a sword with something in front of her that is a pint of something or another is most determinedly not normal. Even for Bree. I wonder how much they would stare if they saw the mail under my dark cloak? I think I am pretty safe though, as long as I don’t put on a ring and disappear. Barliman the second knows me well, and knows my preference. (Also my age, unfortunately for any drinks I might have) A nice corner table, near an open window, and a bottom floor room with good candles.
Ahh. It is good to rest, and my feet are telling me to never, ever get up again. A waitress flitters by and catches my order of a piece of pumpkin pie. My favorite.
Now if only I could forget about the whole Thain thing.
Entry 10: I awoke to a hailstorm of knocks on my door, and opening it Butterbeer almost flung himself in. Something urgent, no doubt!
When Butterbeer had dusted himself off and caught his breath, he quickly told me what in the name of Galadriel he was doing Hammering like a troll on my door at three a.m. after a very long night and a horrific stomachache from too much pie.
“Elves, miss, and I don’t know a word of elvish. Hungry elves, too, if only by the looks of them. ”
I muttered something in elvish, and it was very good he did not know a word of it.
Elves nothing! It was Morowen, one of my best friends and cousin, and, oh, yes, ten others from Mirkwood coming with her. Barliman almost died with anxiety when I avoided noticing he hints for asking if they were hungry.
In the elvish tongue I told Morowen, “And this is the non so noble innkeeper whom believes in hammering on one’s door for a translation at three a.m. and keeps on hinting that I ask you to eat but still won’t give a dying halfhobbit a drop of ale. ”
Barliman smiled, and got their orders quickly.
At the table I told Morowen the Thain trouble, and her eyes widened in astonishment. She agreed to go back with me to ask that I not be Thain, and we decided to set out that very afternoon.
Entry 11: I have been so busy keeping ahead of Morowen when we have been walking I have had no time to write. Morowen hates not being able to walk as fast as me, since she far excels me in battle, bloodthirstiness, and much else except brains. I hope she does not read this when I am asleep. I might not wake up.
Tonight we shall sleep at Weathertop
Ugh. I had forgotten how fell the place was. I am not sure I would want to stay here, but there is little option ahead, and this is by far a very sheltered part of the land. Morowen, of course, pretends to be scared of nothing, and sits upright by the fire, but then she need not sleep (Pure elf). I am but a halfhobbit, and need my rest. This guldor scares me. I will sleep with my sword next to me.
Entry 12: Ninnyhammer that I am! Maybe had I paid closer heed to the news of Bree I should have known that the orcs again roamed this area! I would not think they would dare so close to Imladris. I woke up to Morowen screaming in elvish words not to be written on paper and the hideous sight of orcs all around us. I grabbed my sword and joined Morowen, already hacking off heads. The numbers were far too great, though, and we both fell unconscious and wounded. I don’t know why they haven’t killed us, but it is not for lack of enthusiasm. When I awoke later it was to the burn of lashes across my feet, my back being covered with mail. Morowen, also armored, was getting the same. When they saw we awoke they stopped, and a larger, viler orc stepped up, forcing a draught of their hideous orc drink down us. Morowen Everbrave kicked him, and he brought the lash down on her legs again.
There is one comfort in all of this, though not all-together comforting. If I die I do not have to be Thain.
Entry 13: I am not dead yet, nor is Morowen, but I don’t think the orcs will keep it that way. Either Morowen or I must find a way out, and I want to do it. If it was not for me and my Thain problem we should be happily somewhere else. Morowen, who has not so much hobbit cheer as me, is starting to get down hearted with the trudging. I do not know where we are going. I am not sure I want to. Why does every thing seem to run in the family? Thainship, almost-eaten-alive-by-a-willow, and now getting hauled off by orcs. I can only hope that escape also runs in the family.
Entry 14: After a long days walk, with a whip snapping behind me almost the entire way, I am starting to recognize landmarks again. We are almost to the Mountains of Moria, and I don’t know whether they intend to go over or under them. Neither would suit me.
I do know something however. The orcs can’t quite agree. The large, vile one I told you about earlier is the leader, and older than any of the others. It turns out he was in the war. He captured Pippin and Merry with the one group, but escaped with some others before the Riders of Rohan came. He has been very suspicious of me, since looks also run in the family, and I am very like Pippin.
There is another one, a tall, almost man orc here, with a small band of rebels. He is much younger, and had a father in the original orc band, an orc by the name of Ugluk. He is for killing us now, but the other one, named Zugra, seems to have a reason for keeping us alive. While being alive would be some relief, being alive for a reason known by an orc is very foreboding.
Entry 15: We are going through Moria and after that around Lorien and following Anduin to Emyn Muil and then up into Mordor. I don’t know why, but is there any way it could be good?
For the first time I have gotten a good talk with Morowen. Most of the Orc band went ahead to raid a village, (The evil things!) and left us guarded by only four orcs, none of whom were very concerned about a halfhobbit and a elf tied hand and foot. They drew off into a circle around the fire, and talked, leaving Morowen and I together.
“Morowen, “I whispered. “I know where we’re going.”
As I told her, she shuddered visibly, something she has never done in all the time I knew her.
“Mordor? Why? To starve us all together? Or to leave us to some fell beast? ” She asked. “Whatever the reason, it is not good.”
“Oh, you don’t say. ” I said, and she laughed a little, which was good. Now was the time to laugh the loudest, when we needed it the most. Seeing the orcs were engrossed in the devouring of some animal, we talked longer. Still no escape came to mind.
I fell asleep soon, trying to get some rest before going the mines. They might be safer going through with an orc band, but not less tiring.
Entry 16: We were marching through Moria. I slipped though, and cut both my knees on a sharp step, and couldn’t walk anymore, not at their pace. Unwillingly an orc tied my hands and looped them around his neck, and we went along this way until the troop made camp. Morowen walked all the way, and I can’t say I don’t prefer that to riding piggyback on an orc. My knees still hurt, even though they are bandaged. We are in the middle of the same room that the fellowship slept in, with the huge well in the middle. Before settling down, I took a rock and tossed it down, with a deep, resonating Plunk! at the bottom. Things do run in the Family.
Entry 17: I have lost count of time down in this pit. I can’t imagine anyone at all wanting to live here, except orcs and other foul creatures. I am beginning to be able to walk again, but still end up on orc back most of the time. Most of that time I think, and dream. I dream mostly about people. People I’ll probably never see again. If Elrohir knew what was happening now I think he would let me bathe Rivendell in mud instead of this. I hate getting all emotional. Some one always laughs or you look like a sentimental fool.
Entry 18: This will never end. I want to die. No, I am NOT kidding.
Entry 19: Today I saw a glimpse of sunlight, straight through a hole in the mountain. We are close.
Morowen fainted today. I think she is almost worse off than me. An orc roughly slung her over his shoulders since she is too tall to ride piggyback. After many hours she awoke and demanded to be put down, but they knocked her out again, because she grabbed a sword. Thanks to her we are an orc short.
It seems there is even more orc trouble. Zugra is having trouble with the tall one I told you about. (His name is Ugrul) Ugrul is insisting we will be more trouble than we are worth, and wants to kill us now. Zugra is mad at him, and they are arguing. I am too tired to listen anymore, and not sure whom I hope wins.
Entry 20: I awoke this morning to a hideous uproar. Zugra and Ugrul stayed up far into the night, arguing. They quarreled, and Zugra was killed. Ugrul will kill us.
I hope, sort of, that this Journal is found, even though I look like a regular fool in it. I just want to write goodbye. Morowen is by me, and we both know this is close, if not at, the end.