First of the Place is belonging to Celedë_Anthaas of the Realm of Varda

“Eru! The Gate is opening!” cried Aragorn, laying down his cards.

“About friggin’ time too,” said Prince Imrahil. “I’m sick of playing poker.”

The Captains of the West got up, put their cards away and drank the last of their whiskey. Eomer stuffed a pile of cash in his pocket, ignoring the evil glares of the others.

‘These winnings should make for quite a booze-up when we get back in Edoras’, he thought happily. “Lucky I had those aces hidden in my sleeve.”

They all mounted their mooses, grabbed their banners and tried to look as impressive as they could, which wasn’t very easy considering they had emptied several bottles of whiskey in the past fifteen hours and were extremely tired. Gimli had forgotten to bring the coffee.

The Black Gate of Mordor opened slowly, and out came a group of people. At the front rode a tall fellow on a black moose, at least, if it was a moose. It looked remarkably like a sheep with antlers. The rider was wearing a pink and yellow Hawaii-shirt, Bermuda-shorts and a baseball cap. He was the most trusted servant of Sauron, the Lieutenant of Barad-dur, and people said he was one of the brightly-coloured Numenoreans. When Sauron rose again many years ago, he had entered his service, starting as the guy who emptied the trashcan every day. Because of his cunning and love of bright colours he had become very mighty, and he knew much of Sauron’s crazy sense of humour and arranged his birthday parties. Behind him rode some orcs who carried a banner with a large, red eye and the phrase, “Sauron rhools”. Mordor’s schools weren’t famous for their bright students.

“Hullo,” the first rider said cheerfully. “I am the Nose of Sauron. How can I help you guys?” He looked around, eying the Captains who sat mounted on their mooses, occasionally falling off because mooses are not easy to tame.

No one answered.

“Who is your leader then?” the Nose of Sauron asked, “perhaps you, sir?”

He looked kindly at Aragorn, who ran up to him and kicked him hard on the shins. After all, Aragorn didn’t know what a kind look was because he had spent most of his life running around in the wild killing orcs and picking flowers.

“Hey, that hurt!” cried the Nose of Sauron, rubbing his shins. “I think that was a very impolite thing to do!”

“According to the laws of Gondor it is considered impolite to rub ones shins in public,” said Gandalf sternly. “Now say your message, crazy Nose of Sauron. You haven’t got anything to fear from us, at least until your errand is done. If however, Sauron still has the IQ of a sheep, you and all his servants are in danger, because we will kick your butts.”

“Oh, then you are the leader, Mr. Wizard?” said the Messenger. “It’s Gandalf, isn’t it? I’ve heard of you! Didn’t you kill the Balrog of Moria a few weeks ago? That was very brave of you, my friend. Oh, before I forget, I have a present for you!”

“A present? Oh goody!” Gandalf squealed excitedly. “Is it from the Gap of Mordor? They make such wonderful things!”

“I’m afraid not,” said the Nose of Sauron. Gandalf’s face fell, and the Nose asked one of the orcs to fetch the gift. He came forward with a bundle wrapped in brightly coloured wrapping paper, decorated with ribbons and flowers.

Gandalf quickly unwrapped the present, giving the wrapping paper to Aragorn.

“We should save this,” he said. “It’s so pretty, we could use it later.” Aragorn put it in his pocket, and gasped with everyone else as he saw what Gandalf held in his hands. There was a small but very shiny mail shirt, a grey cloak and a short sword.

“Oh!” Gandalf cried, delighted. “Thank you so much! It’s wonderful!” The others agreed and thanked the Nose of Sauron many times.

Pippin, however was crying.

“What’s wrong?” Gandalf asked the Hobbit, not that he cared.

“That’s Frodo’s stuff,” Pippin bawled. “They’ve caught Frodo!”

“The young man is right,” said the Nose of Sauron. “We have indeed caught a short fellow named Frodo. But why did you send him to Mordor, Master Gandalf? Did you think he was a useful spy?”

Then they all felt a little sad when they heard this, Frodo was a good friend who always bought fantastic birthday presents. Besides, he was the only one in the Fellowship who could cook, and of course if Sauron had caught Frodo, he’d probably have the Ring too.

“Drat,” said Gandalf. “My brilliant plan has failed. But Mr. Nose, why have you brought these things?”

“Sauron thinks it’s a conspiracy,” the Nose explained. “There’s a dwarvish shirt, and elvish cloak, a sword from Numenor and that little fellow from the Shire. Sauron’s feelings are hurt, and he hopes you will apologize.”
“Why should we?” asked Eomer. “He’s trying to kill us all, and he wants US to apologize? Tell him to sod off!”

“Yeah!” Pippin exclaimed. “And tell him he has to release Frodo too!”
“Alright,” said the Messenger. “Sauron will release your friend if you accept his terms.”

“What are his terms?” Gandalf asked. “If he wants us to dress up in pink tutus and dance, then the answer is no.”

“Relax,” said the Nose. “Sauron wishes you to do no such thing. All you have to do is remove your armies, never attack Sauron again, pay a lot of taxes and work as slaves for the rest of your lives. Then we will release Frodo. If you do not agree, we shall tickle him with a feather until he looses his sanity. What do you say?”

They all looked at the Nose of Sauron, and realized he was going to be their master. The thought of being slaves of a guy wearing a Hawaii-shirt was too much even for the brave riders of Rohan. They shrieked in terror and begged for mercy, saying they would do anything if only he would change his shirt. Gandalf whacked them quickly with his staff and turned to the Nose.

“Do you really expect us to say yes?” he scoffed. “There’s no way we will accept that, you’ll probably force us to wear these horrible shirts too!”
The riders of Rohan wailed and tried to hide behind their mooses when they heard this, but they only got kicked in their faces and fainted.
Gandalf sighed.

“I’m sorry, sir, but then your friend shall be tickled to death,” the Nose said sadly. “If he survives but looses his sanity, we shall give him back to you.”

“Well, that’s something then,” said Gandalf. “He’ll probably be much more fun if he’s insane. But we’ll keep his things, perhaps we can sell them and make some money. Now, please leave, Mr. Nose of Sauron. You have said your message, goodbye! And tell your master to get stuffed.”

The Nose nodded, pulled his baseball cap further down his forehead and rode away. The orcs ran quickly after him and they all disappeared through the Gate. A minute later, however, they came back to get the banner which they had forgotten.

“Sauron rocks, you guys suck,” they giggled as they ran back to the Black Gate. From somewhere inside Mordor came the sound of rock music, a signal often used by Sauron. The Gates opened wide, and out came hundreds, thousands of orcs, all wearing hats with pink feathers.
“We are so screwed,” Aragorn said, grabbing his toothpick-like sword.
“Well, at least this way we won’t have to wear Hawaii-shirts,” Gandalf whispered.

Second Place goeth to Fealome of the Realm of Nessa

Now come we at last
to that terrible gate
and the fanatics who’ve read
without abate
do toss and turn
with uncanny delight
to see the Mouth of Sauron
approaching with spite.

He rides on a dracohorse (one of Sauron’s greatest masterpieces!), nostrils flaring fire intimidatingly. Pippin gapes at the dracohorse, “Well that sure beats the owliphant! Now I’ve seen it all,” he whistles under his breath.

But he hadn’t quite seen everything yet. The Lieutenant of Mordor rode nearer, his dracohorse taking flight every couple feet only to crash down again on its oversized wings. Brego felt pity.

Brego: “Hello, what kind of thing are you?”

Dracohorse: “Grrrr! I’m a dracoho… a drac… a…”

Brego: “Ok, ok, don’t hurt yourself. What are those wierd-looking wings for?”

Dracohorse: “I have no idea.”

Brego: “Ah. Maybe you should give them to the balrog… end those crazy fan debates once and for all…”

This friendly chat is put off, however, when the Lieutenant of Morder declares mightily, “I am the Mouth of Sauron. Is there anyone here who has the cunning to deal with me?” He whips out a shiny deck of cards and fans them significantly before the Captains of the West. “Certainly not you,” he said to Aragorn. “That Elvish bottle cap came from some of the worst beer I’ve ever tasted- you’re nuts if you think it’s going to give you good luck.”

Aragorn *with a snicker*: “Go ahead! I’ll be bettin’ I can spit further than you!” The Mouth of Sauron spits through polished teeth, narrowly missing Aragorn’s sombrero. Aragorn gets into position and carefully aims, chewing slowly before the pitch. He knocks off the Mouth of Sauron’s black, lofty helm! The Lieutenant gasps, “That’s not fair! I’m an ambassador, I cannot be assailed so!” He draws back, whining.

Gandalf steps in. “Peace! Since you are an ambassador, you would do well not to insult your brother. But do not be afraid, I come to promote brotherly love and harmony, whether Sauron wants it or not.”

The Mouth of Sauron retorted: “So you think you’re the one to handle affairs, old Bohemian?! Take off that ridiculous smiley-face necklace! This time you go too far, Sauron will not let you win this round.” (he shuffles the deck of cards slyly) “I have a token to show you… before I put it into the slot machine.”

*he pulls out Frodo’s mithril shirt* *everyone’s face clouds as if they were all dealt hands of twos. The Mouth of Sauron watches them, giddy with delight*

Gimli leaps forward, shouting. “That’s an heirloom of my ancestors, it’s mine, my own, my prreeccciiiooouuusssssss!!” Pippin, however, outruns him, eager to be the first to hear news of Frodo. “Peace!”, says Gandalf, pulling him back. Gimli kneels down, crying that his precious is lost to the Dark side.

But the Mouth of Sauron spoke of Pippin first, “Ah ha! So another little eavesdropper thinks he can have better luck with this token than myself? We’ll see about that! Ha! And now I know for a fact that this is the one who thought he could gamble with precious stones, looking into things that are way beyond his wallet to mend, cheating my master into giving away personal secrets.” *The Mouth of Sauron hisses disdainfully between his flawless teeth, but is careful not to spit, as Aragorn is watching him closely.*

Gandalf: “Yes, I’ve seen this token before. Very finely crafted, I must say. But do you show it here to bring peace and love to this Middle Earth?”

Mouth of Sauron: “If you listen and accept my terms, it may be so. (as if I care about such things) This token, however, is a counterfeit. *Gimli wails* Yes, a counterfeit! Notice the minute hole poked through it’s center? Worthless it is now! Yet for such a crime, the one who carried it will have a hole put through him as well. It is only justice… unless, of course, you agree to buy everything on my master’s shopping list.”

“What are the items?” Gandalf asked, looking about to weep for the cruel loss of brotherly love on earth.

“First, you must purchase Lord of the Rings RISK. Once you have it, you will happily explain all the rules to my master. *everyone groans* Then my master will play the game, pushing all the rabble of Gondor over to the other side of the Anduin, and invading his own forces west of the Anduin to the Misty Mountains. Then, you will buy all the plastic lightsabers from the men of Rohan. Finally, you will fix up Isengard for Sauron’s trusty lieutenant to dwell in, and you will buy him lots of candy.”

“Trusty lieutenant, indeed.” muttered Pippin, eyeing the shiny deck of cards suspiciously.

“Will the Mouth of Sauron hear our reply? Or must we wait for the Ears to arrive?” asked Gandalf. The Lieutenant scowls in return. “Right. Ok, then. If this is the shopping list, I will ask for a proof of reciept before we carry it out. Show us the prisoner, who is dear to us.”

The Mouth of Sauron realizes that this is one card he forgot to play. He tries to cover it up. “You want surety, do you? Proof of purchase can only be given after the purchase is made. Sauron deals with these laws, not yours.”

“Can, I cut of his head now, pleeaaasseee Gandy?”Aragorn whispers to Gandalf. Gandalf holds up his hand in a sign of peace.

“We will take the token!”, he exclaims. Throwing aside his cloak, his smiley-face necklace glints in the sun, blinding the foul Messenger’s eyes. Gandalf seizes the token, placing a PEACE button in its stead. “But in no way can we afford to buy everything on the list. Sauron is faithless; he does not believe that there can be peace and harmony among creatures. Alright then…! *shakes fist* we’ll force him to make peace! Begone!”

Looking at the PEACE button, the Mouth of Sauron becomes afraid. He glances at the Captains of the West and immediatly leaps onto the dracohorse, who yelps and, spreading his useless wings, flies back to Cirith Gorger.

Brego: “Look at him go! Good old chap, I knew he had it in him…!”

The battle horns sound
as Sauron springs his trap.
The pieces are laid
across that 3D map.
And we who read
can hardly wait
for the thrill of battle
and the music of fate.

Place the Third goes to ~figwit~ of the Realm of Ulmo

The weather was warm and sunny. A light breeze was cooling their faces and the birds were singing, but despite these good weather conditions the men were restless.

At last, after a long time’s waiting the Black Gate finally opened.

‘It’s about bluddy time!’ Aragorn roared. Gandalf gave him a swift glance before turning his eyes towards the Gates, which already stood ajar, but no one came forth.

Muttering started to hear in the company, and even Gandalf himself felt bored at this time. The sun was already starting to fade behind the big tree tops, casting at the same time long shadows and giving an orange shimmer that surrounded them all. There were no birds singing anymore. The land was as quiet as a tomb house; it was like the earth itself was waiting for something to happen.

Suddenly a bright and clear voice erupted from the foot of the Gate, cutting the peace. A small man was coming forth, riding on a big and fat donkey. The creature was slightly bizarre looking. A big bright coloured cloak hung over its body, and when it came closer they could even see that it had a red tiny bow tied to its tail. A small bell, like those seen on cows, hang around its neck.

The person who rode the donkey on the other and, was dressed all in black. He looked quite small and his voice was like a young boy’s. He kept on singing in a clear voice, but the language was none they’d ever heard of. This was within itself really suspicious, seeing that Gandalf could understand most of the languages in the world.

The rider came to halt just in front of the company and when it did so, the singing stopped abruptly. For a while no one spoke, no one so much as moved. Then the person raised his hands and revealed its face.

The company fell silent. They looked in amazement on the person standing before them. It had bright blue eyes, brown wavy hair and clear skin. But it wasn’t his looks that were so interesting; it was the fact that this person couldn’t be more than thirteen years old.

‘Who are you?’ Gandalf asked the boy in a voice that told them all how surprised he was. A long pause followed until the boy answered. ‘I am the long lost son of Sauron. Rodrom is the name.’

They all looked puzzled at the boy, but this was too much for Gimli.

‘Your name is Rodrom??! Seriously, you got to be joking right?

‘Yes, my name is Rodrom. What’s so funny about that you …. Dwarf?!‘

At this Gimli couldn’t hold himself anymore. He started laughing in a maniac kind of way, and soon the whole company was laughing fit to burst. Even Gandalf’s mouth twitched in a smile, but the boy wasn’t amused at all.

‘What’s so funny about my name?’ he demanded in a harsh voice that had no recognition of the previous one.

‘Er… you do know what land we are in?’ Gandalf asked him gently. ‘We’re in Mordor… It’s er.. funny… that you’re name happens to be Rodrom, when the fact is that it’s Mordor spelled backwards…’

The boy looked beaten for a while, but then his whole appearance changed. He seemed to grow darker, his voice changed from clear and bright to hard and calculating, and his eyes got an evil gleam in them.

‘So.. you think my name is funny do you? We’ll see who’s laughing when I’ve got my say!’ Something in the boy’s voice made them all stop laughing. They looked in fear at this small, but yet so terrifying person.
‘My father gave me things you would have great interest in.’ He opened a small leather backpack the donkey had been carrying, and from within he took out three things and showed them to them.

The first was a small wooden pipe belonging to Frodo. The second thing also belonged to Frodo; it was his favourite shirt. But the last thing they hadn’t ever seen before, or at least they didn’t think so.

‘These relics belonged to a friend of yours, am I not right?’ the boy asked demandingly. ‘And I am sure he’s really missing them, especially this one’ he continued, pointing at a brown hairy thing. ‘He was most displeased when we took his wig away from him.’

This statement was followed by the longest pause any of them had ever experienced. Finally Legolas broke the quiet.

‘Frodo doesn’t wear a wig, does he?’ he said in an odd voice while he was jerking his head so that his hair fell perfectly over his shoulders. ‘I mean, it looks so natural and beautiful. You could never expect that out of a wig!’

‘Never you mind that now!’ Gandalf answered angrily. ‘There are more important things, than his wearing a wig now! Where did you get these?’ he asked the boy.

‘That’s none of your concern. You should be more worried about the demands my father has.’ From an inside pocket of his black robes he withdrew a long list.

‘Ahem. He wants the following:
1. All the people in Middle-Earth shall be wearing black clothes from now on.
2. Parties must be held in Barad-Dûr with regular basis and all the people in Middle-Earth must join.
3. All people in Middle-Earth are to follow his rule, and finally: No one is allowed to smoke pipe weed anymore, except for the residents of Mordor. He wants all the cultivations to be shipped to his storage.’ He said with an evil grin on his face.

The company looked thunderstruck.

‘He… he wants… our pipe weed? The b*****d!’ Gimli roared.

‘He wants precisely that. And if you do not follow the demands all Middle-Earth shall be covered in darkness and your friend shall be lost forever! So.. what say you?’

‘That’s outrageous! He can’t think we would agree to such terms’ Gandalf said angrily.

‘Well then, if that’s your choice, the downfall of Middle-Earth shall be entirely your fault, Gandalf Greyhame.’

This was the last drop for Gandalf. He threw his cloak aside and the boy looked at him with great fear and shock. Even the company felt uncomfortable. From his belt Gandalf withdrew his staff. ‘Now you listen to me! We will never submit ourselves to a tyrant like your father! Be gone!’

And so angry and intimidating was the voice of Gandalf that the boy started crying. He threw the relics on the ground, turned his donkey around and galloped back towards the Gates.

‘The rule of Middle-earth is mi.. I mean, that’s what happens when someone messes with our pipe weed!’

An honorable mention goes to Lindelena of the Realm of Varda

Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, Pippin and the rest waited with bated breath as the figure approached them.

Pippin balked at the sight of the ghastly creature, which was proudly mounted atop a fearsome horse. Behind the great horse trailed an entourage of what seemed to be circus performers—they were cartwheeling and somersaulting all over the place.

“What in the name of pipeweed is that?!” Pippin cried. His face was contorted into a shape that greatly resembled the countenance of one with the misfortune of smelling fresh dung.

“That, dear hobbit,” Gandalf said wisely, as Gandalf always does, “is a Mouth.” Despite the wisdom that seeped from his sage-like lips, he, too, was trying to suppress an expression of disgust.

“I am the Mouth of Sauron!” the Mouth proclaimed.

“It is the Mouth of Sauron!” Legolas shouted.

For yes, indeed, it was the Mouth of Sauron. And a very ugly mouth for that matter, as all the creature consisted of was a bodiless head which was very nearly completely consumed by its mouth. The nose, eyes, and cheeks were all squished uncomfortably in at the top. The Mouth retained its haughty disposition by being attached to an upright pole which was attached the saddle of the frightening horse.

“I am the Mouth of Sauron,” the Mouth continued, “and I serve none but the great Eye.”

“What happened to the rest of Sauron?” Pippin snickered unashamedly, but was promptly jabbed in the stomach by the unforgiving point of Gandalf’s staff.

“What do you want?” Gandalf asked impatiently.

“A toothbrush!” the Mouth cried ferociously, spewing the entire company with bits of afternoon lunch. “No, no. That’s not it. I want…world dom—Wait! Before I tell you, I have a gift for you.”

The Mouth made a snapping noise with his tongue, as he had no fingers to snap, and one of his attending guards, who made quite a spectacle of himself by bounding towards the group and doing a back flip mid-jump, laid a pile of stuff before them. Aragorn sneered, and Legolas was undoubtedly thinking ‘I could do better than that!’

“My CLOAK!” Pippin shrieked in horror, seeing the cloak with the Elven brooch torn and dirty. He attempted to leap off the horse upon which he was perched, but, before he could do so, another unrelenting jab quickly followed by a thwack on the head stopped him.

“Peregrin Took, that is NOT your cloak! You’re wearing your own cloak!” Gandalf erupted. “That is FRODO’S cloak!”

“It means he’s dead, you dimwit!” Gimli added to the loudness.

“Frodo’s dead?” Pippin’s face fell and he let out a whimper.

“Frodo’s dead!” Legolas shouted.

“ENOUGH!” the Mouth of Sauron roared, spewing bits of now what now seemed to be leftover….Orc? (Ewww.) “Now for why I am here. I want you to surrender everything so that Sauron wins, and I can boss you and your worthless comrades around!”

“NO!” They all shouted in unison, a forceful sound if there ever was one.

“Okay!” the Mouth said.

Gandalf swept up the cloak, coat and sword. The Mouth, with his acrobatic posse, left.

“SHUT DOWN!” Prince Imrahil called after him. Everyone looked at him quite strangely.

And another honorable mention goes out to elvishmusician of the Realm of Vairë

What really happened at the Black Gate

*The ‘good guys’ arrive at the Black gate and wait. The Mouth of Sauron comes forward looking very proud and important. As he approaches the group he gives his award-winning smile. All are struck speechless by this new and unexpected weapon.*

MoS (Mouth of Sauron) – ‘Hello and welcome to Mordor.’

*continues to smile despite growing silence*

MoS – ‘Do not any of you wish to treat with me?’

*Aragorn masters his wits long enough to stare menacingly at the MoS*

MoS- ‘I have heard of your speech before… well, well, well King Elessar isn’t it? Please put forth your voice!’ *smiles encouragingly* ‘or is it that you fear large crowds?’

*Aragorn looks at crowd fearfully and begins to shake. Hobbits point and laugh*

Legolas *to Gimli* – ‘HA! I knew it –you owe me a trip through Fangorn.’

MoS *continues*– ‘Why do you travel to the harshest land in this kind of weather –what brings you forth from your homes?’

Gandalf – ‘We came to say that the armies of Mordor must disband and you must never again march on our lands.’

Mos – ‘Oh yes… that. *grimaces* I thought it might be that. Would you like to discuss it over tea and biscuits?’ *grins*. ‘So that the King here doesn’t feel so self-conscious.’

Aragorn *Through gritted teeth* – ‘No thank you, I’m fine.’

MoS – ‘Well I’m going to have some, because at least I want to be sociable and tea and biscuits help me relax.’

Legolas – ‘You do that then…just bring me back some of that mascara you use –I could really do with some –what brand is it?’

*All look at the two in shock*

Legolas – ‘I want to look my best for the battle and if not I want to look good for the trip home –really you people have NO pride!’ *pouts*

MoS – ‘Don’t worry; they are just jealous of our fair complexions… now where was I? That’s right, biscuits.’

*MoS turns to have tea and biscuits but is nudged by an orc who hands him Frodo’s vest, Sam’s sword and a few other things*

MoS –‘Oh yes –I almost forgot. I was supposed to show you these…’

Merry – ‘That’s Frodo’s!’

Pippin – ‘No it’s Sam’s!’

Merry- ‘Chain mail stolen from dragon cave –clearly Frodo!’

Pippin – ‘Sword found in Dunharrow –clearly Sam!’

Gimli – ‘Well if its only Frodo there is really no need for concern –that little maggot always thought himself soooo cool. He even got to speak to the Lady in Lothlorien one night –annoying little twerp.’

Pippin *looks at Gimli with shock* – ‘As I was saying it is clearly Sam!’

Gimli – ‘He spoke with her too, so I really don’t care which one of them it is! I had made my feelings for her clear and they just ignored that and went talking to her behind my back.’ *glares at garments angrily*

MoS – *oblivious to argument, mutters to self* ‘now what was the other part of the message…‘ *looks up suddenly* ‘ah yes –we have this little guy in the service of the Dark Tower. Do not despair he is safe enough. All the orcs are taught to smile as they work. It’s a new form of weaponry by Sauron, however personally I think it makes everyone happier, don’t you? *smiles warmly*

*Gandalf while shielding eyes* -yes… now can you prove that you have the Halfling?

*MoS suddenly realises how strange it is that he has never laid eyes on the little fella* -‘Well actually I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting him as yet… but my master’s word is good enough for me as it should be for you. However the real reason for me showing you these is that *whispers* Sauron is jealous. In fact he’s so jealous that he asked me to do the negotiations because I won the Mordor smiling contest last year. *smiles bigger than ever before*

Gandalf *covers eyes hastily* -‘Yes, yes we believe you and congratulations.’

MoS – ‘See the real reason Sauron went to war on you is that he is getting old –and forgetful I might add as well as loosing some of his tact when it comes to negotiations *looks fearfully at tower* –‘but don’t tell him I said that. He wants a holiday retreat –because Mordor gets so cold in winter and hot in summer. So he asked me to say that in exchange for your land he’ll give you these and that Halfling –whom I’ve never seen- *confused look crosses face*.

*His offer is greeted with silence* *MoS smiles again in hope of brightening the deal*

Gandalf *gruffly* -‘Ummm… well can I have a look at those items?’

MoS *pouts* – ‘As long as you smile.’

*Gandalf smiles and is handed the objects*

Gandalf –‘Errrr… Look this is a big ask and many lives may hinge on our decision, can we take these items back with us and have the valued and then discuss it amongst ourselves *whispers* -especially seeing as Aragorn is so frightened.’

*All look at Aragorn with pity*

MoS- ‘Ummm’ *hesitates*

Gandalf – ‘Really it’s not his fault; he’s been locked up in that elf hide-a-way of Lord Elrond’s for 80 odd years! Look at how Elrond’s sons turned out –they look about ready to run in fear. See what sheltering a child does to them… tragic.’ *shakes head* ‘Elessar hasn’t had the chance to learn crowd control skills yet… but we are working on it –see look how well he’s doing’ *turn to look at Aragorn who is bravely facing crowd, hands shaking* ‘it would give him great confidence if he could have a fair say in this decision… please.‘

*Gandalf smiles warmly and makes desperate hand signals for others to do the same and all smile*

MoS overcome by the warmth of their smiles says –‘Why of course my good friends –just return them within the week and next time do stay for tea and biscuits. And Legolas perhaps you could help me with my eyeliner- as you can see it tends to smudge.’ *points to black streaks running down the side of his face*

Legolas *happy to have a person express interest in cosmetics* -‘Of course, I’d love too.’

*Army withdraws smiling with Gandalf in the lead carrying the objects grinning evilly*

MoS *sighs* and says half dazed to nearest orc –‘Hmm… such nice people –I do hope they return soon.’

*Still smiling leads army back into Mordor.*