Sometimes things just grow by topsy-turvy accretion, and reconfirm the lack of reliable control we may exert upon and over our environments, both real, and imaginary. So it is that the dastardly "Kendal The Over Quick," has broached by sheerest accident a bantering topic upon the "Original Poetry Board," that should best have been started here instead. My apologies to all concerned, especially Sparrow, whose message I completely misread in the paranoia of my usual 3 AM coffee jag. I have strewn the bricks of the patio with delectable seeds as a sort of pale compensation, and if she's quick she can still find a suitable share among the congregating finches, doves, and quail. Failing that attempted bribe I'll try to "square" things by being on my "best behavior" the rest of my sojourn here upon the pages of TR. (Whew, that "best behavior" thing is vague enough to cover all sorts of shenanigans...)
And so, not to merely "answer back" the "misinforming" trend that has lately occurred on that misused* thread, "May Poetry Contest Winners," but just to leave an absolutely true record of those time-clouded events, I will retell, in a fully objective manner, this cautionary tale: "The Perils of Poetry." Kendal
Now it is agreed by all those who are agreeable persons that poetry has a fine and awful power to stir even the calm, sedate and well-mannered to a bold excess of their emotions. While all of us, I doubt it not, might happily wish to believe that only the human virtues may thus be galvanized into external expression by the joyous play of pattern-matched words and phrases, it is, nonetheless an unfortunate but necessary corollary that our human vices may likewise find an equal intensification through poetics.
So it was, as a public service, that the concerned and sensitive Kendal did suggest that all poetry be henceforth banned at Tolkien's Ring, seeing the great damage that its unlimited exposure upon these pages was likely to occasion. But Olorie and Sparrow, not yet fully informed of the horrors of poetry, sadly forbade the erasure of all those potent rhymes. Here then, as a suasive device, is the admonitory tale of one poetry reader's slow collapse of character, and sliding descent into the pits of versification!
Kendal, coveting the easy flow of actual rhymes that poured forth so volubly from McDLT, Illadria, Fangorn, Sparrow, and Majahsheart found his first temptation, and scribbled down a poem of his own. It met with high success (bribes I suspect), and from this small beginning, in his growing pride, he decided to start collecting rhyming pairs of words so that his poetries might soar a little further. But he was alas, too inept and lazy to find many rhymes that were suitably innovative. No matter what happy meter and schemes he tried, the others had always been there first, "Moon, June, and Spoon," were claimed by Majah; Sparrow, in raven's guise, was constantly "quothing nevermores;" McDLT had locked up "home, alone, own," and probably "bone, stone, and loan" as well. "Muppet - Puppet," Kendal tried, but that belonged to Illadria, along with "spell, fell, and pell-mell," or was that pall-mall? Fangorn had wrapped his clinging branches about "fears, years, and careers." Except for the un-rhymables like "Orange," everything was taken!
Quite honestly, all the poems from all the archived sources on TR had managed after just a few years to parcel out for private ownership every single pairing possible! Alliterations, consonances, assonances, and Anglo Saxon kennings -- ALL USED UP!
In absolute despair, poor Kendal tried to remove himself from the wicked paths of poetry, but the stuff kept cropping up everywhere, so finally he dared end this stuff that snared, by getting it banned both here and there. But the genuine poetic spirit enthused too many of these TR Friends, and the proposed ban was quickly defeated, and Kendal then retreated to the use of subterfuge. If only he could drive a wedge, a breaking edge, or several, amongst these rhymesters, set them to a mutual slaughter so effectively ghastly that nevermore would line scan, and "tree" be linked with "free!" And so, it was the fault of poetry that Kendal fell beneath that spell of compulsive misery, and tweaked the collective beak of TR's finest versifiers. His first attempts at closely reasoned conspiracy were directed towards Majah, Illadria and Fangorn, all three far gone and irredeemable poetizers...
Kendal, a miserable, lying, hobbit-sized fellow, first libeled Majah's poem, and then, callously callow, tried to rat it off as Fangorn's work, and then Illadria's. Majah made several positive threats against the bodily integrity of poor Kendal, or at least his bodily comfort, when she revealed her adept status in the casting of various and sundry spells of a quite pronouncedly ticklish nature.
Kendal then resorted to an appeal by "borrowed" rhymes to redirect Majah's ire toward a more convenient target:
******** Foul rose the noxious steams from the great, dark pot, that Majah had set to the boil, as wrapped in black dreams, and hideous thought, she stooped to her ghastly toil.
Well, Majah, as you brew up this "ticklish" spell, I'll see if my already itching feet can find the physical limits of your casting powers -- still running!
Er, did I mention that Illadria is actually well within range, and slumbering peacefully (stationary target!) as she composes her quatrains for the next contest? You know, it might be just as well to nip her highly competitive skills before they are honed any sharper...
*********** Well, this I deem, brings us up to that point where Kendal mistook a Sparrow for a diving Falcon, and scampered away on mice-like legs so quickly that the vacuum he left behind him quite sucked away all of his words... Please be advised that Majah's magics were still cooling upon the window sill, and had not yet been utilized when Kendal took to his heels.
There followed then a brief period of confusion, until Illadria posted her admirably phrased, prose version of the episode, and then forced poor Kendal into a direct confrontation with all the principles of this story -- BUT, in the interests of that miserable creature, Kendal, I think I should narrate a more fulsome version so that the magnitude of his poetry driven madness and subsequent crimes might serve as a more potent warning to all those who still refuse to see the Perils of Poetry.
Editorial Note: The following actions occurred on June 18, Shire Reckoning 1410, a few short hours before the massively thewed Elven Warrior, Illadria, encouraged Kendal (aka, Scared of a Sparrow; aka Kendal The Short, The Stout, and The Ugly; aka that dratted hobbit) to confess his poetry driven crimes to his victims. Other sections of this sad narrative will be produced as "flash backs" that took place a few days earlier, and detail the actual mechanisms of his many conspiracies.
He stood outside his hole and stared up towards the peaking crags of Dol-Majah. Something was amiss. The bright, blue ceiling of the vault above those heights was normally decorated with fluffy clouds of amber-gold, and cinnamon-scarlet. Sometimes they were shaped like butterflies and sparrows, gliding slowly through the complex patterns of their playful pursuits. But today the airs were turgid there with the heavy forms of anger -- vague, but threatening in outline. Dark cumulus masses were locked in titanic struggles up-yonder, while vivid tongues of bright lightnings -- blue, white, and ocherous yellow -- sprang upward from the ground, and made sickly lurid all that vast tumult in the sky.
Most of the Hobbits who dwelt in the vicinity had already gone to ground, stopping only at their larders to secure provisions, sufficient for the duration, before plunging into their deepest cellars. But Kendal "The Bold," (as he often called himself these days) had stayed to watch the visible manifestations of a majestic Majah snit.
"Uh-oh... Sum'on' 'as gone and ticked-off our Majah roight and proper! Sum'thin's brewin', and sum'body's gonna catch it hot!" He giggled a bit before recalling that, as patriach of the (slightly ill-favoured, but enormously wealthy) Sackville-Kendals, he might allow himself to be seen gloating, but giggling was (supposedly) beneath his magisterial dignity. He swallowed down his last "tee-hee-hee," smoothed his bright green waistcoast over the globe of his tummy, and assumed a pompous "gloating" mein.
"Oooo, tha' sky 'as all gone purple! That'll be a grand 'tickle' a comin' fer summ'on, tee-hee," the giggle escaped on its own. "Sure, and I'll wager tis Illadria, or Fangorn what'll reap the pricklin's being sown!" He visibly gloated, and glee-ed for a while, reflecting that he had managed to deflect the wizardly-inflected wraths of Majah upon those two misfortunate and highly poetic souls.
"Tee-hee-hee, le's jest see them two write-up successful poems a while theys all tangled-up with tha 'tickles'!"
Editorial note: this next section of Kendal's recollections, is a flashback to June 16, Shire Reckoning, 1410: It reveals how Kendal "fixed the frame" about poor Illadria. (Or so he thought!) **********
By Sparrow-Air Delivery, Kendal had recently sent -- and yes I'm sure we can all agree that it was a most wicked thing to do, but he was a SACKVILLE-Kendal after all, and perhaps that's explanation enough, though certainly NO excuse! -- a "friendly" note of annonymous concern, advising Majah that Illadria was, just now, composing a typically fine poem for next month's contest. Nothing new nor even objectionable in that, BUT, in this particular, rhapsodic offering, it's unscrpulous, stick-at-nought author, the aforementioned Illadria, was planning to employ the Majah-patented rhymes: "moon, June, and spoon," without so much as a by-your-leave, nor even the payment of royalties due. Thoroughly outraged by this enormity, Majah, ever protective of her poetic rights, would come slanting down upon the unsuspecting Illadria like a mountain slide!
"Tee-hee, and hee..."
***This post relocated from May Poetry Contest thread. Methinks it somehow fits into the carryings on here?***
Kendal very bravely attempted to sacrifice the peacefully slumbering Illadria to the Grand Wizard of Tolkien Ticklers, aka Majah, the Mauve.
Furtively he crept toward the door, but stopped when a little brown bird appeared and began fluttering overhead. This strange and unexpected development flummoxed him. Sure, the diminutive Sparrow seemed harmless enough, but perhaps it was a ruse. He suspected she was, in fact, the Wizard's familiar.
Then, in the blink of an eye, Kendal's words all vanished. It seemed almost as though they had never even been spoken.
"There, birdie...nice, birdie...staay...good girl...stay." he said placatingly as he backed nervously toward the door. Sparrow eyed him indifferently and made no attempt to stop his egress. Even the wizard seemed strangely unconcerned with his departure.
"WooHoo!.. I'm home free!" he started to say as he reached the threshold. But the words died in his throat as he saw Illadria standing right in front of him. The imposing she-elf blocked the exit and his only hope of escape.
"So. You thought you'd deliver me into the Tickler's grasp and just be on your way, did you?"
Kendal's eyes grew wide and Illadria laughed bitterly. "Yes. I did hear what you said. Too late you considered the folly of your words."
Suddenly he remembered what happened to Peter Jennings in the Great War. And even more frighteningly, what happened to poor Rivers. Anxiously, he considered his options, or lack there of. All he had was time. But when the incensed Elf took a step toward him he realized even that was gone.
Stumbling away, he fled backward to where the placid Majah sat waiting for his return. His eyes fell on the bird - that unflappable, unruffled little Sparrow. She looked back at him with halcyon eyes and winked knowingly. Illadria
Editorial Note: This next chapter, somewhat Byzantine in both its conception and execution, is another flashback episode that records the sordid doings of a poetry rotted brain -- fair readers please remember that this could be you! Avoid the perils of poetry! *************
The stuff of his second conspiracy had been formed quite serendipitously while he rooted mushrooms from the clogged-up gutters of Majah's rambling house. Below him, Kendal clearly heard Fangorn's BOOM roll from the study window. The Ent was lending Majah an expert's "branch" in their concerted effort to polish-up several of her most intractable lines.
"Orange?" The Ent had rumbled, "Orange... now see here Majah, NOTHING rhymes with that! Can't we try 'handle - candle' again?"
The evesdropping Kendal (yes, there was a smidgeon of the otherwise illustrious Gamgee blood in the Sackville-Kendals) had sblack personed at that, as he dangled above the study, and listened, with all the silent skill of a licensed burglar (yep, the Kendals have even got a hint of the Baggins about them).
"But 'porringer - oranger' is a perfect rhyme, Fangorn!"
Kendal nearly fell from the steep pitch of the roof, strangling a guffaw, as Majah proclaimed her defense of the exotic rhyme: "And besides it is as brand new as new can be; never been used by any poet, anywhere, anytime! I can get the copywrite and make millions!"
"With good reason, my dear Majah, it has never been used by any poet, anywhere, any time -- with very good reason..." and here the wise old Ent scratched his crown and loosened a few dry leaves. Kendal watched as they spiralled softly to the floor, and then scooted across the room on a wafting breeze that piled them up in the shadows of Majah's "Cabinet of Secrets."* The perching hobbit smiled then, broadly enough that he feared the wink of the light from his teeth might give him away. But no, the argument continued hotly apace: "handle - candle" versus "oranger - porringer," and the poets were still debating when Kendal dropped from the eves and ran home for his second supper.
The note he penned that night, relied upon this ubiquitous tendency of Ents to partially defoliate in the hottest months of the summer -- one was forever sweeping up after visiting Ents who shed all over the carpets -- and partially his scheme relied upon the well-known aversion of Magical Persons for routine household cleaning. The leafy litter would probably lie there, just beneath the cabinet, unremarked by Majah who had her home swept weekly by scheduled magics, and scarcely ever concerned herself with the minor dusts of its daily accumulation.
His letter, sent via the speedy reliabity of Sparrow-Air (no return address!) carried a bold accusation:
"Fangorn was just seen in Michel Delving getting the Mayor to frank a certificate of copywrite for the spiffy new rhyme of "oranger - porringer!" Additionally, the drunken old Tree, has been bragging down at the Golden Perch about "his" new verses, waving several sheets of very nicely scented, Majah-Crested parchment in the thick airs of the common room. Several reliable hobbits (unnamed, of course) are prepared to swear that the Ent told them he'd lost more than a few leaves and twigs trying to get these here poems, 'Er, get them down on paper before I forgot them, that is...' Signed: A concernced citizen."
Alerted now by Kendal's helpful note, Majah would fly to her cabinet to check on her treasured rhymes (she had so many good ones, and was so constantly adding to that stock that she'd never be able to count them up right) and, in scrutinizing most closely the vicinity of her escritoire she would, of course, find the confirming, tell-tale scatter of Fangorn's "lawn-debris."
________________ *editor's footnote: Yes, there is such a cabinet in the small annex/ alcove to the study, and it bears a large plackard that reads (in Tengwar script): "Majah's Cabinet of Secrets, KEEP OUT, Scaulding Magics!!!"
Editorial note: This last section of Kendal's confession brings us back to 18th of June, Shire Reckoning 1410, just before Illadria caught the skulking fellow, who normally would have made a clean escape had he not been itching with a concentrated vigor his extensively irritated hide... ***********
So it was, upon the very next day that Kendal Sackville-Kendal, was strolling just outside his Hole, and feeling mightily pleased with himself as he watched the brewing dooms of Majah, dooms that would soon pour down in suffocating fury upon the hapless Fangorn and Illadria.
"Oh, I do so love the shunting of blame! Such high satisfaction comes from a perfected scheme of minor mischief!" Here Kendal grinned a bit while thinking that, perhaps, the famously cracked old Bilbo Baggins might have gotten the tale right when he wrote in his Big Red Book that "hobbits of the the Sackville persuaision are a bit more queer than most."** At any rate there certainly WAS something goblinic about Kendal's leer, as, arms akimbo, he drew fiercely upon his short pipe, and watched the growing glooms. He felt the hot wreaths of the smoke rush all firey into his lungs, but before he could expell the stuff in the form of "clever" rings, his jaw went all aslack. The smoky fumes of his exhalation dribbled out in tattered plumes, and the disregarded pipe fell from his gaping mouth. Its white clay bowl shattered with a dull ceramic clamour, and its broken embers ran like tiny ants across the flagstones of his stoop. The long hair on his feet stood up, then waved, and he began a rapid scratching across his chest, belly, arms, back...
A huge, purpling bubble of mauve-ish plasma gouted from the highlands; a rolling wall of terrible proportions, it expanded like a lolling tongue, and moved toward its targeted victim with ferocious speed. Darkness gobbled the blue of the sky, and the shock wave that ran before it bent the trees and pounded the lose soils of the ploughed fields into a scouring dust.
"Ai-eee, and lack-a-day! Tha's not aimed at Illadry, nor Fangy neither! Tis headed straight fer Kendal Hole, and ME!"
"But how did she find out!?" he reFriended screaming to himself as the ickly-trickly itchings of a class one Tickle Spell engulfed him. Then, just before he went fully under, he saw a cheeky Sparrow, regarding him down the length of her pointy beak -- drat, he had forgotten the tip!
__________ editorial footnote: ** I believe Bilbo's reference was a note concerning the alledged infusion of goblinic blood into the Sackville lines, thought to have occurred among the more tippsy of the Sackville lasses way back in the ancient days of The Bullroarer. When the "Golfimbul Crowd" jumped the gates and crashed the Greenfields picnic, some acts of "fraternization" were recorded, though the given names were supressed to protect the pickled Sackville lasses from further repercussions. Well, whatever...
Methinks, the Perils of Poetry are closer to home, than most may surmise. Some may also surmise, the Perils were recently discovered, but unbeknownst to perhaps our "objective clause", the matter had layed in serous discussion for some time. Something has obviously and recently popped the proverbial cork that had been under constant pressure to release it's bubbles of joy, at the return of a treasured friend.
Notwithstanding valiant efforts at the forefront of the deception, it was a considerably short time before talks on the matter became omniprescent. Tit lead to tat, horses were lead to water, and a poem was born. The poem was immediatley siezed by me as being a most notable and enjoyable piece. Still at unawares, I made the mistake of notifying the poet of my joy at his venture. After carefull recomspection, it was duly noted that the poem fell into our somewhat dubious introspection at the time. Extrapolating from here, the puzzle began to solve itself.
The emotional worries, the decidely academic prose, led us to a most certain conclusion of sorts. While none of us feel at liberty to disclose this information for fear of scaring off yet again, a most dear friend, we only hope, that in our sincerity, we can finally get across the message about how much we love and appreciate this interaction, and how much is our desire to let it not end. Fang "Woo Hoo! That was fun!" Illadria, cachinnated bounding into Majah's parlor, where wizard, bird, and ent were already gathered enjoying an afternoon tea and a good laugh at Kendal's expense. "Hroom, the little orc, I mean "hobbit" got what he had coming to him, sure enough. That should teach him to meddle with our harmony." Majah mused, "I think he's kinda cute. The way he spins his words - it's like a waltz. He's got a certain flair." "Yes, Grand Dame of Tickledom, as always, you are correct. He is indeed a master wordslinger. His words are both profound and melodic. I must admit to a seedling of worry." Fangorn hoomed. "Worry, shmoory." said Illadria, making a mental note of her newly formed rhyme. "Content is of no importance. Words, words, words, and more words. It ain't worth a dime if it don't have a rhyme." "I've never seen so many words in one place." Majah sighed. "I don't even know what half of them mean. Massively thewed, for instance. What do you suppose that means?" Illadria, grossly negligent on several other boards, nevertheless stood gazing at her image in Majah's full length mirror. "Majah dear, you must take things in context. He was talking about me, so of course "massively thewed" must be some fancy new way of saying glorious - like exalted, or magnificent." As she spoke, she turned this way and that, smiling at her reflection; marvelling at her lithe frame, the delicate curves, the soft read tendrils framing the flawless beauty of her fair face. Sparrow laughed and flew over Illadria's head, dropping something heavy on her crown. "Ouch! What's this?" She picked up Sparrow's 8 lb Webster's Unabridged Dictionary. It fell open on page 1389, and Sparrow pecked on the word "Thew". "Thew." Illadria read aloud. "Meaning muscles or sinew." Sparrow flew quickly out of Illadria's reach, chirping giddily. Dropping the book, the elf turned again to her likeness. "Massively muscled?...Why, he's portrayed me as a troll...not a resplendent she-elf." Heedless of the male ent in the room, she stripped down to her scivvies for a closer inspection of her well-toned physique. "Do I look brawny?" she asked absentmindely. "Of course I have a little muscle...swords are heavy... and pulling on bow strings is no dainty maiden's work either." As the evening wore on Fangorn dug in his roots, Sparrow went to roost, and Majah simply turned in for the night. And when they awoke the next morning, they found Illadria where they had left her - standing in front of the mirror. "If you saw me coming down the street and you didn't know me, would you think...'There's a she-elven warrior.', or would it be 'uh oh...here comes a troll'?" Illadria "Geez Louise!" exclaimed Majah's alter ego Vickie. "These people are serious about this poetry and prose stuff!" She began to reminicse about her tentative nervous trips into the land of poems and packing string...of cabbages and kings! ZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... Suddenly Majah woke with a start and looked around her. Here i am surrounded by some of the finest minds and writers of anywhere i have EVER been, she thought. No wonder it has been a easy transition from being a mere colorer of color books to an AWARD WINNING POETESS! (i love to say that he he) And with that renewed confidence, Majah sat down to write a June poem that would live up to everyone's expectations of fine poetry...not just to win again (frankly methinks friend Fang has it wrapped this month!) but as a thank you to her friends for their support and encouragememnt during her fledgling trips into the literary arena of Tolkien's Ring!
"Hmmmmmm...June? moon...spoon..too much too soon?" Majah Illadria worked long and hard on her June poetry entry. In fact, she spent nearly five minutes slogging through her tired old stockpile of verse, before finally settling on a satisfactory few, and then another quarter of an hour structuring them passably.
The cause of her strife was, of course, Kendal. Astonishingly, he had seen right through her versification - to the very core - and had seen it's vacuous essence. Even more disturbing - his perspicacity ostensibly transcends the discernible, encompassing even that which is concealed.
"How did he know I meant to borrow some of Majah's hard-earned rhymes? A lucky guess? or perhaps a little bird told him."
Either way, the cat was out of the bag. And though she had deftly beguiled Majah, she was nevertheless, wary. After all, Majah was not somebody Illadria wanted to antagonize. Of course she could take her - if it came to it, and it were on her terms - but those tickle spells were not easily endured.
So, back at square one, she settled on her own words and came up with a pleasing ballad full of all the best rhymes, and perfect for the June poetry contest.
When we met I could tell from the moment I fell married life would be swell though I didn't know you well So I jumped in pell-mell at the church in the dell And they rang every bell Then we moved to a cell with no need to yell
But the stories you tell now I know them too well You hate when I yell From tears, my eyes swell I curse how I fell and the ringing of bells and this dingy old cell So I'll ramble pell-mell 'til I'm buried in the dell
Illadria stood nervously preening in front of her mirror. She'd traded in her woodland hunting gear for a more lady-like Sapphire Blue silk dress. It was almost time for the June Poetry Contest Winners to be announced and she wanted to look her best when they called her name. She knew she always looked very nice, but lately she was a little concerned. "This will show that loud-mouthed little pipsqueak. Hmmmph! Massively thewed, indeed!" She said under her breath as she admired the image staring back at her. She padded the discreetly placed weapons hidden under her dress. She wanted to look beautiful, but she wasn't foolish. That Kendall had been much too quiet lately...surely he was up to something. And when that "something" transpired, she would be ready. Illadria
In between bouts of recurring and crippling depression, poor Kendal the "rag-tag" Hobbit has a few elusive moments of Goblinic clarity, and being always enamoured of avenging his precious person upon the "Goodies" of the Shire, he has indeed been contemplating dire deeds to secure the future discomfort of Illadry, Fangy, and Majie... Grrrrrrrr
The Moon was faintly yellow as He jumped above the dark brow of The Hill. He sent a soft effusion of His lemony lights across The Water, and peered in many windows, casting pools of His shine upon the floors. He even peeped intently, through the one eye of His crescentic face, into the melting shadows that enfolded the Sparrow's nest. She was sleeping, head tucked neatly beneath one wing -- keeping the soughing airs of the night at bay. So, dream-wrapt in the shade of her own feathers, she missed the splendour of His gaze, but felt, perhaps, the tickle of His gentling heat as she settled even deeper into the calms of her fast sleep. Moon turned His happy eye elsewhere then, just to see what was going on beneath the star-splattered dome of this night's sky.
A skulking form, not quite fully Hobbitic, yet only faintly "aura-ed" toward the sinister, was prowling through the bushes that hedged the high house and dungeoned domicile of Dol Majah. At first, Moon thought, He just might have to rouse the Sparrow, and send the poor thing arrowing off toward Valmar with a warning that the Eagles had missed something Evil; something that was creeping, under the covering shadows, toward some purpose of no good. Adjusting his great monocle, Moon soon made out the merely "nuisance-shaped" form of a minor Sackville-Baggins "terror." It was only that Kendal SB, bent upon some trifling mischief, and not a truly reportable felon with genuinely ghastly intentions. Still, Moon blinked some freshing moisture into his single eye, and re-doubled the scrutiny of his penetrating vision.
A host of Guardian Crickets, in their jointed armours, was supposedly set at watch upon the premises of Majah's otherwise (seemingly) unprotected edifice. Normally a sufficient device of warning, and dissuasion, the Crickets were, this night, celebrating the first quarter-crescent of the Fall, and I fear they had been sipping a bit too deeply (and frequently) from their thimbal-cups. A perfect storm of their fiddling rhythms now sent a masking flood of joyful noises into the glooms beneath the circling bushes that closely swathed the keep, and flowed right up beneath its windows. And through this cricket-racket, the soft crackle of a sneaking Hobbit, placing one bare foot carefully ahead of another in the cautions of his approach, went totally unremarked.
Through the smeary glazing of a diamond-shaped pane, Kendal's sharp sight could but dimly resolve the characters currently infesting Majah's second-best parlour room. A leafy-crowned and sprawling mass of stiff limbs, set about a shaggy-barked, wooden trunk, surely marked the presence of the Tree-Man, Fangorn; while a mauvish, mawkish shape slouched in a wing-backed, "comfy" chair announced the brooding form of the Mage herself. But just what was that clumsy blotch, that oddly shaped blur of gruesome, blue intensity that was gyrating 'cross the carpet like a wobbly planet following some eccentric axis of rotation?
He reached a probing finger forward, found the glassy valve of the window moved upon the hinges of its casement, and soon obtained a less obstructed view through the inch wide opening to which he applied the bulging orbit of his eye. His "gasp!" nearly undid all his stealth, as the wilds-warry Fangorn turned a hostile glare toward the window. But a dulling pull at a tall flagon of some wood-alcoholic brew caused the Ent to forget, in mid-thought, all his vague suspicions. And so, unmolested from his coign of high advantage, an astonished Kendal SB watched the patterned motions of a "sapphire" clad Illadria as she pirouetted heavily beneath the muscled influences of her troll-strong, Elven-long physique.
"Bet she can crack walnuts 'tween them biceps and forearms!" he told himself -- prudently, with just a silent thought running quickly through his mind. Although the Ent had now gone stiff as a board where he leaned, with his great eyes glazed, against the corner timbers of the room, the other two had ears that could yet hear even if Fangorn was in no wise capable of discerning a Nazgul shriek, let alone a Hobbit whisper. Adding to his cover, Illadria, in her voice-booming concern, was pleading so loudly now with a badgered, semi-amused Majah, that Kendal could afford an audible chuckle or two before lapsing into a more discrete, full silence.
"No, I really mean it, Majhie! An honest opinion, now! Do you think I'm too muscley for ballet? Fangie sez I fairly crush the wind from his branches when I twirl him about the room."
Majah's sigh was "magisterical," and she tossed her wizardly beringed and begemmed hands into the air -- just for cabalistic emphasis -- and delivered up her "honesty."
"Of course you're not TOO muscley, Illadry! Besides, the boyz need a firm, and guiding grip -- none of them knows enough about paired-dancing to mount a successful lead. So a gurl's gotta do what a gurl's gotta do! And, NO, I don't think you're being too forward by asking them to dance -- if we don't initiate the action they'll just sit ranked along the walls like goggle-eyed toads all night. Now, that said, I do have to warn you, that your grip does leave a visible impression upon your partners, and poor ole Fredegar Bolger still claims you crushed his paw, and turned it all purple that unfortunate night at the prom..."
"Well, I thought the little rat was trying a grope, how'd I know he was just reaching past me for a mushroom goodie? And I said I was 'sorry' a hundred times as I carried him all the way home to Crickhollow."
"Yes, yes... your good intentions aside, I did have to stretch my powers that day in mending what you broke, and I never could get that little finger of his to flex properly again. But let's see your pass again, we've only a few more days of practice time before the Hobbiton Sock Hop, and I think your landings are still a bit too 'forceful' for Hobbit sized partners -- so if you don't want your dances to be all taken up by Tom, Bert and William Huggins, you're just gonna have to learn how to mince your steps and control the thunders of your leaps. OK, let's try it again -- lightly, now -- politely now -- lift, kick, leap, and land just like a feather!"
The ensuing, tectonic impact of Illadria's "light leap, politely landed," shook the Moon, toppled Fangorn into a pile of slumbering lumber, and rattled the window where Kendal clung, battering himself with the force of his own laughters. "So," he thought with malicious intent, "these here ladies and their pet stump are headed off fer da Sock Hop!!! Oh, lovely, lovely! The possibilities for a 'balletic' vengeance are heaped Moon high!"
He dropped, his small thud swallowed up in the titanic booms of another Illadria, feather-light landing, and he scurried through the complaining cricket hordes back to the scheming places of his own Hobbit hole.
(K; please forgive my more informal style of writing. your stories amuse and delight everyone and i do not even pretend to try to reach your level of expertise...BUT, i need to get my two cents worth in soooooooo here goes...i will give you the change from your nickel at the end of the story he he M)
"BALLET?" Majah snorted to herself, "Whovever told Illadria she had the moves for ballet?" She watched her dearest friend totter and tippie toe around the room spinning faster and faster and faster….
"Dang Illy, that was my best crystal sculpture! Can you maybe settle down a bit and take a breather?" Majah was instantly sorry she had snapped so hard at the clumsy elf as she saw Illadria's eyes roll back in her head and take a header to the floor.
"Hmmmmm HOOROOM!" Fangorn started from his nap and jerked upright to view the scene but he quickly realized there was no case for alarm so he relaxed back into his comfy roost and closed his heavy eyelids. The heavily laced Ent draught lulling him back to dreams of spring leaves and entwives and….."Hooroomssssnore..."
Majah bounced over to the prone figure on the floor and began to slap life back into Illadria's cheeks. The woozy elf sat up straight and grabbed the offending wrist and arm wrestled the shorter woman to the floor next to her.
"MAJ! I'm allright…you can stop hitting me NOW!" She sputtered thru her tears.
"Geez Illy", the purple mass of fabric on the floor sputtered. "Don't scare me like that!" Majah then started to laugh so hard she began to suck air and weeze in that silent hysterical laughter of a mentally challenged orc. Illadria sat with her elbows on her knees and her hammy hands dangling in front of her and waited until the messy blob she called her "friend" composed her sorry self. She then leapt to her feet and pulled Majah up with her in one fell swoop.
"I am taking these dippy toe shoes off!", the flushed dancer said mostly to herself. "What blankety blank , self respecting, masterful mind of a minion would wish me to wear these silly pink toe slippers to a sock hop anyway?" She glared towards the window that the wiley hobbit wordsmith was tom-peeping thru and for one short minute Kendal felt as if she saw right through him! He froze and barely exhaled for what seemed like eternity. But no…that moment passed quickly and he realized the elven lass was as clueless as always. He let out his breath slowly and continued to enjoy the view. Majah was struggling to straighten her tight bodice and twist her skirt back around where it belonged. Illadria in the meantime was quickly unlacing her slippers and tossing them into the corner. She then pulled on her best suede leather biker boots, slipped into Legolas's lettermen jacket from Acorn High and whipped her long red hair into a high pony tail and tied it with a chiffon skarf.
"Comon Mzzzz M, the purdy boys are awaitin us!" and the two giddy women dashed out the door and left their slightly soused leafy compadre hooorooming lightly under his breath dreaming of a time when Majah Preparations For "Da Dance!"
The short hours left to the shrinking days of Autumn, provided Kendal S-B with so much more time for "skulking after dark" that he was actually in some danger of exhausting his body long before he could dutifully fill each minute with his sub-creative malice. So much time, and such were the limitations of his natal evil -- he was after all, merely part-way Goblin -- that he almost despaired of ever thinking up sufficient mischiefs to entangle and confusticate all those "goodie-types" who were still the dominant moiety of the Shire.
"But someone must annoy them! Left to their own devices they become complacent, they settle-in, and settle-down, and then they settle to the bottom. A healthy stirring is what they chiefly need -- the bracing tonic of adversity, a purgative dose of disaster!" He was working himself into a rare snit as the hedge clippers chewed their steely way through the thick, tough boughs of a largish beech. A leafy pile of considerable dimensions already lay below him, and heaped halfway up his tottering ladder. A few more culling passes of the shears, and he judged he had a fine sufficiency for the careful plot he had just crafted.
A while later, but still in the comforting full dark before the rising of the Moon, K S-B crept into the fore garden of the Harbottle Bracegirdles, and there he found a fine and sturdy hand-barrow tipped up alongside the shed. A few tense moments later -- the single wheel had squealed like a love sick Nazgul -- and he was on the open road scuttling along at some speed toward the recently barbered beech where he collected all its shorn-off foliage.
To Tighfields next he went, where Roper Andy had his walk, and even more importantly this hard working Gamgee was notoriously lax about keeping the place tight locked. A dozen ells of the best cable-laid stuff, was soon appropriated and, without so much a quick-scribbled "I.O.U." Kendal was off.
A stiffish hide, only partly cured, and rather rank, was added to the plunder, as were a number of supple withes found outside a basket weaver's domicile. "Paints! Blacks, browns, and golden yaller! That's what we wants -- and quick!" For these, Kendal knew one sure source: Majah's "Artsie Cupboard." Few Hobbits were quite as intrusively curious as Kendal, and not many knew that Majah had started her rather varied career as an Artist, and only gradually got interested in compounding potions rather than paints, and only secondarily sat her exams for Sorcery. While most of her working time was now given over to conjuring and such, she could still, if lubricated well enough, toss off a passable Bolger-Rembrandt, or even a Leonardo Da Proudfoot. Consequently, she had pigments!
There was a slight mishap, that saw a few bottles of crimson, and one of verd antique hit the sickly-mauve carpet in Majah's darkened palace, but the multiply stereophonic snores from several bedrooms continued unabated -- the empty bottles of New Winyards, the rather inferior table wine Majah, Illadria, and Fangorn seemed to prefer, hinted at the reason for their cautionless slumbers...
The last few hours before Sun Rise were semi-lit by a conspiratorial Moon, and the Thing took its shape quite nicely as the thin hum of a saw was punctuated by the bang of a hammer. It really was awful, he thought, standing back a moment to admire his crafty-skill -- "She's a beauty! Now for some 'make-up' and these brooms will do for the hair!" Some more furtive tinkering noises rose from the small open patch of his dark grove where he had cobbled-up this monstrous figure. And as the Sun opened her gaze upon the edge of Middle-earth She gasped in astonishment, clucked her tongue within her cheek in grave disapproval, and moved up higher for a better view.
Kendal then decided to sneak off to his bed, down a "liberated" bottle of Majah's New Winyards, and sleep deeply til the Sun should near the opposite horizon and cool Her burning scrutiny in the long cool of the Ocean. And then, back to more skullduggery!
*After a few more "preparations," K S-B shall drop in to make certain the hapless trio makes it do the "hop" on time... Er -- where's my change?
The Hurry and the Scuttle...
With just a few days remaining before the big "Hobbiton Hop," Kendal had to scuttle furiously to complete all his nefarious preparations. Gushy letters, on purloined stocks of Illadry's lavender-hued stationary, were soon composed and posted by Sparrow-air to three great and stolid figures: Tom, Bert, and William.
Then each night, up on the Northfarthing Moors, Kendal paraded, pushing the groaning barrow with its hideously tall cargo -- back and forth -- across the meadows. Several "out-late" Hobbits, with more than half a skinful to their credits, had marked, and remarked the looming presence and its thrusting passage through the half-glooms of the stary night. "Where are the Ents? We lost them long ago! Where is my beloved Fangorn? Fimbrethil calls his dear name, but no answer ever comes!"
Kendal would then toss in a long, wailing cry that served to close each unit of his drama as he lurched in a hobbling charge directly at his viewers. An answering scream of terror, and the quick thuds of Hobbit feet in flight rewarded every performance. "Oh, this is just too good!" He snickered, capered, and then hauled his ghastly "vegetable" Thing back into its hiding. He blew "Fimbrethil" a kiss and added "Tomorrow's the Big Night, my Dear! Sleep well, comb out your flaxen locks, and dream fine dreams of sawdust love!"
Of course these "Entwivish" displays were soon current all over the Shire, and even the half-sodden block of wood that was Fangorn, could hardly miss the gossip of the Inns. In fact, each day now for several, the rolling sailor's gait of the Ent had been seen, great shanks gobbling up the distances, as he quartered the Northern Moors in search of his paramour.
The afternoon before the dance, Kendal jogged a knotted elbow where it rested on the planks of the common room table. A full pint-sized shower of golden brew dropped about him as Fangorn grunted, and banged his gallon mug against his wooden dentures.
"See here, Hobbit, Hroom-rum, there's plenty o room without your having to shove a poor Ent around." The deep mystery of his blood-shot Entish eyes was almost focussed upon our Kendal, but still conveyed nothing more than a pinkish-hobbity blur to Fangorn's love lorn, and drink-steeped mind. "Lumme tell youse bout da Entwives, little friend, you know we lost them? Yesh, losht them long agosh..."
"Yeah, and with your breath, I bet they'd pay gold to be left lost." Kendal muttered, just below the Ent's threshold of hearing. And, before the garrulous Old Stick could start spouting his epic poetries (again), Kendal piped up fast and loud: "Lost them!? Well, I hear that one at least has been found and all! Even chatted the poor Entwife up a bits, I did. Says she's gonna be at the big doings here in Hobbiton, this very night as is! Gonna dance away all her sorrows." "WHAT! An Entwife here in Hobbiton! This very night! OH -- Lallaburme nathrondillimar, Shalimar ie dillybrandavar! Esnooglia-kissiwookiums! Onodrimithae wurmiwoodiums!"
The Ent kept up his "poetries," and his ale quaffings for quite some time, and it was only when Majah and Illadria came to get him ready-dressed, and all hedge-trimmed for the dance, that he finally ended his long, deep chant. "Er, Ladrie, Mujjie -- wheresh dat lil' feller? Dinna git to thanks him..." but of course Kendal was "long gone" by then -- off completing a few more preparatory touches for the great scene of this play.
Later, but still early in the evening, after "Fimbrethil" had scared the bejabbers out of several of the massing herds of the Hobbits, Kendal had this tall and "willowy" dame secreted near the Sock Hop venue, and he had personnally assisted Bert, William. and Tom into the strait-jackets of their Letter-sweaters, and had carefully slicked-back their ragged manes into fancy DAs.
"Garsh Bert, you look real purdee," said an awestruck William, who was looking at his own reflection in the sheen of Bert's greased hair. "Garn, you look a roight treat yerself, William, bet you get Illadry all night long!"
"Well, if Illadry's got it right, her invite tells me dat hot magic Majah really has it bad fer me!" shouted Tom, grinning his gap-fanged smile beatifically down at a bustling Kendal who was trying to tie the Troll's shoe ropes into a proper bow.
"Oh, there's no doubt about it boyz, you three are the charmers! Dem gurlz is gonna fall all over the place when they see you! There, now you just wait til I fetch your dates, I'll be right back."
Kendal then dashed across the valley, labored his way up the hill, and wormed his panting course back to the window, where his frequent sessions there had left comfortable troughs worn in the sill's hard wood. He dropped an elbow into each socket and grinned, wide as a troll, as he watched the Goodie-Trio go through their final preparations...
Next -- A Troubled Tangle, er Tango: if William is dancing with Illadry, and Tom's got Majah -- just who is Bert's date?