In the Heart of Mordor
Rivendell. Shit. I’m still only in Rivendell. Every time, I think I’m going to wake up back in the wild.
They tell me I’ve been here for four days. Elrond, my Elvish host and surgeon, dug into my shoulder and removed a shard of Mordor steel, bedeviled with some kind of black sorcery. Well, he managed to botch it for days—only just found the last splinter. At least this Elvish drug water is keeping me numb.
Four days of getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room, I get weaker. And every minute the Enemy prowls the hills, they get stronger. Each time I look around, the walls move in a little tighter.
When I was home after my first journey, it was worse. I’d wake up and there’d be nothing. When I was here, I wanted to be there. When I was there, all I could think of was starting another journey.
The wizard was perched over me when I woke—gray of beard, pointy of hat, and smoking like a chimney. Gandalf I call him, but he’s got more names than I have waistcoats. I needed him back in The Shire a month ago, but here he is, late as usual, and here I am with a crater in my shoulder that’s never going to heal.
I see my other companions in the coming hours: my gardener Sam and two of my friends, Merry and Pippin. We’re Hobbits, the four of us. There’s a lot of back slapping and “well dones” passed around. It was a close shave worth celebrating—a big middle finger to Mordor. I share some of my drug water when the wizard steps out.
How did four Hobbits end up in this Elvish resort town? It all starts and stops with a ring.
Not just any ring: a badass, world-conquering ring made by a supremely evil individual by the name of Sauron. He had it, and lost it, and then it changed hands a few times before my Uncle Bilbo came into possession of it. Then this One Ring, as Gandalf calls it, was given to me.
Actually, the wizard coerced it from Bilbo. Something else to thank him for.
Now I’m at the top of Sauron’s hit list. He sent Nine of his best—came damn close to catching me, too—so we’re laying low in Rivendell.
But Elrond clearly isn’t keen on this. He’s called a Council, which is a painfully Elvish, non-confrontational way of saying, “get out.” Excuse me, but who in their greed started this mess? Elves, Dwarves, and Men—not Hobbits. Yet Elrond’s going to pawn this debt off on the first sap willing to take it.
And that sap’s about to be me.
Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a quest. And for my sins, they gave me one.
When it was over, I’d never want another.