Acceptance and Concession Speeches
"It's no use, Sam. They won't stay put." Frodo slumped back in his chair and glowered at the feathers. They had been purchased at great cost from Gammer Buncewort's Horny Hobbit in Michel Delving, but could just as easily have been plucked from the nearest barnyard fowl and dipped in food dye for all the good they were.
"Explain this to me again," he said, tossing the limp plumes onto the dressing table. "Because of your perfervid imagination we've received an award for 'most unusual symptom'?"
"Yes, sir, but--" Sam eyed the discarded feelers with an expression reminiscent of a champion bowler who's seen his wood go into the ditch without touching the Sweetie.
"The proper name is Boil Vey Award, if you don't mind me saying so." He puckered his lips enticingly as he pronounced the words. "According to Mr. Bilbo, it means 'stap my vitals' in Elvish."
"Ah, I see. So the brief glimpse I had of Bilbo as we were herded past the Green Room door wasn't another curious symptom waiting to catch me unawares before a crowded house?"
"No, sir, he and his gentlemen friends will share the stage with us." He paused uncertainly. "To say nothing of the dog."
"And you're sure they want me to accept the award while wearing these?" He picked up the feathers and held them to his forehead, where they sagged like tomato vines after a hard frost.
"Quite sure," said Sam, his spirits beginning to lift as he gazed at the objects of his affections.
"This isn't a bare-faced attempt on your part to revisit the thrill of--" Frodo gave the feathers a twitch to make them stand taller. "--an experience which it would be crude of me to mention by name during a family entertainment?"
"Now as to that--" Sam scratched his nose and glanced around the dressing room as if he'd only just seen it. "It's not all beer and skittles, as my gaffer would say."
"In other words, you're prepared to watch me make a fool of myself in front of an audience but nevertheless hope for a modest dalliance afterwards. Am I right?"
Sam hung his head.
"Oh, very well," Frodo muttered, "pass me the hair slides. But you do understand that if the dog catches sight of the feelers, all bets are off?"
It was nearing seven o’clock when Sam entered Bag End’s kitchen to begin preparing supper. It was later than was usual but he’d had some extra planting to do and now was the time to do it. He was surprised to find Frodo sitting at the table, a letter in his hand and a look of… well, Sam wasn’t exactly sure what the look on Frodo’s face was at present but it caused him to quickly remove the happy-go-lucky smile from his own.
“What is it, Mr. Frodo?” he asked, a sudden wave of concern washing over him. Yet, not one word of Frodo’s mumbled reply made it to Sam’s ear so he slowly, yet cautiously, asked again, “Frodo?”
Frodo’s second reply came in loud and clear.
“The Crybaby Award!” Frodo huffed. He waved the letter in the air haphazardly. “She’s won…” and then he paused, “or rather… we’ve won… “ and then he paused again. “No, wait! Perhaps I should say I’ve won the ’Crybaby’ Award! For I’ve no doubt they’re making reference to me, “ he said, sulking. “I didn’t think they’d really do it, Sam!” he went on. “And all because of that blasted cornfield incident Merry got us into last fall!”
Sam lifted the letter from Frodo’s hand, the smile on his face returning as he scanned it briefly, saying, “Well, now, ain’t that somethin’?”
Frodo sat at the table tapping his fingers irritably. “I’m not a crybaby, Sam.”
Sam sat down beside him, laid his hand gentle on Frodo’s knee. “No, sir, I know that. I didn’t say you were.”
“No, but the letter clearly says so.”
“If you say so, sir.”
“No, I don’t say so, Sam, the letter says so! You did read it, didn’t you?”
And oh dear, Sam thought to himself. Frodo was in one of them moods it seemed, where he felt everybody and their brother, and brothers before them, completely misunderstood him. So best to just take in that deep breath now and prepare for the long night ahead.
“I’m not a crybaby, Sam, and I don’t know why everyone thinks that I am. Why do you suppose that is, Sam?” he asked, lips pursed tight in a pout.
“I couldn’t rightly say, sir, but… well… “ And he didn’t know what to say to Frodo exactly but as it turned out he didn’t have to say anything because Frodo didn’t give him the chance.
“They always make me cry you know.”
“If you say so,” was Sam’s quiet reply. It wasn’t much consolation - if you could even call it that, Sam knew - but it was all he could come up with seein’ as how his mind was really geared to come in and cook supper, and a pouting Frodo really just flat caught him by surprise.
“I do say so, Sam, because it’s true and you know it!” Frodo snapped. Then realizing he was blaming Sam for something he had nothing to do with, quickly apologized. “I’m sorry, Sam. It’s just… well, it just seems at one time or another I’m always in tears over something. It’s not like I have any say in the matter.”
“Aye, I know that.”
Then Frodo quickly came back with, “I didn’t cry at the Harvest Festival.”
“No, no you didn’t,” Sam agreed, trying to be as supportive as he could. And then he thought to turn the tables a bit. “If I remember correctly, I were wanting to cry that night,” he said, then went on to clarify, “T’weren’t no fun at all seein’ you dancin’ with all of them lads and lasses like that, me just watchin’ and wonderin’, not able to lay so much as a finger on you when all I wanted to do was shout to all of Middle Earth and beyond, let ‘em know just how much I loved you.” Sam’s face grimaced, remembering all too clearly. “Oh, that were a pain I never want to feel again as long as I live.”
Moved by Sam’s confessed feelings on that night, which Sam had never mentioned to him before, Frodo’s expression, and tone in his voice, now showed compassion. “Yes, well, I saved the last dance for you, Sam, remember? And you laid more than a finger on me that night if I remember correctly.”
Sam grinned from ear-to-ear. “Aye, I reckon we both remember all right. Mmmm, and it were the sweetest dance to be sure. That were a night to remember, and no mistake!”
“Yes it was, Sam,” Frodo said smiling, then jumped quickly back to the subject at-hand. “Yes, well, and I don’t recall crying then either, Sam.
Sam cocked his head a little, quirked his mouth, “Weeeell… “
“I didn’t Sam! And if you’re referring to the state I was in when I was… when we were… well, I was simply… well… “
“Moved?” Sam interjected softly.
“Exactly!” And Frodo answered so swift it made Sam jump. “Yes, I couldn’t have chosen a better word myself, Sam. Yes, I was merely… ‘moved’, as you say.” And Sam thought Frodo was finished but, apparently, he had more to say and say it he did. “I suppose there’s no denying that small incident that happened back when we first began ‘seeing each other’, if you will. You remember, don’t you? Oh, I wanted so badly for you to stay with me on that night. Through the entire night, Sam, but you always had to leave it seemed. I caught you trying to leave while you thought me asleep. Do you remember that, Sam?” He didn’t wait for Sam’s answer, simply went on defending himself. “But the only reason I cried then was because I just… well, the truth of the matter was… well, I believe I explained it all then, Sam, and I still, to this day, feel I had just cause for that little melt down, or whatever anyone wishes to call it, even though I’m still rather embarrassed about it if you want to know the truth.”
“Aw, now Frodo, come on. I remember that night all right,” Sam said, trying to offer what little comfort he could. “And I’m still here, now, ain’t I? I told you that night I’d never leave you and I meant what I said. Now let’s not bring all that stuff up again. You just need to lighten up a little bit about these here awards, Mr. Frodo,” he said, trying now to divert the conversation back to the present. “After all, it’s all just supposed to be in fun. Everybody knows that, and it ain’t like they’re crownin’ you King or nothin’,” he joked. “Beggin’ your pardon.”
Frodo forced a small smile. “I suppose you’re right, Sam. After all, an award’s an award, isn’t it? And I am honored really.”
“Aye, an award’s an award,” Sam repeated. “Now that’s more like it,” he said smiling, hoping this was the end once and for all. But just to make sure Frodo knew his thoughts on the matter, decided to add, “You know I like it when you cry, though, don’t you?”
Frodo half-chuckled, rolled his eyes.
“Yes, I know, Sam. You think I’m beautiful when I cry.”
“Aye, I do. And that you are, and no mistake,” he smiled then raised an eyebrow in amusement. “But that ain’t the only reason I like it when you cry.”
Feeling much less bothered, though somewhat curious now, Frodo softened his voice and asked, “And why else do you like me to cry, Sam?”
“Weeeell… “ he began, gently pulling Frodo towards him. “I reckon I’d rather show you if it’s all the same to you,“ he said. He wrapped his arms around Frodo’s waist holding him snug against himself, their faces inches apart then whispered low, “Whenever I see you cry, Mr. Frodo, it makes me want to do this… “ And leaning his head in just a bit, pressed his warm lips to Frodo’s, eliciting from Frodo’s throat a long, guttural moan. He felt that moan ripple and vibrate, inch-by-inch, through every part of him then pulled away just enough to whisper… “And this... “ Now his one hand snaked through Frodo’s silky-soft curls, holding Frodo’s head firm to his, the other diving straight for the front of Frodo’s trousers, flat palm pressing firmly on Frodo’s growing bulge, while his tongue slowly worked open Frodo’s soft, unresisting mouth.
Frodo gave the slightest whimper then pulled away breathless. “Oh!” was all he uttered. Then in a low, husky, teasing voice breathed, “But I’m not crying now, Sam.”
Sam breathed right back, “No… but you will be.”
And so surprised by Sam’s reply was Frodo, that he laughed out loud, gasped, “Sam!” while at the same time trying to squirm out of Sam’s clutch.
Sam simply tightened his hold, foiling Frodo’s escape.
“Well, now, hold on a minute,” Sam grinned. “I ain’t done showin’ you just yet,” he continued, his breath hot and moist against Frodo’s ear. Frodo squeezed his eyes shut, let out a whimper as Sam’s hand made its way under his shirt and over his chest, the searing-hot heat from it sending tingling-hot prickles to every surface of his skin. “I reckon we’ll need to remove some things so’s I can show you the rest,” he muttered, burying a kiss in Frodo’s hair and giving his shirt a quick tug.
Supper turned out to be a rather speedy affair and for the rest of the evening Frodo turned to butter in Sam’s hands, melting into a liquid puddle at Sam’s every touch.
The next morning Frodo awoke quite refreshed and with a whole new outlook to-boot. He piddled around the house for a good part of the day, doing mostly things he normally didn’t do, to keep his mind off tonight’s ceremonies while Sam took care of his usual affairs in the gardens.
And now the time had arrived. They cleaned up and put on their finest then headed out the door and across the field to the Party Tree where the stage was set up. Crowds and crowds of people were gathered ‘round; some in small clustered groups around the perimeter of the platform and many others already seated, eager for the ceremonies to begin.
Forty-five minutes passed by, of speech after lovely speech, and now it was Frodo’s turn. Feeling way more nervous than he’d anticipated, he crossed the stage and was presented his award. Then he stepped up to the podium, cleared his throat and slowly began. His start was a little shaky but he quickly settled.
Good… Good Evening to you all. I… I’ve been asked by Frodo_naatulien to stand in for her on this night. She says she doesn’t do well in crowds.” He paused, his eyes sweeping over the crowd from left to right then back again. “I can’t say that I blame her really.”
He shot a quick glance to Sam who was waiting at stage left, smiled nervously then turned back to the audience.
“So, on behalf of Frodo_naatulien, and Sam and myself, I graciously and proudly accept this honorable Golden Mushroom Award for ‘Best… Crybaby’, awarded to us by all of you who voted for Frodo_naatulien’s fic - Cornfields, Plow Horses, and Demons. She sends you all her deepest heartfelt thanks. And by the way, she wanted me to tell you she still has that stinking grin on her face. You’ve all made her very happy indeed,” he said, smiling. ”And now, if it’s all right, I should like to add a little something of my own. It shan’t take long.”
He shot another glance to Sam, this one he held a little longer, then turned back to the audience and continued. “I know that if it weren’t for the extreme dedication and hard work of all the writers, not to mention - vivid imaginations -” to this Frodo gave a small smirk, “ and the enthusiastic and eager readers of this fandom as well, then none of us would be standing here today. I am truly grateful that you all took it upon yourselves to, not only keep the LOTR characters and stories going, but to give us all richer more fun-filled lives, and take us all to much happier endings than did Professor Tolkien - may his soul rest in peace. For that alone, I truly thank each and every one of you.”
The crowd roared and as much as he tried to stop it, Frodo felt the familiar rush of heat to his face paired with the stinging prickles behind his eyes. Oh no! he thought. He couldn’t let them see, he just couldn’t! So, without further ado, he blinked his eyes a few times, choked everything back, raised his award (a large parchment scroll tied with beautiful blue silk-ribbon) high above his head and concluded, with as steady a voice as he could muster, Hear! Hear! To all the authors, to all the readers, to Shadow and everyone at West of the Moon, and a special thank you, from Sam and myself and Frodo_naatulien, again to those of you that voted for <b>Cornfields, Plow Horses, and Demons</b>. And Frodo-naatulien wishes to acknowledge one last person: she sends a very special special thank you to the person, whoever you are, that nominated Cornfields, Plow Horses, and Demons in the first place.”
Frodo gave a courteous nod to the crowd, turned and exited the stage quickly, his head bowed low. Sam fought hard to keep the smirk off of his face for, unless he was mistaken, it looked as if Frodo might be… And just as Sam was about to open his mouth to say something, Frodo whipped right past him like a gust of wind, without so much as even a sideways glance towards Sam.
“No, Sam, I am not crying!” he stated matter-of-factly, focused only on getting back to their seats.
Moved then? was what Sam almost said but quickly, and wisely, thought better of it. Instead, he simply followed Frodo close behind, the twitching muscles on one corner of his mouth finally giving way to a half-grin. He didn’t dare chuckle aloud but it really did strike him as funny, seein’ as how Frodo had made such a big to-do yesterday about this whole crybaby thing. They sat back down together then Sam cleared his throat, wiped the smirk from his face and quietly said, “If you say so, sir.”
"Damsel in Distress?" The indignant words were muffled by the blankets and comforters surrounding the hobbit so honored. "Do I look like a damsel to you, Estel?"
The marshal examined the evidence, as he'd been trained to do… though possibly he was overly cautious. It seemed unlikely the hobbit was hiding anything on his person, being totally naked under his blankets. Certainly his fingers alone should have been sufficient for the body cavity search, but it seemed likely he would immediately continue the search with another appendage.
"Froooodoooo," Strider moaned.
"Yes, yes, yes!" Came the ever-higher-pitched reply.
The door slammed open and an elderly man entered the room. "Oh for heaven’s sake, look what you’ve gone and done now!" he scolded the Golden Mushrooms Committee testily.
"Doc!" The name was squeaked out by both occupants of the large bed, and both of them peeked over their blankets, suddenly shy. Almost virginal, really.
"Bad enough these two are making love all night long, every night when Estel is in town! Now you've got them doing it in broad daylight!"
The marshal blushed a deep, very becoming shade of rose while the hobbit stuttered wordlessly.
"Really, Frodo, it amazes me how could such an intelligent hobbit as yourself never noticed that Tol always finds an excuse to be away on those nights when Estel is visiting you." Doc began hustling the Golden Mushrooms Committee out of the room. "Put on some clothes, both of you. Even then you can't be trusted not to moon all over each other, but at least there's a chance one can have a cup of tea before that infernal caterwauling starts up again.
"Just down the hall to the kitchen, ladies. Once Frodo and Marshal Strider get some blood back to their brains I'm sure they'll want to thank you very much for the honor, and to note what a distinguished company was nominated in this very... interesting category."
The sound of his voice died as the group entered the kitchen, and Frodo looked to his Estel, who stared back with a rueful smile.
"Poor Doc. I swear, Frodo, I never thought... Well, I may have noticed we weren't always as quiet as possible..."
"It's very difficult to control myself when I'm with you, Estel," Frodo admitted, looking up at the man through his lashes. "When you touch me, I forget about everything and everyone else in all of Middle Earth."
"My love." Strider pulled Frodo into his arms, and the Golden Mushrooms Committee, as well as the long-suffering Doc, had their tea and cakes alone.
A gentle breeze blew through the open window of the study, rustling the papers on Frodo's desk as he wrote. In a nearby chair Merry sat reading, his feet propped up on a low table. A door slammed in the distance, and the sound of running feet echoed in the hall.
"Pip's back," Merry said, turning the page.
“Mmhmm,” Frodo said after a long pause. He did not pause in his writing.
The footsteps abruptly stopped outside the study and the door banged open so loudly that even Frodo glanced up. Pippin stood in the doorway, red-faced and clutching a crumpled piece of parchment in his hand.
"They called me a damsel, Merry. A damsel!" he said, his tiny body nearly twitching with anger.
"What?" Merry said indignantly, already insulted on Pippin's behalf. Frodo's mouth twitched as he resumed his writing.
"A letter came for me in the post," Pippin said, handing it to his cousin. "Just look at all the horrible things they’ve said about me, Merry." He sniffled loudly, and folded his hands tightly across his chest.
Merry quickly scanned the letter and grinned. "Pip, this isn't a bad thing – you're a runner-up in a contest. You should be celebrating!"
"But they called me a damsel, Merry," Pippin said, frowning.
"Did you read the fine print?" Merry asked. "The category is called Best Damsel in Distress — this does not necessarily have to be female." He smiled and ruffled his cousin's hair. "See? Lads can win this prize too."
Pippin shrugged, shuffling his foot across the floor. "But won't people make fun of me? Frodo already is."
Merry turned to scowl at Frodo, who was shaking in silent laughter.
When he caught sight of his younger cousins glaring at him, Frodo laughed even harder until tears streamed down his face. "Now that you're a damsel, Pippin, I suppose I should put you to work in the kitchen," he said when he had recovered enough to speak. "Are you any good at making mushroom soup?"
Pippin's face flushed again with embarrassment and anger.
Merry patted his young cousin’s shoulder in comfort. "Don't mind him, Pippin. We all know how Frodo likes to tease," he said, glaring at him in obvious disapproval. "But speaking of mushrooms, this contest is called the Golden Mushroom Awards." He grinned at Pippin. "This letters says they will be awarding prizes in the next few days. I'll bet it’ll be a whole basket of mushrooms."
Pippin's eyes lit up. "Mushrooms!" he exclaimed. "I suppose being a runner-up isn't so bad after all, even if they did call me a damsel."
Frodo's eyes lit up as well. "Mushrooms, is it?" he murmured half to himself. Standing, he crossed the room and slid his arm around Pippin's shoulders. "I'm very sorry for teasing you, Pippin. I should be congratulating you instead – being a runner-up is a wonderful honor. When you receive your prize you should, ah, share it with everyone. So that we might all share in celebrating with you, of course."
Pippin regarded Frodo doubtfully for a moment, but when his cousin showed no sign of teasing him again he grinned. "All right," he agreed. "I'll make sure to let everyone know when I get my prize."
"Wonderful!" Frodo said with a smile, his mind already wandering to pleasant thoughts of mushroom soups and mushroom pies and stuffed mushrooms and…
Just a few days later as Frodo walked home from the market, he saw that a large crowd had gathered outside his door.
Oh I hope the Sackville-Bagginses haven't given the lads any trouble, he thought as he hurried up the path. He had nearly reached Bag End when he stopped, dropping his basket of eggs to the ground as he stared open-mouthed at the banner hanging above the door.
The Golden Mushroom Awards Runner-up, the sign proclaimed in tremendous letters, Best Damsel in Distress. Frodo gulped, feeling quite distressed himself. In the center of the banner was a (very crudely drawn, he thought) picture of himself bound and shirtless!
"Frodo! Frodo!" Pippin exclaimed, squeezing his way through the gawking crowd. He launched himself at his cousin and pulled him into an enormous hug.
"Look, Frodo! My prize came in the post today," he said excitedly. "I remembered that you said I should share my prize with everyone, but since it wasn't a basket of mushrooms like we thought it would be I didn't know what to do with it. Merry suggested that I hang it up outside the door where the others could see." He beamed up at his cousin. "Do you like it, Frodo? Merry said you would."
By now the crowd had noticed Frodo, and he could hear whispered snatches of "Mad Baggins" coming from a large huddle of disapproving elderly hobbits. A group of lasses standing nearby giggled and waved while Merry leaned against the door, smiling innocently.
"Oh yes," Frodo said dazedly. "It's just charming."
Accepted by Samwise Gamgee
"Hobbits and all you human ladies," Sam eyes the front row of the audience visible to him, in which all feet are shod, "I've to thank you all for, ah-um, honoring me 'n Mr. Frodo as a runner-up for Best Damsel in Distress. Exceptin', that is, that neither of us is a damsel. Mr. Frodo has explained to me that a dam-o-zel is a high-falutin' lady what needs rescuing for some reason, and I have to say that I'm not high-falutin', and he's not a lady." Sam pulls out a large green handkerchief and wipes his suddenly-rosy brow. "After being rescued, I'm more sure of that than anything else. Really sure." He pats his cheeks and his brow again. "But he did rescue me, and I can't say I was ever gladder of anything by the time he was finished." He folds the handkerchief, revealing a yellow SG+FB in one corner, puts it back in his pocket and bows elaborately to the crowd. "So if you meant to choose this story, thanks to everyone!"
Oh my. I truly never expected this honour – and I don’t know what to say, so I guess I’ll let Frodo and Sam do the talking for me. My admiration and appreciation for everyone who worked to make ‘The Golden Mushroom Awards’ so much fun, and my gratitude to all who voted for my story.
For you, an Epilogue:
Sam looks up from his bit of leatherwork and raises his brows.
"For me?" he echoes.
"All the way from Buckland." Frodo flourishes the parcel, "With my cousins' fondest regards."
Sam cuts the string and folds the heavy brown paper back. And blinks.
"It's a bit---bright, isn't it?" He drapes the emerald green brocade over a brown arm and purses his lips.
"Mmmmm. It compliments your eyes beautifully." Frodo helps him shrug the waistcoat on and grins. "Considering Merry's tastes, just be grateful it isn't chartreuse." He gazes at the abashed hobbit before him avidly. The jewel tones of the rich cloth turn Sam’s eyes into gold-flecked pools of woodland green, and Frodo thinks that he has never seen a lovelier sight.
"They didn't have to do this," Sam mutters. "It wasn't no hardship to help Mr. Merry out. It was a---pleasure." He looks at Frodo, his eyes wary.
"Sam," Frodo murmurs as he smoothes the shawl collar down. "Have you thought about my – um – proposal?"
Sam's belly knots up as he gazes at his master's bent head. Frodo peers up at him through his lashes and smiles encouragingly.
"Aye," he replies. "I have."
Sam pulls his beloved against his chest and buries his face in the soft, dark hair. "Loving you as much as I do, me dear, I reckon I can find it in myself to love Merry and Pip too. They're a part of you, after all."
"Oh Sam," Frodo leans back to look at him, his blue eyes heavy-lidded with pleasure. "You are the most generous of hobbits."
"My life’s a cup, Mr. Frodo, and it’s plumb overflowing with all manner of good things. I’m just drinking more deeply of it, if you follow me."
"That’s lovely, Sam,” Frodo brushes his thumb over the curve of Sam’s lips and smiles mistily. “Shall it be ‘bottoms up’ then?”
"Aye, and that too." And Sam silences him with a long and fervent kiss.
Frodo walks towards center stage, Sam following sheepishly behind him.
Frodo (facing audience): “Thank you so much for your enthusiastic reception of this innocent little tale. It really is an honor to have so many people enjoy reading about our simple, everyday lives. Grateful as I am for your kind attention, there is one minor quibble I must make. The award states `Best Abuse of Culinary Arts.’ I’m sorry, but I simply don’t understand that. Sam is a very good cook. What am I saying—he’s an excellent cook. Listen, I had one of those brownies and, believe me, you really missed a treat. That is, I think you missed a treat. Rather, I remember the brownie was really quite good, although things got a bit muddled afterwards.”
Sam (mumbling, blushing furiously): “Flu.”
Frodo: “Yes, I certainly wouldn’t forget about that. A most peculiar flu, that seemed to affect my poor cousin Pippin as well. Perhaps I caught it from your sisters.”
Sam (mumbling, virtually indistinguishable): “Caught my sisters, all right.”
Frodo: “Second, I should like to clarify this controlled substance business. I agree that many readers might not consider chocolate to be a canon material. Even so, it’s hardly a controlled substance, wouldn’t you agree? The fact that Sam must have used chocolate to make the brownies might be considered inappropriate, but certainly not improper. Wouldn’t you agree, Sam?”
Sam: “(mutter) root (mutter) flower (mutter) amazing good blowjob.”
Frodo starts, and stares at Sam. Sam stares back, wide-eyed. Frodo recovers himself, then turns again to the audience. “And now, I’m afraid we must go. Sam wants to practice his culinary skills again. He says he intends to cook up something very special for me.”
Sam (smiling): “And I can’t wait for him to eat it. Good night!”
The curtain rises and Elrond sweeps onto the stage, looking very much as though he’d really rather be somewhere else - possibly poking his eyes out with sharp sticks. He clears his throat and begins: “Ladies and gentlemen,” he says, “I am here on behalf of the elven population of Tol Eressëa, to apologise most profusely for Legolas.”
A strident, if slightly slurred voice issues from the wings. “Hoy!” it says, “that’s my son you’re talking about, I’ll have you know.”
“Yes,” replies Elrond, “and if you’d done your job and brought him up properly he wouldn’t be embarrassing us all by winning this award for the second time in two years.”
Thranduil wanders up onto the stage and pokes Elrond in the side with a long, slender finger. “And what exactly has my son done that’s so terrible?” he asks.
“He’s making us all look silly,” replies Elrond.
Thranduil takes a long look at Elrond’s purple ensemble and then remarks; “I think you Noldor are quite capable of doing that all by yourselves.”
Elrond sniffs loudly. “Also, he has fraternised with other species.”
“Well you’re hardly one to speak, Milord Half-Elven,” observes Thranduil.
“B…b…but they were men!” splutters Elrond. “Not the same thing at all! Apparently your son has been having it away all over the place with dwarves and hobbits - possibly at the same time.”
“Dwarves and hobbits, eh?” remarks Thranduil. “At least it’s not giant spiders any more.”
“Giant spiders?” asks Elrond, turning a trifle pale.
Thranduil shrugs. “He was young and confused,” he says, then upon more reflection, “Well… more confused.”
“But your son’s proclivities are being broadcast to the world - I can’t believe it doesn’t bother you!” says Elrond.
“It obviously doesn’t bother them,” says Thranduil, indicating the audience. “If it had have done, they wouldn’t have voted the way they did.”
“But they’re…” Elrond drops his voice to a whisper, “…Pervy Hobbit Fanciers.”
“I think you’re just jealous they’re not paying your sex life the same attention that they do my son’s,” says Thranduil, with a smirk.
“Well,” replies Elrond, “maybe just a bit – but not enough that I’d do it with hobbits!”
“And dwarves,” adds Thranduil helpfully, before continuing: “Mind you, you might want to rethink that anti-hobbit stance – I understand they’re quite remarkable in the sack… or anywhere else for that matter.”
“And you would know precisely how?” asks Elrond, a trifle accusatorially.
Thranduil shrugs, “I read the entries in the Adult Categories. So, if you’re done with being outraged, how about a quickie to celebrate the award?”
“What sort of a quickie?” asks Elrond, suspiciously.
“I was talking about wine but if it’s something else you’re after, I’m still pretty limber,” replies Thranduil, throwing an arm around Elrond’s shoulder. “Did I ever tell you about the time…?”
“No you didn’t,” interrupts Elrond, sharply, “and you’re not going to until I’m completely plastered.”
“Sounds like a deal to me,” says Thranduil and the two head for the bar.
This is such a surprise! Whenever I post a new story, I can only hope that others will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it, so this award is quite flattering and humbling indeed. I’m honored to be the runner-up in this category and I thank everyone who read it and voted for it. Thank you also to the many wonderful talented author’s whose works inspire me to keep on writing and creating. Without them, I would never have even started to write, and without their encouragement and tremendous feedback, I likely would have stopped writing long before now. They know who they are, so hugs and kisses to them. And of course, the biggest thanks goes to Tolkien, for creating such wonderful characters and for sharing this amazing world with us.
Thank you so so much. This is an incredible and unexpected honour. Thanks to all who voted from the bottom of my heart, congratulations to the winners in this and all the other categories and most of all, THANK YOU, WEST OF THE MOON STAFF, for the banners, for your tireless work and amazing initiatives.
Massive hugs and thanks to all,
Trust No One
The human race is maturing nicely (finally), since it’s obvious to us – the trees of the Old Forest – that we are at last being acknowledged for our starring (and pivotal) role in a story. However, “Wild Kingdom” is a bit insulting, don’t you think? How can anyone call us wild? It’s that wet-behind-the-ears Ranger and exhaustingly (albeit adorably) curious hobbit that Shirebound dragged into our realm who are the wild ones. Get your facts straight next time. (And we realize that this award is supposed to be for the use of some type of animal, but that snuffling, yapping, hole-digging, annoying Scamp isn’t nearly as articulate as such noble and humble trees as ourselves. Besides, she’s off chasing something at the moment. Better luck next time, pup. The early bird gets the speech, if you know what I mean.) Well, in any event, dig those Golden Mushrooms out of that dog’s supper dish and hand them over. We’d like to go back to sleep now….. er, I mean, sit here feeling greatly honored. Yes, that’s it.
Evenin', all you
Ladies and men and Elves and hobbits. Samwise Gamgee
here, owner of The Hungry Hobbit Pub, the finest
establishment to be found most anywheres nowadays.
And this is Himself, Mr. Frodo Baggins, as is
proprietor of the Green Dragon Bookstore, just down
the street. Take a bow, Frodo, let ‘em see how nice
you look in that fancy new suit.
Many congratulations to Mews on her wonderful and ingenious tale and thanks to everyone who voted for me and my winged hobbits. I am fluttering with delight! Thanks to Mechtild for helping the ending to soar a little higher.
Thank you so much for voting for “Hourglass”. Sam
certainly managed to put his fire-making skills to
good use and I’m so glad it worked its magic. Many
thanks to Blackbird Song for her thoughtful beta and
to all those who read this piece by piece as it was
posted and supported me throughout the summer of 2005.
Normally, I would ask dear Pip or Frodo to respond to your wonderful generosity in awarding "Up From the Ashes" with a lovely runner-up award in the "Best Use of Flame" category. We are especially flattered to be a runner-up to the lovely Igraine and to have been nominated in the same category with the wonderful Willow-wode and Lindelea. *waves* But this is me, Elanor, here to tell you that I was really touched by this award, because "Up From the Ashes" is a very special story to me. As I watched the tragedy that was Hurricane Katrina unfold back in September, I wanted to say something about the resilience of the human, and the hobbit, spirit -- something about hope. Thus "Up From the Ashes" was born, and born very quickly -- it really wrote itself, as they say. My thanks to my beta, Connie Marie, and to Wyna Hiros, who did such a lovely job with her gorgeous illustration of the story -- "Remembering Ashes" .
Thanks to all of you and please do consider making a donation to any worthy organization helping those impacted by Katrina, they still need our help.
I am more thrilled than you can imagine by this honor. This story was one which insisted on being written, and it was written with a full heart. It is dedicated to those who did not forget about me, and others in the "hobbity community" here, while we were stranded and unable to communicate. I have made my thanks to them, but it is never enough to repeat them: Thank you for your kindness, consideration, concern and generosity during a time which was incredibly difficult.
I hope that when others read and see this story, they will be reminded of a time and a place when people pulled together to help others through unimagineable disaster. I was one of the lucky ones--many of my friends were not.
I like to think that one reason for the outpouring of kindness, of "pity" as JRRT put it, had to do with the nature of his world, and of his world-view, and most especially of the nature of his hobbits. Of all the beings we might seek to emulate, we could do far worse than hobbits. They know what really matters in life: food, and song, and home, and most especially friendship. And they know how to endure adversity, and to persist in doing what needs to be done, no matter what the obstacles. Those of us who admire JRRT's world, and who love hobbits, must of necessity, see friendship as a more solid and tangible thing of worth.
I also like to think that perhaps my small story will help the bigger story to not be forgotten. So many people do not realize just how large an area was actually impacted by Hurricane Katrina, nor just how devastated it all still is. They think that everything is getting back to normal. "Normal" will never be what it was before the storm, and it will be years before it begins to have a meaning of its own: right now, "normal" is still blue tarps on roofs, half the people you know living in a FEMA trailer, and debris. One day that will change, but we will never again see the beautiful homes along the beach, shaded by the majestic live oaks, nor many of the landmarks that made our area unique. They are gone forever.
I know that the speeches for these awards are usually light-hearted, but I simply could not bring myself to be funny about this one, and I thank you very much for your indulgence.
Dear West of The Moon folks,
“Merry has been teasing me all day. He says I almost won a rug rat only I didn’t win because someone else won my rat. I’ve seen field mice and river rats but I’ve never seen a rug rat. We have rugs in our smial so I guess if I did win a rug rat it would have a nice place to live. I asked Merry if rug rats make good pets and he just laughed. I guess he laughed because rug rats are fun. I guess it’s good that I didn’t win the rug rat cause I don’t know how to take care of them. When I get older maybe then I can have my own rug rat. I hope that the winner of the rug rat takes good care of it because Merry says that rug rats are lots of work to look out for and that they can be really big pests, eat all of your food, get lost, get stuck in trees, throw up on you and make a mess of your stuff. They don’t sound nice but I still would like to win one. Frodo says that I should be a good sport when I don’t win so I hope the winner, Daffodil Bolger, enjoys the rug rat. Please tell Daffodil, if she doesn’t like him after she gets him home, I’ll take the rat. Oh, and if you people at West of The Moon find any extra rug rats let me know cause the more I think about it, the more I want one.
I am deeply grateful to all the loyal readers who hung in there and gave Devoted a chance. This was a difficult story for me to write, and I’m sure it was difficult for many of you to read. But I wanted to do a realistic (as much as I was able) exploration of the consequences of rape, not only how this brutal crime can affect the targeted person, but also that person’s friends and family. The scope of the piece allowed me to explore some of the ways in which the peaceful Shire residents might react to such violence, and perhaps (through contrast) point up how violence is so relatively commonplace, and often glorified, in our own American culture.
I am delighted and humbled that so many of you undertook to read this very long adventure. I began to suspect the story had the reins between its teeth when I had posted 50,000 words and Buckland had yet to be notified. But the love that we have for these characters, and the love they have for each other, saw everyone safely through. Thank you so much for reading. I dearly appreciate your comments and remarks. I’d like to extend a huge thank you to Shadow and the wonderful folks at West of the Moon for hosting a friendly set of awards that helps celebrate the continuing impact that Middle-earth and its residents has had on all of us. Thank you most of all, Professor Tolkien, for making this magical world possible. You’re the best. Cheers.
Found crumpled on the
green room floor:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great
Humility, she calls it. Embarrassment is what I call it, leaving a poor hobbit to turn into a giant pink wrinkle in the tub.
I am very pleased by the number of honors which have been accruing to “the Errand Lad”.
Don’t she mean frightened? Last time she opened up the file she had to go and have a lie down.
I never thought, when
I began it, that it would become so
Never thought it would take twenty blessed pages to cover fifteen blessed minutes, I’d say.
I mean, after all, we all know how the story turns out.
Do we? Do we really?!
Still, in any case
it’s nice to know that there are people out there who
are willing to encourage me
They’ll be givin’ the bunnies tiny pitchforks if she doesn’t get a move on, you know.
And with any luck you’ll be seeing more of the story soon.
HA! We’ve heard that one before! More than a hundred words and she goes all to pieces.
Even if I have to write it in drab…mmffrfelwsiwsklweadsasdaiwal….
At this point the writer
appears to have been set upon by small barefooted
children. If anyone has word of her, please send