Ext. Rivendell — Day
An Art Nouveau conference space arranged around a small table, on which sits the Ring. Stirring music. Frodo stands, all others seated. He turns to look at each member of the council, wide eyed and lost for words. Aragorn steps forward to face him.
Aragorn: You have my sword.
Legolas: And you have my bow.
Gimli: And my axe! I lent it to you over three weeks ago.
Frodo: Sorry Gimli. You didn’t get my message? I can’t find it. I think I must have dropped it somewhere in the woods.
Gimli: Did you break it? If you did, I’m not angry, but I’ll need you to reimburse me. I think I paid five thousand ingots for it.
Frodo: Oh yeah? Five large? I’m going to need to see a receipt.
Gimli: So you did break it!
Frodo: I didn’t say that. But five thousand? The craftsmanship on that thing is shoddy. There’s no way it meets guild standard. Eight hundred, tops.
Gimli: Don’t give me that crap. The ergonomics are sound. The gold inlay alone is worth fifteen hundred.
Legolas looks piercingly over Frodo’s shoulder, and points at something in the distance.
Legolas: A shadow rises in the east…
Aragorn: Not now, Legolas. It’s always rising. We’re here to talk about Frodo’s stealing.
Legolas: Sorry, right. What is it this time?
Aragorn: Your bow.
Legolas: Yes, that’s right. Actually, I wasn’t going to mention this, but I also had with me a velvet cloak in sage, which I haven’t seen in a while. I wonder if Frodo might know something?
Aragorn: What say you, wretched thief?
Frodo: Why on Middle-Earth would I steal his cloak? It’s five sizes too big for me.
Gandalf: He has a point. Hobbits are but half as tall as Elves, or Men.
Murmurs of assent. Aragorn, impatient, looks to Elrond as if signaling him.
Elrond: Yes, Aragorn. I had intended to stay neutral, but now I must speak. The staff at the hotel tell me they think he’s been stockpiling the complimentary mini bottles of Briarleaf shampoo. It’s not stealing, strictly speaking, but it is generally understood that the bottles are replenished as needed.
Frodo: That’s ridiculous. There’s no rule against it. They’re complimentary, or they aren’t.
Sam: To be sure, to be sure. I must defend my master’s honor. He has a long journey home ahead of him, and his locks are long too, reaching near upon his shoulders.
Aragorn: What madness is this? We all have long hair, Sam.
Sam: Aye, but we don’t all wash it so regular, do we Aragorn?
Aragorn: A Ranger of the North has no time for frippery. Arwen goes though most of mine, anyhow.
Elrond: Excuse me?
Aragorn: Don’t be so naïve. It’s year 3018 of The Third Age. Did you really think she was staying over at Aredhel’s house three nights a week?
Elrond is momentarily incensed. He composes himself, straightening his robe.
Elrond: We’ll talk about you and my daughter later. The shampoo isn’t important in itself, but the comfort and security of my guests is another thing. They’re worried, knowing they have a thief in their midst.
Frodo: I am no thief! I can’t prove it to you, but I’ll do anything to clear my name. Is there anything I can do? What if I took the Ring to Mordor and saved the World of Men? We’d be all square, right?
Gandalf: Interesting idea. The fate of Middle-Earth entrusted to a lowly hobbit. A classic underdog story. You can take Shadowfox. She’s as fleet as the wind.
Aragorn: Surely not, Gandalf. He must move unseen. You don’t go prancing around Mordor on a white colt.
Frodo: So I’ll walk. I love the feeling of volcanic soil on my bare feet.
Boromir: One does not simply —
Aragorn: Boromir. A day may come when those words will fill the mouths of men with laughter. But it is not this day. Howsoever he reaches Mordor, he must have hardy companions at his side. A security detail. To make sure he doesn’t just run off with The Ring as much as anything.
Elrond: So be it. We shall form a Fellowship of the Ring. Any volunteers?
Stirring music. All but Elrond step forward to pledge themselves.
Aragorn: You have my dagger.
Legolas: And you have my slingshot.
Gimli: And my fists!