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Author: Dreamflower
Title: The Least of Rings
Rating: G
Theme: "All Things are Possible" AU
Elements: This story-starter-- "In the Springtime, birds a-wing time, all hearts are merry and light!"
Author's Notes: This story was inspired by Tolkien's original version of The Hobbit. The relevant passage is quoted at the beginning—taken from the original 1937 edition of The Hobbit.
There will be acknowledgements and special notes at the end of the relevant parts.
Summary: Bilbo picked up a very interesting trinket on his journey with the Dwarves…and it's not what you think. (A series of 500 word vignettes)
Word Count: 500 in each part

EPILOGUE

Of course, that wasn't the end of it all.

Sauron was defeated; the Ring gone. But many of his armies, especially his human armies, remained to threaten Gondor. And Saruman remained a threat to Gondor and Rohan, with no Sauron to stop him from doing whatever he could to overrun both lands.

It was decided that a picked group of warriors, along with others who wielded power, would head South, to secure the peace.

Many who had attended the Council were invited to participate, or petitioned to go along. To everyone's surprise (with the exception of Gandalf) the four hobbits wished to go. After much consideration, and because of the advice of both Gandalf and the Lady Galadriel, Elrond gave reluctant permission.

"Be sure to take care of yourselves," said Bilbo. He'd gifted Frodo with his mithril shirt and with Sting. "be sure to follow the Dunadan's orders."

"We'll stick with Aragorn and with Boromir," Frodo answered. They'd grown very fond of both Men during their time in Rivendell.

"I'll expect a detailed account of the entire affair when you return," he said, before embracing them all.

"We'll be home by Yule," Pippin declared optimistically. Merry rolled his eyes at this statement. He'd seen the maps. They'd be fortunate to return by Spring. But this chance to see the world that would never be had again.

By the end of November, they had arrived in Lothlorien. Lord Celeborn was glad to welcome his Lady home, and pleased at the presence of Elrond and of Arwen and Elladan and Elrohir. Plans were made to order battles to defend the Golden Wood from hordes of orcs pouring out of the Misty Mountains.

A picked group headed in boats down the Anduin. In addition to Aragorn and Boromir, the company consisted of Gandalf, who was going to leave them and cross the River further South, for he wished to find Radagast and make sure all was well with him; the four hobbits; Legolas the son of Thranduil (who had represented his father at the Council); Gimli the son of Gloin; and the two sons of Elrond. Some of them were going to Rohan to the relief of the Rohirrim who were being attacked by Saruman's forces; the rest were going to Minas Tirith to defend the White City from the alliance of Harad, Umbar and Rhun which was marching on Gondor.

It was indeed in the Spring when four hobbits, clad in the finery they had earned by their actions, arrived in the Shire riding on their ponies. They smiled at those they passed, though many gave them scowls in return.

Frodo unlocked Bag End and threw open the windows. His story of being in Buckland longer than he'd anticipated had held up, but now that they were home it wouldn't continue to do so.

"Frodo, there's nothing in the larder!" called Merry.

"Change into Shire clothes! We'll take our supper at The Green Dragon tonight, and salute our friends we left behind!"

~~~~~~~~~~~

Author's Notes:

I've toyed with this AU off and on for quite a while. When the May challenge for 2013 was for an AU, I decided to do it. Knowing that it could end up getting completely out of hand, I decided that I would make each chapter only 500 words, and would limit it to 10 chapters. (I succeeded in the first goal, but failed in the second, as I needed two more chapters and an epilogue, bringing the total to 13.)

I figured that was the only way I could write it by the deadline. As it was, I still did not quite finish—but most of what went over was tweaking the word count. A few RL interruptions meant that it did not get completed until two days after the monthly reveal date. Most of that was tweaking the word count, and rearranging some events. Chapter 11 was a late addition.

The original inspiration was/is the 1937 first edition of The Hobbit, in which Gollum was a much less villainous character, and the ring a more benign and less ominous object.

In this AU, the ring Bilbo brings home has some properties of any Ring of Power as described by Gandalf (even the Lesser Rings he mentions): it will extend the life and render invisible any mortal who wears it. But there's no lust for power involved—this ring was never touched by Sauron.

Sámaril, as I indicated in a previous note, was the creator of this particular little ring; perhaps it was the last one he made. I am most grateful to pandemonium_213 for the loan of her OC, and for the nice Quenya translation of the inscription. I love how generous she is with her universe—she's so much fun to work with!

I wanted to give Radagast a chance to shine in this. He actually is the one who precipitates everything by his two discoveries: that the fish had swallowed the Ring, and that Saruman was a traitor before Gandalf had a chance to be entrapped by him. This resulted in an accelerated timeline. If there are any questions as to how the Brown Wizard accomplished his mission: he used various beasts relay fashion, to carry it to it's destination, each creature carrying the Ring according to its nature. His belief that the animals would not be tempted by the power of the Ring because they live completely in the "now" was well-founded. If you are fond of the Radagast of movie-verse, I would not object to you imagining him at some point racing alongside the River in his rabbit sled as he keeps track of whichever beast is carrying the Ring at the time. Of course, I'd never actually write such a scene. ;)

You may also notice a wee little tribute to movie-verse LotR at the end of the Epilogue!

The title went through a few changes, but I thought finally that this one was the most ironic (and misleading) of various titles I considered!

There are a lot of missing scenes, some in fact which were partially written, but then discarded as not furthering the plot enough. I may very well not be finished with this AU, and might at some point add additional "gapfillers" to help explain some things a little better.

I hope everyone enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

Dreamflower

Comments

( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
pandemonium_213
May. 30th, 2013 11:53 am (UTC)
And Saruman remained a threat to Gondor and Rohan, with no Sauron to stop him from doing whatever he could to overrun both lands.

DM: See? I was good for something!

"Change into Shire clothes! We'll take our supper at The Green Dragon tonight, and salute our friends we left behind!"

I really like this last bit. Certainly a much brighter conclusion to the tale than the source text. And yes, I caught the movie!verse tribute. Now where's the big pumpkin? :^D

If you are fond of the Radagast of movie-verse, I would not object to you imagining him at some point racing alongside the River in his rabbit sled as he keeps track of whichever beast is carrying the Ring at the time.

What a hilarious image!

I may very well not be finished with this AU...

Bwahahaha! Yessss, precioussss, keep writing, keep writing! >:^)

Actually, in certain ways, it fits with your Eucatastrophe AU.
dreamflower02
May. 30th, 2013 12:50 pm (UTC)
He most certainly was good for keeping other people who were ambitious to become Evil OverlordsTM from following through on their plans. And he was probably missed by his foes occasionally, as in "where's the challenge these days?" (Sorry, saw Megamind the other evening...hilarious!)

Well, I'm quite sure it was there when they arrived, being polished up!

The things is, I can write dark AUs, but when I do, there's no temptation to play with them beyond a single drabble or vignette; but with a "Happy AU" I just want to go back to the playground over and over!
shirebound
May. 30th, 2013 12:06 pm (UTC)
he used various beasts relay fashion, to carry it to it's destination, each creature carrying the Ring according to its nature

*beams*

*applauds a wonderful and creative story*
dreamflower02
May. 30th, 2013 12:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much, sweetie!

I love "Happy AUs"!
engarian
May. 30th, 2013 02:08 pm (UTC)
I love the mind image of Radagast rushing alongside the banks of the river in his rabbit-pulled sled while watching to make sure of the next passage of the Ring.

Let's all raise a frosty mug at the Green Dragon for a job well done and an AU well realized.

- Erulisse (one L)
dreamflower02
May. 30th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I appreciate your patience and your comments along the way!

I'm very glad you liked this AU!
blslarner
May. 30th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
My one disappointment is that WE don't see the progression of what creatures took part in the relay or how each was persuaded to do so! I wanna see that! (Makes Puss In Boots pleading eyes at Dreamflower!)

And loved that nod to PJ that didn't happen in the original. Although I actually not only prefer the original but find it far more likely....
dreamflower02
May. 30th, 2013 07:04 pm (UTC)
Well, as I said, there may very well be some gapfillers for this AU--there was indeed much that I wished to tell, but I tried to be strict with myself on the limitations I had set. And I really wanted to surprise the readers with the revelation that Radagast rather than Gandalf, oversaw the Ring's destruction!

That scene with them riding into the Shire in their finery was wonderful, as was the scene at The Green Dragon, but like you, in the original universe it didn't seem very likely to me.

But in this AU I thought that those scenes just might fit!
(Deleted comment)
dreamflower02
May. 30th, 2013 10:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It was so fun to think how the story could have gone if Frodo's ring really had been a "trifle" instead of the One Ring!
foxrafer
Jun. 1st, 2013 09:34 pm (UTC)
Fabulous premise and delightfully told. I really like the idea of the hobbits being more of a diversion, and it has the wonderful side benefit of keeping Boromir alive. :-) This was really fun to read; very enjoyable.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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