Tales From the Barrows
I wrote these a while back, back when the level cap was 85, and everyone was either complaining about farming, but nonetheless participating in Sambrog runs.
Well, I wrote the first two a while back. The third is a more recent edition. I wrote it after i rediscovered my stories on kin forums the other day. I decided to post them here as well, since they were a smashing hit with kinmates.
This is the first one I wrote. If you don't like it, i have the number for the Mordor department of casual walking, strolling, and picnic reservation. I would highly encourage you to give them a call.
“Barrows of Cardolan Non-Corporeal displacement services, how can we help you today?”
The spirit hissed lightly before beginning in a sepulchral tone, something which is drastically overdone by most non-corporeal forms.
“I have come on a long journey from angmar, to take residence in the body of one long dead. That is why I came. From angmar.”
“Did I mention it was a long journey?”
“Please step away from the desk sir. You are standing in the middle of it.”
“I’m sorry, its just that I have come on a long journey.”
“You mentioned that three times already”
“Did i? well it was a long journey. Full of perils”
“Oh yes. There were these ghastly free peoples who were slaying fell spirits such as myself. They mentioned they were ‘casual adventurers’ and none said anything about being even slightly heroic. But that wasn’t the worst part. The worst part was this: They were all….” His voice cracked slightly “…hobbits.”
The attendents slightly annoyed face dropped into one of horror.
“Hobb buh bubits?” she stammered. “Casually raiding? In angmar? I better notify sambrog”
Meanwhile, back at the Barrow…
*sweet home Alabama ring tone*
“Just one second guys, I gotta take this.”
Sambrog pulled out a beeping device from his pockets. A group of 5 hunters and a guardian paused their slaying for a minute while he paced around the room talking to it.
“Sir, important news. The hobbits are invading angmar.”
“What? I don’t have time for hobbits to invade; I have instances to fight in. Tell them to wait. Or give them the number for the Mordor department of casual walking, running and strolling and encourage them to request a reservation for a picnic on mount doom. They should get plenty delayed by that. ”
“I did sir. They hung up on me.”
“Just send them a complementary freshly sacrificed goat. I’ve plenty of those lying around”
“Sir, I don’t think…”
“And throw in some of that delicious corrupted barrow-brie. Mmm… cheese”
The dwarf guardian cleared his throat.
“Yes? Oh sorry, forgot about you guys. Mind taking it easy for the rest of the fight? I got this pain in my toe.”
“You are accounted as one of the dead” replied one of the hunters. “How then can you feel pain?”
“Good point. What I mean is, if I were alive, I would have this pain in my toe.”
“You dare request reprieve because...”
“I would have this pain in my toe, yes.”
“I cannot comprehend how this bears upon your ability to fight”
“Well it does. You try being a wight sometime, which everyone wants to kill because he’s supposedly so easy.”
“Our apologies, but this makes little sense, and we have loot to procure. Now die!”
Twenty seconds later the fellowship was grumbling about receiving only relics.
“Bugger. Now I have a pain in my other toe”
“I’m still here sir”
“Yeah? Well listen, just do whatever it was I said to do, and then…”
“Just slack about for a while. If the hobbits have gotten angmar we are doomed by now.”
“Doomed? I don’t under…”
“Yeah doomed. They’re just these small guys and they’ve overrun angmar? Lord More-derp-ith isn’t as scary anymore since he got promoted from general secretary of accounts payable to whatever it is that those nazgul guys used to do there, running tax audits or something. Udun, he probably handed it over to them over a elevensies.”
“Elevensies? Tax auditing? Sir! I am merely a bottom of the barrel bureaucratic official. I get shouted at all day about how screwed up the system is, and I retaliate by giving those shouting people long and complex scrolls to sign, then I tell them that they got it all wrong, and give them a different set of scrollwork of even more complexity to muddle through. I don’t hand out holy goats or sacrilegious cheese to free-loaders!”
“Ok skip all that and go straight to slacking. Oh hang on, another group is here”
“Welcome existence you have come to meaningless friends.”
Six pairs of eyes stared at him as if he had just intentionally tripped a waiter carrying flaming kebabs on a tray.
“Err hang on, let me recheck this script”
*quietly * “so, the group comes in, and touches that cryptic looking thing over there. Then I say ‘Welcome friends, you have come far to end your meaningless existence.’”
*ahem* “Welcome friends, you have existed to come to your meaningless end. Far from wherever it is you came.”
The eyes continued to stare at him as if he were the singular reason that the restaurant where they had been enjoying a rather nice meal was now a pile of charred timbers.
“Ah forget it. ‘The time for flight has bended’ and blah, blah, blah. Just attack.”
“Art thou truly Sambrog, lord of the wights of the barrow downs? Thy manner of speech is little better then a buffoon or jester of some forgotten king”
“Not really, no. I took some acting classes last month, and got this job last week. The other ‘sambrog’ guy wanted a vacation due to lack of deaths in his instances. Lack of deaths on the invaders side. So if you want him back, you’re going to all have to die.”
“Truly? We have come for loot and seals, and no jesters trick will fool us, be thou sambrog or no. Now ready thyself for battle.”
“Hey yea? Haven’t seen any seals about this place, I heard they were all in ford of shells or whatever that place with the big drink is called.”
“The place is known as Forochel, and though there may seals there, though not of the kind for which we seek. We search for those which can be traded for FA symbols”
“I don’t see the difference. A seals a seal, of course unless it’s a dugong, even if you want these…” he paused hoping he could pronounce it entirely wrong “Ef-ay symbols. Is that elvish?”
“Nay, it is an abbreviation.”
“Clever. So, you guys know when I go on break? I got this weed I want to try from a rather mellow dwarf who was in here earlier. He was one cool guy.”
*sweet home Alabama*
“Sir! The hobbits are filing with the Middle Earth Supreme Court of Real and Fantasy Estate to transfer all possessions of angmar to the jurisdiction of the shire.”
“Judy? I can call you judy can’t I? Never mind, Judy, listen to my specific instructions”
“It’s very important you do the following:”
“Stick a bucket on your head.”
“No, but that will do for a start. Now stop bothering me, I got these guys coming at me with axes”
“Whoa guys, what’s with all the bad feelings?”
“Die foul fiend of angmar! Thy spirit shall no longer plague these lands.”
“Fine. But you should know, im about to throw this purple chemical thing which makes you guys sneeze. And theres the exploding crawling things which get green gas everywhere. I think it gets this powder in your hair that makes it a shade of puce when exposed to moisture.”
“Your attacks, clever as they may be, will do us no harm.”
“Ok you guys win. Here are 2 chests of stuff, im not sure whats in them. I might have left a sandwich in there a few days ago, just watch for mold.”
*sweet home Alabama*
“*mumble mumble mumble*”
“Judy, take the bucket off for a second. Did you just say the hobbits have retracted their claim for angmar, or that the bounders have taken a drain for Eclectic Features?”
“The bounders have taken a drain for Eclectic Features.”
“Whose drain was it?”
“Thadur’s. He’s not happy about it.”
“Another group is here. Give me a second and ill call him”
“Guys, before you start the pew pew and stuff, I just want to say im a wight, not a zombie.”
“We don’t care, we just want gold lootz”
“Some guys called me a zombie earlier today. It’s a classic mistake, the other guy got that all the time. Plus it hurts my feelings.”
“Yeah, so? We got other instances to run. You ready to fight yet?”
“Fine. Don’t come crying to me when you get a sprained finger or if your eyes start to melt.”
Another load of gleeful relics succeeded in disappointing that group.
*beep beep beep*
“Hey thady, you there?”
“Yeah. I suppose you have heard by now, my plumbing system was taken for being too ‘eclectic’. They replaced it with a plug. Now how am I going to drain all this water in here? My skin is starting to wrinkle up. I think I’m allergic.”
“well, if you want to come over and talk about it, I got a gag and a dog that barks really loudly.”
“Some noobs are here, playing with fire again. Guess I’ll see you tonite when we get off and go spray graffiti all over bree then.”
“Yeah, see you then. Bring someone else’s feet; yours might be all rotted by then.”
“’Kay. I got some weed too. Fresh stuff, not the kind you dig out of your basement after its been down there a few centuries.”
*sweet home Alabama ringtone*
“What now judy?”
“*mumble mumble mumble*”
“Yes, I know thadur’s drain got taken. Hes got a tiny ocean of water in his room.”
“*mumble mumble mumble*”
“Tiny ocean, pond, puddle, whats the difference?”
“*mumble mumble mumble*
“Fine you can take the bucket off for now. Just keep it close by in case you don’t have anything important to say.”
“Wheres our gold loot?!”
“You guys again? Look, I don’t control what’s in these chests, I’m just in charge of putting them out.”
“Fine! We are going to run this instance till you give us a chest with gold!”
“I got a number for the Mordor department of casual walking…”
They left muttering after a grinning set of relics gleefully greeted them from the chests.
*sweet home Alabama*
“Sir! The hobbits have retracted their claim for angmar”
“Really? What made them do that? Was it the goats? I told you that would work.”
“They mentioned something about it being too choked with ash and dust to pay the ridiculous re-distribution fees. Said it wasn’t worth a mathom you give to a hobbit you don’t really like but give one to anyway cause you don’t want to appear rude.”
“We want gold!!!”
“Again? You guys were here just 6 minutes ago. Obsession can be very bad for your health. At least that’s what my necrologist said. Anyway I’m on the ring, give me a second here”
“So, it was the cheese. Funny, I thought the goats were better. I gotta go, this elf is zapping the ceiling with his pet rock.”
“If you don’t like the décor, bring your own. Never mind, my shift is over. Here, take these boxes and open them, I gotta go do something outlandishly illegal before I vomit.”
Once more, they left grumbling, though one did receive a scroll to rip those smirking relics right off a weapon.
This be the second story.
*beep beep beep*
‘Barrows of Cardolan Non-Corporeal Displacement Services’
“Its Carol, and do I know you, Sir?”
“Not really, no. Listen, It’s me, Sambrog. I’ve done only 20 groups and we have been open an entire hour already. Why the drag?”
“Well Sir, There appears to be a festival going on.”
“That explains it. Errr, whats a festival?”
“Not sure. I saw a lot of hobbits with fishing poles riding out of bree earlier today. They said they were going to the fest in hobbiton”
“Also, my minion count is low. Has Lugburz approved my budget yet?”
“Not yet sir. They appear to be incensed over your request for ‘Hazard Pay’. Said you being dead annulled any sort of hazards.”
“They’ll have it signed, sealed, and delivered in about a week then, that is, if they use the hobbit postal service. Dunlendings potter about getting anything important here, and usually they eat half of any food I order. Got any other dirt on this Festival I should know about?”
“Sorry sir, but no. I’m supposed to be manning this desk until the latest arrivals from carn dum come in. You know how it is with these evil touristy spirit types, never show up on time, then demand complimentary accommodations and such.”
“Not really. I’ll called Gaedring then. He seems to know a lot about things that generally aren’t too important.”
Gaedring: Noun, the wight equivalent of that hobbit in his tweens your mother always warned you about; The exact hobbit with whom you were being dragged by the ear by a red-faced and puffing Bounder a few hours later after being caught testing how many firecrackers it would take before you would land one down the neighbors chimney (by propelling it though the air through means of hitting it with a log or large stick). Sambrog, being good at these sorts of tricks, often managed to do blow the roof off before he scored a single point.
*beep beep beep*
“Gaedring. You a bounder, or a guy with yellow boots and a blue coat?”
“It’s me, Sambrog”
“I was hoping for that guy with the yellow boots. I was going to sell him some more of my Happy juice.”
“Still trying to sell stuff? Whucht you do with all those crawler arms you got?”
“Still around. Gaethral and I keep ‘em buried, but when we get visitors, they come out. They deter our consumer base though. Haven’t seen anyone around since one crawled up an Elfies robe.”
“Yea? I got this problem. Theres a *pause for sinister effect* Festival *sinister music*”
“Oh, one of those. I thought the Agency for Prevention of the Zombie Apocalypse was cracking down again.”
“What do you mean ‘One of those’? This is serious; I’ve lost .05% of my clientele due to it”
“It’s just fishing, something with plants, and...”
“Did you say fishing? Like with the poles and the hooks and the beer?”
“Is that all they do at these fests is fish, get drunk and stuff?”
“Don’t forget the weed. There is a lot of that as well.”
“Thadur’s got a whole pond in his room complete with week-dead goldfish. I’ve got some weed, and you’ve got… well, crawler arms and fireworks. Why don’t we have a festival?”
“Because it would be called ‘Festival of those who by all scientific standards should have died and rotted away a long time ago but haven’t’ or ‘Celebration of the obscenely putrefied’. It just doesn’t hold with these ‘illuminated’ young minds.”
“I was shooting for something like ‘Cardolan Carnival” Sounds all nice, something you would go to over a weekend on which you had a death wish and bring the kids as well.”
“Meh, it might be marketable. We would need prizes though.”
“How about ‘Be a wight for the rest of your life’. Im short on minions at the moment, and Mordor hasn’t approved my budget yet.”
“There is a surplus over here. Not the kind you are looking for though probably, they are obsessed with fashion magazines. Also, they are headless.”
“These ones I got haven’t done much bad. Even these ‘Fell Spirits’ are wimpy. The box said they are supposed to ‘Strike terror into the hearts of those impudent enough to dare brave the winding caverns and passages to your secret lair.’ The worst they have done was give a group of dwarves heartburn after trading burritos for a set of designer chopsticks.”
“I’ll be sure not to visit any restaurant they open. Are we going to sell food at our fest?”
“I was thinking a chilled earlobe soup, with stuffed nasal vestibules.”
“Fancy. Gotta go now, but I’ll get some stuff together for our festival. Meet me behind the Pony tomorrow at 8:00 flat. Make sure you are followed by a shady person. I like meeting new people.”
And this is the third part, where Sammy and Thady go on an excursion to bree, with artistic endeavors in mind.
“Halt! Who be ye, strangers?”
“Ahem. We bee sambrog and thadur”
“Sambrog? As in lord Sambrog, king of Othrongoth, a name which makes the weak-hearted collapse with dread and grown mean blanch and fall silent?”
“Hey, yeah. That’s me kid. Now can we go in?”
The first voice spoke in a low whisper “Ferny said nothing was going down until next week. You are here before the appointed time.”
“Plan? Err I mean, of course. The plan. We were just going to do some uh, what’s that fancy word, the one that mentions conning a sounce. What’s a sounce by the way, and why would you con it? Does it have a lot of booze and money?”
“Reconnaissance?” Thadur said.
“ Yea. That one. That’s what we were doing. Now will you let us in?”
“I cannot let you do that. Your very presence fills the heads of our children with terror, making them scream in the still of the night. The very specter of you whispers evil things to the mind, filling it with things that should never be spoken aloud! One glance of you would make any sane individual crawl into a hole and pray for death! You would be found quickly and you end would be swift! The entire plan would be spoilt!”
“Erm can we go in anyways? I’ll promise to not to trigger any schizophrenic episodes. Especially not any violent or suicidal ones.” Sambrog leaned over to thadur and whispered in his ear “Are you sure bree hasn’t been replaced by some sort of asylum where everyone suffers the same delusion?” Thadur shrugged.
“Shizo-what?” The guard looked confused.
“Look, just give everyone thorazine. And while you do that, thady here and I will go – um..”
“Conduct business of great import” Thadur said solemnly.
“Thora-what?” The guard looked even more confused.
Sambrog leaned to thadur “Hysterical amnesia. I will distract him, and you knock him over the head.”
“With what?” thadur hissed back.
“A stick. A rock. Or just pull off your skull and use that.”
Sambrog turned back to the man. “So, my good man, how often do the visitors from the sky visit you?” he said in his most understanding voice, which hovered between a yawn and total indifference to anything not related to him getting drunk and breaking laws.
“The ones you halluci- I mean the ones that visit you, and do that nasty business with the probes. Probably taking soil samples to analyze for the tiny evil spirits. Also, your government, how often does it put hexes on your toilets, and shoot little eyeballs into the clouds to watch everything you do?”
“Governments? Eyeballs? When did they invent those? We don’t take kindly to that sort of tomfoolery here! If there be anything of the sort I will personally file a complaint at the next knitting guild meeting, where I am a dues-paying member!”
By this time, Thadur had snuck around behind him, and he bopped his forehead against the guards.
“OWww! Wut the ‘ell was that fer?”
Thadur hit his head against the man’s nose, just as he turned. Rivulets of blood trickled down his face.
“You got Rivulets of blood trickling down your face” Sambrog said, switching to a not really helpful, just stating an obvious fact voice. Thadur hit his head against the man’s forehead again, but though it staggered him, he still stood on his legs. Sambrog found a branch that magically appeared to make this part of the story move along, and smacked the back of the man’s head, knocking him unconscious finally.
“What was that?” Sambrog asked.
“What was what?” Thadur replied.
“You. What were you doing, playing footsies?”
“There were no feet involved! I know. I was there.”
“Well, next time, whatever you were doing, do it better. You bring the spray paint?”
“I got it here. Thadur pulled a bulging bag out from inside his ribcage.
“This looks like a can of puke.”
“A can of puke. We can go put it in the main square, with a sign that says ‘This is not puke. This sign is not lying. Do you honestly think this sign has the capability to lie? Go ahead and touch the stuff that is clearly not puke if you feel like it. Or if you don’t.’ Batta-bang, people will touch it, and think they haven’t touched puke. But they will have. Touched puke. And they will think that it was definitely not puke. But they will have their doubts that the sign was lying, and deep down, will think that they have touched puke. And this will give them unease for weeks to come, and they will be five minutes late to the big cricket tournament, because they will be thinking about it on their way there. Which will have no consequence really, but they will then be slightly upset that they were late to the cricket game, and they will resolve to always touch things that signs tell them to touch, and to Isengard with all critical thinking.”
“Ah. Well, we won’t be around to laugh about it, will we? No. Let’s save the subtlety for losing at golf, ok?”
They climbed onto the stables, and pulled out two hobby horses that were lashed to the back roof. They pranced down the main street of bree, keeping to the shadows, and shouting at their horses to shut up. Inside not a few houses, people lay in bed, and groaned at the prospect of scraping a large badly painted effigy that looked suspiciously like a butterfly eating a raspberry microscope off the town hall. It was actually a butterfly eating a cherry saxophone, but having your arm continuously break off in the middle of a precise burst at some random point on the wall didn’t make for a very well-defined form.
“This looks a like a house we haven’t sprayed yet.” Thadur said, pausing by a house that looked like it had less than twenty coats of paint on it.
“We haven’t. Remember, we were offending the owners by deliberately not painting on their house?”
“Oh yeah. We left that note telling them that, on some uncertain terms, we wouldn’t so much as place a drop of paint on any of their absolutely pristine walls. They are probably still steaming about it: ‘Those utter fools dear, how are we going to trick them into spray-painting on our house?’ ‘I don’t know love, but every time I look at this horrendously clean, un-graffiti-touched front door; I get so upset I want to punch bunnies. All our neighbors have been tagged at least once, and the Applethorns have been spray-painted three times! Just think of all that money we are not spending to clean up any stubborn blotches or obstinate squiggles! Think of how much swearing we are not doing about having to do it! ’ And so on.”
They stopped at the pony, to spray a large black X on the sign. All they managed was a pitiful circle with a few spatters of color before the paint ran out. Sambrog shrugged, and threw the can, and reached for a blue.
“It’s the bounders! Run!” Thadur yelled, dropped the bag of paint cans, and promptly ran into the door of the Pony, and fell over stunned. Sambrog, seeing no other alternative, picked him up and propped him against the wall. He put a few fingers back on, and hoped they would think it queer that thadur’s hand had a thumb in place of a ring finger, to which he would reply that thadur was born a freak of nature, and they would wonder why the skin was peeling of them, and sambrog would reply that he had some weird disease he picked up while swimming in a pool in Dol Guldur, or some harmless place like that, but he was sure to recover and it wasn’t contagious, and they would then wonder why his eyeballs were hanging out of his head, get suspicious and accost him, and there would be a lot of shouting, and when thadur came to, he would throw the can of puke onto the agape bounders, and they would both run away laughing. None of this happened.
They walked by with an ‘Evening strangers’ then turned around and walked back the way they came.
“Hey” Sambrog said elbowing thadur. “I think those guys were actually robbers, attempting to raid the pony. We should join them for a bit of thievery and mischief.”
Thadur stood up, his bones creaking, his ligaments popping. He popped his eyes back in the sockets, and glued a few tendons back together before he could walk correctly.
“I’m in” thadur said.
An uneasy silence returned to Bree, except for the sound of paint and air rushing out of nozzles, emanating from two shadowy figures aiming spray paint cans at houses that happened to be nearby, and ones that didn't.
That is awesomely funny, very "Bored of the Rings"