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our years to the day since Weathertop, and it still isn’t over for one brave hobbit. On Sept. 22, SR 1421 of the Fourth Age, at the age of 53, ringbearer Frodo Baggins-Patel will depart to the Undying Lands in the company of the Elven Lord Elrond Chen, Gandalf Wang, Galadriel Lopez and his uncle Bilbo Baggins-Lewong, who had first imparted the One Ring to him. After thirteen months of enduring the emotional, mental, and spiritual pain the Ring put him through, Baggins-Patel was able to destroy the Ring. Casting it into the fires of Mount Doom from whence the Ring came, Baggins-Patel effectively ended thousands of years of oppression conjured up by Dark Lord of Mordor Sauron Singh. Years have since passed, and the other 10 original members of the Fellowship (except for Boromir Styles) have laid down their swords, daggers, axes, bows, and staffs--all but Baggins-Patel. Patel’s journey began on Sept. 23, 3018, after a meeting with family friend and wizard Wang. For years prior to the meeting, Wang had harbored suspicions about the ring which Baggins-Lewong passed over to Patel on his eleventy-first birthday. After painstaking research and testing, it was revealed that the ring was indeed what Wang had expected it to be: the Ring of Power. Patel, accompanied by his longtime buddy and gardener Samwise Rodriguez, hobbits Meriadoc Brandybuck and Peregrin Took began their journey. Unsure of what to do or where to go, they were fortunately joined by King Aragorn II Elessar, who then went by the name “Strider.” They found their path infested by ringwraiths and plagued by the elements of travel. Took said, “It was awful, ‘making haste,’ as [Strider] would call it. No second breakfast. No elevensies, no brunch, no lunch, no afternoon tea, no dinner, no supper. I mean, what the hell?” Took’s hunger pangs ruined their cover, however, when a cooking fire attracted the school of Nazgul, resulting in an altercation that left Patel seriously wounded. Escorted by Steve Tyler’s daughter, Patel was healed at the elven realm of Rivendell, where he was shortly thereafter joined by his company.

Made aware of the One Ring, a motley of beings as diverse as the characters of Glee met and formed the Fellowship of the Rings, which consisted of ring-bearer Patel, Rodriguez, Brandybuck, Took, Elessar, Styles, Wang, Elvish Prince Legolas Knowles and professional hairstylist Gimli Skywalker. The company embarked on a hazardous journey with one single goal: trek to Mordor to destroy the One Ring at all costs and restore peace to Middle Earth. For the next couple months, their endeavors would took them to the mines of Moria, where they discovered Skywalker’s slaughtered brethren and where Gandalf was taken by an angry Balrog; the woods of Lothlorien, where Lopez transformed into the terrifying fluorescent image of a “queen,

as treacherous as the sea” for several seconds; and to Amon Hen, where an orc attack, led by seductive orc leader Lertz Wu, divided the Fellowship and left Styles dead. The party dispersed, Patel and Rodriguez were left to make the trek to Mount Doom on their own. They were not alone, however; former riverhobbit Gollum Kim was employed as their guide for the remainder of the trip. Once a ring-bearer, Kim was spurred on by the alluring draw and intrigue of his “precious” and plotted against the hobbitses. “He was a nasty little bugger,” said Rodriguez, “and he didn’t like po-ta-toes.” Already so affected by the Ring’s weight and terrible power, Patel found desperate hope in the

idea that a ring-bearer could return to innocence; Kim henceforth became Patel’s personal project. The One Ring prevailed, however, and Kim betrayed the duo, framing Rodriguez for gluttony and leading him into Scary Spider Shelob’s lair. “Aasd oid ficliqfaslf fosidreys fodrizzle aragog, “Shelob said, gazing at the wall in focused concentration, “Qeop fijlskafjnz xcv spider asdfoi!” Patel agrees, citing that at that point in his journey, he had almost lost all faith in human goodness. He claims that it was Rodriguez who helped him through it. “He told me one thing,” Patel said, tears welling in his sprightly blue eyes, “and that was: ‘there’s some goodness in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for!’ And I believe him, I really do.” Paralyzed by Shelob’s venom, Patel faintly recalls being carried into Mordor, where he was stripped of his clothes, and most regrettably, his shiny shirt. For the hundredth time, Rodriguez, in a fit of deus ex machina, saved Patel from being “[bled] like a stuck pig.” The two then set off for the final stretch of their journey. On the edges of Mount Doom, Patel suffered, in his own words, his “most deplorable moment.” “The Ring was mine. I thought I deserved it and I was certain of it. I’d thought I was the exception, but...”said Patel, trailing off, “How am I any different from Gollum?” Despite Patel’s change of heart, the task was still completed, though by an unexpected character. Kim, blinded by desire, bit Patel’s finger off in a mad rage of fury. Delusional with delight, Kim do-si-doed into the fires of Mount Doom, thus ending Singh’s reign of terror. Although Patel’s mission was successful, life has not been salvaged for him. Peace was restored, and the Shire was saved, but for the hobbit, too much has changed since leaving Hobbiton for him to cope. “I find solace in knowing I contributed to saving Middle Earth. But the sheer toll of the journey-it’s destroyed me. What happened at Weathertop and with Shelob never really healed. The pull of the Ring has left me...twisted. When I look around me, at Middle-earth, at my home, I only see pain,,” said Patel, “There’s only one thing left for me to do: move on.”

The Shire Tales  
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